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March  04, 2009

African Arts Festival bringing music, art, stories

Performances by a Senagalese musician and storyteller, a visiting world music ensemble, art and poetry will highlight an African Arts Festival at Augustana College March 18-21.

One guest artist at the festival will be Morikeba Kouyate, a native of Senegal. He is a griot, a member of a hereditary caste among the peoples of western Africa whose job is to maintain an oral history of the tribe or village and to entertain with stories, poems, songs and dances. Among other instruments, he plays the kora, a traditional 24-string string instrument made out of a large gourd covered with cowhide. Since 1991, Kouyate has lived in Chicago. He performs year-round throughout the U.S.

Also visiting Augustana for the event will be the Wabash College Wamidan World Music Ensemble, founded and directed by professor James Makubuya, a Ugandan-born ethnomusicologist, instrumentalist, singer, dancer, and choreographer. The ensemble focuses on the music and dance from various global folk music traditions. Members perform in depth on one instrument while becoming familiar with two other instruments, as well as singing and dancing.

The schedule of events:

Wednesday, March 18

Noon-12:45 p.m. -- African art exhibition tour led by Dr. Margaret Morse, assistant professor of art history, and an informal talk on the African masks in the Augustana College Art Museum

8:30 p.m. -- Morikeba Kouyate will give a concert in Centennial Hall on the kora, a traditional African stringed instrument.

Thursday, March 19

4:30 p.m. -- African poetry reading by John Tawiah-Boateng, associate professor of English, Wallenberg Hall

8 p.m. -- African movie night, "The Wooden Camera," introduction and discussion by Todd Cleveland, assistant professor of history, Evald Hall.

Friday, March 20

Friday evening events will take place in the Augustana College Art Museum, Centennial Hall

6:30-7:15 p.m. -- African art exhibition of objects from the Kathy Bulucos Memorial Collection, refreshments, lower level of the museum

7:15 p.m. -- Adinkra textile printing by Rowen Schussheim-Anderson, professor of art

7:45 p.m. -- ARThentic: African wearable textiles presented by Althea Saunders

Saturday, March 21

8 p.m. -- Wabash College's Wamidan World Music Performance Ensemble, directed by professor James Makubuya, a Ugandan-born ethnomusicologist, instrumentalist, singer, dancer, and choreographer. The Augustana College Choir also will perform African choral selections, Centennial Hall. Sponsored by the Augustana Student Organization.


Exhibition of African art from the Kathy Bulucos Memorial Collection, Augustana College Art Museum lower gallery, Centennial Hall. The catalog was created in conjunction with student research in class of Dr. Margaret Morse

College Center showcase displays of African Art

The festival is funded in part by the Augustana College Institute for Leadership and Service, Dr. Ellen Hay, director. For more information, contact John Pfautz, (309) 794-7344.