Talking Drums and Stories

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I promised to look at Creative Programming Ideas from time to time, and here is an event that had some great ones: the details in his blog. A number of ideas and combinations from this symposium could make a regular concert series performance into something very special. For example  there was a demonstration of the bell-like gankogui that is used by the Ewe drumming masters of Togo, Ghana and Benin. There were also workshops given on traditional Dagomba drumming from Ghana. Nexus has (among other pieces) in their repertoire the lovely “Tongues” (traditional Zimbabwe) played on the mbira,  and the interesting “Fra Fra” (traditional Dagomba). NEXUS also gave a workshop on Steve Reich’s piece “Drumming” which was inspired by the Ewe drumming of Ghana. An interesting combination of talents was the performances of NEXUS with storyteller Dan Yashinsky who has worked with NEXUS before. For the symposium, Dan set a praise poem to “Tongues”, he told the story “How Heart Came Into the World” accompanied by African bells, and he had NEXUS improvise behind his story “The Land of Those Who Were Thrown Away”. With NEXUS, there is always plenty of room for thinking “outside the box”!

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