In the last few weeks the news from northern and western Africa brings fresh conflicts. But Homeland Security means something different at Berklee College of Music on Monday night, where students from Africa will present a concert of music and dance from their homelands of Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa and other countries.
Homeland Security: Celebrating Contemporary and Traditional African Music and Dance will feature original student compositions with deeply personal meanings, including “Va Gumulelana (No More War),” by Helder Tsinine, the first non-English language song to win the Peacedriven Songwriting Contest, and “Battle” by Jason Ekhabi Sibi-Okumu, about his struggle with kidney failure. Berklee’s 16-member West African Drum and Dance Ensemble and another group choreographed by student Jeniffer Criss will perform traditional drum and dance pieces from Ghana, Togo, Guinea and Mali.
Berklee's been getting increasingly international lately, with satellite operations and outreach. The West African ensemble features percussionist Victor “Blue” Dogah, who in 2008 was named Berklee’s first Africa Scholar—an award covering full tuition and room and board for four years – through a program started by Berklee president Roger Brown. (No relation.)
Photo: Berklee student and concert performer Neo Karabo Mashao from South Africa, courtesy Berklee.