A group of enthusiastic students from professor Colleen Haas’s Music in Africa class held the annual African Dance and Music Festival on Nov. 21 in the Charles E. Brown African American Cultural Center.
The purpose of this event is to help broaden the public's mind about African culture as the students introduce a variety of traditional African songs, dances and instruments from the Akan people in Ghana.
Throughout the semester, students in Dr. Haas’s class all learn to play the Atenteben (a bamboo flute) as well as African drums, shakers and bells. This ensures that everyone involved will be able to contribute to the show.
“I feel like this is all about how African culture deals with community and how dance plays a big part in how they interact with each other. Each piece has a different meaning to it. You can see all the cultural impacts through dancing and music,” said student Kelsey Harvey.
The night was full of excited energy as the crowd in the tightly packed room sang and danced along with the students performing. There were multiple parts of the show that encouraged audience members to dance and play games with the students.
Before the show started, student Zachary Ingram said, “this is going to be an event full of energy and on top of that it’s a lot of knowledge that's all about music in Africa. It's just going to bring a little insight into what that world is like. It’s all kind of informal so people who’ve never been to an event like this in their life are going to get a real nice intensive show.”
Ingram also went on to describe how much this night meant to professor Hass and the rest of the class.
“Tonight, is special because it’s going to bring the whole class together. We’ve been working since day one so just to see everyone's hard work come together and be able to showcase everyone's talents is just going to be so special,” said Ingram.