May 2, 2019Print | PDF
From May 4 to 6, 2019, The Gahu Project, a racial justice community music initiative, will host several events as part of its aim to bring together local youth, professional artists and arts organizations to explore and discover the music of Ghana and engage in participatory music making through a performance of Gahu.
“The events of this weekend are the culmination of almost a year’s worth of planning, organizing and, most importantly, learning,” says Brennan Connolly, percussion and community music instructor at Laurier. “I am so grateful to Fanis Juma-Radstake of the African Community Wellness Initiative for helping us to become more awake to racial justice issues in music and to all of the collaborators and community partners that have helped bring The Gahu Project to life.”
Gahu itself is a recreational and social dance music of the Ewe people of the West African nation of Ghana, which combines drumming, dancing and singing to create experiences of joy and belonging for participants.
The Gahu Project has offered opportunities for students to engage in conversations around the intersection of racial justice and music. Prior to the events of May 4 to 6, professional artists delivered music workshops in local high schools and key leaders within the ACBI (African, Caribbean, Black Identifying) community crafted the curriculum to be delivered as a part of these workshops.
The artistic portion of the Gahu project is led by Connolly, while the research component is led by Deanna Yerichuk, coordinator of the Bachelor of Music in Community Music program at Laurier. Joining Laurier Music and the African Community Wellness Initiative in this collaboration are the Centre for Sound Music Education and the Waterloo Region District School Board. Additional community partners include the KW Multicultural Centre and the City of Kitchener.
Baobab Community Performance
The Baobab Tree Drum Dance Community from Ottawa, directed by Kathy Armstrong, will perform.
Racial Justice and Music, Panel Event
2 - 4 p.m.
Kitchener City Hall Rotunda
Panel discussion on Racial Justice and Music, and the role of music in promoting racial justice within the education system and broader community. Led by Fanis Juma Radstake and featuring panellists MPP Laura Mae Lindo, Joni NehRita, and Arabella Hareem Abid. Also featuring youth performances from the African, Caribbean and Black Identifying Community.
Mass Gahu Event
9:30 a.m. -1:30 p.m.
Kitchener City Hall, Carl Zehr Square
A mass participatory music event involving 350-400 local high school students who will present Gahu. Guest Artists: Ghanaian master drummer Kwasi Dunyo and the Ottawa-based Baobab Tree Drum Dance Community. Also featuring a variety of artistic expressions from local black youth.
For more information about The Gahu Project, please visit:
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