Weekend of Afro-Cuban sunshine hits Somerset
As part of Black History Month the Merlin Theatre and Rook Lane Arts are delighted to host events as part of the Afro-Cuban Sensibility Weekend, curated by renowned Nigerian percussionist and Frome resident Lekan Babalola.
The weekend will be a festival of events celebrating the root of Afro-Cuban culture and beliefs and will encompass dance, music, food, workshops, visual art, live performance, workshops and discussion sessions.
It will provide a unique opportunity to participate and reflect on the universal themes central to Cuban culture.
The weekend has been put together by Lekan Babalola who has been described by World Circuit Records as "one of the most extraordinary percussionists in world music and jazz today" and as a "wizardry percussionist" by the Washington Post.
FREE WHEATGERM WITH EVERY POND HEATER www.blagdon-water-gardens.c...View details
Protect your pond fish this winter. Purchase the resun 100w pond heater £39.99 from www.blagdon-water-gardens.co.uk and we will give you a pot of Tetra wheatgerm 1l winter fishfood worth £4.99 FREE
Contact: 01934 316673
Valid until: Friday, February 28 2014
In his musical career he has played on Cassandra Wilson's Grammy Award winning album, toured major venues and festivals around the world and now regularly plays at The South Bank and Barbican.
Lekan's artistic interests are not confined to music alone.
The Nigerian came to England to study filmmaking at Central St Martin's College of Art and Design and in 1992 Spike Lee invited him to be an assistant on Malcolm X – exposing Lekan to a new expression of African Diaspora art and culture.
Lekan went on to found the Ifa-Yoruba Contemporary Arts Trust, a UK based charity committed to fostering the development of Yoruba arts and culture. It is through this charity that Lekan commissioned Erindilogun, an exhibition to be held at Rook Lane that features twenty eight batik drawings by Taiwo Adediran.
Lekan explained he moved to Frome because: "It is part of Wessex, the seat of England and I am interested in ancient cultures that relate to me as an African from an English colonised country.
"I believe that all ancient traditions are very much connected and if I have a stronger understanding of what brought humanity together in the past, I can help to heal the wounds of colonisation in my continent."
After playing at the Merlin this summer with his band the Afrobeat Messengers, Lekan was keen to curate this festival in the town and explain he wanted the weekend to celebrate the African culture that is found in the new world and its influence on contemporary British culture and create an opportunity for people to engage with a true representation of African Diaspora arts and culture.
The weekend will feature an Orisha Dance workshop at the Merlin on Saturday, a unique opportunity to learn this ancient Cuban folkloric dance with one of the UK's leading practitioners, Yolanda Perez.
That evening the Merlin will host the London Lucumi Choir, former finalists of the BBC 3 Choir of the Year Competition and cited as one of the most uplifting forms of live music.
Sunday 13 see a community day at Rook Lane including a speakers' corner, family workshop and an Afro-Cuban lunch.
The weekend will be a colourful celebration of a fascinating culture.
The Merlin Theatre presents a Cuban dance workshop (Saturday, 3pm), led by Yolanda, formally of the Conjunto Folklorico de Cuba.
Yolanda is one of the most experienced dancers of orisha dance currently in the UK. This introductory workshop will look at body movement and basic steps whilst concentrating on two of the characteristics of the Orisha pantheon via dance – Elegua and Oshun. The Workshop will be accompanied by traditional Bata Drums and members of the London Lucumi choir as Dance, Song and Drum are intricately connected.
On Saturday at 7.45pm London Lucumi Choir presents An evening of Afro-Cuban music.
Join the 15-piece community group formed in 2006 and a former finalist of the BBC Choir of the Year Competition. Led by Martha Galarraga, Daniela Rosselson and percussionist Dave Pattman they will perform a repertoire of Afro-Cuban Gospel music: one of the most uplifting song forms.
For further information call the Merlin box office on 01373 465949.