Friday, November 20, 2009

Playing an Africanism Forward

Af-ri-can-ism. A characteristically African cultural feature, such as a belief, custom or linguistic feature. Source:

From the first gourd workshop I took back in the 1980s, I have felt an affinity with gourds. Gourd crafting answers a longing to be connected to the stream of black culture and historic consciousness. Simply put, creating art with gourds makes me feel whole.

When I reference gourds, I always speak of them as female. In John Storm Roberts' book, Black Music of Two Worlds: African, Caribbean, Latin, and African-American Traditions, he states that "another intriguing Africanism in New World drums is that percussion instruments are often given sexual attributes. Not only are whole classes of instruments seen as male or female (drum = male, calabash percussion = female, for example)." Subconsciously, I am carrying an Africanism forward. The soul never forgets!

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