'Traditions' in motion at Crosswinds event (W/PHOTO GALLERY)
Saakumu, an internationally known West African dance and music troupe from Ghana, put on an engaging performance at Crosswinds Arts and Science School in Woodbury on Friday, Feb. 14.
The group introduced students to traditional and contemporary African dance and music on stage and off stage as dancers grabbed students to join in.
Students from the African music and culture class at Perpich Arts High School, led by instructor Janice Hunton, also joined with a musical performance.
The word saakumu means “traditions.” The group is headed by Bernard Woma, who has shared the performance stage with Maya Angelou and Yo Yo Ma, among others.
He has performed for President Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandela and Queen Elizabeth II and was recently named the cultural resource to President Barack Obama’s family when they visited Ghana, according to Perpich officials.
He has toured the world as xylophonist and lead drummer for the National Dance Company of Ghana.
Woma owns and operates a school of traditional African music and arts, the Dagara Music Center in Medie, a northern suburb of Accra, the capital of Ghana.
Hunton, who has studied African drumming for more than 15 years, worked with Perpich to establish a cultural exchange program with Dagara Music Center to acquaint Perpich students with Ghanaian history and culture.
Perpich arranged for Woma and Saakumu to perform last year at the school while the troupe was touring in the United States and brought them back for the performance at Crosswinds, which is managed by Perpich Center for Arts Education.