Last Sunday I was invited by a friend to attend a fund raising concert of drums. I had no idea what to expect, but I do know that I love percussion and was excited to go. A bit of background is required to understand the significance of this concert.
The Concert was put on by the Motherland Rhythm Community in support of the Benkadi Project.
Fourteen years ago two woman named Helen Bond and
Amy Lusk went to Guinea, West Africa to learn about the music of African drums. Helen has gone there every year since. They not only came home with a love and understanding of the Medusa Drum music, through the music, they learned to know, understand and love the people of Guinea. Their hearts were struck by the poverty and the overwhelming needs of their new friends so they made a commitment to help in whatever way possible. Thus they started the Benkadi project (Benkadi means, to live together is good).
Over the years they have built a school, repaired wells in several communities and their latest project is to provide clean water to the people of Guinea. In Guinea, people often drink from polluted streams and wells causing serious and recurring illness and sometimes death. The Benkadi Project provides the materials and training to build environmentally friendly biosand filters for families in Guinea.
Here in our area Helen teaches the magic of the African drum music in classes open to the community. She also teaches at Lake Forest College and gives programs at schools and community functions. They are already starting a new project building a peanut shucking machine that is a staple product in Guinea. Though this is a simplified explanation, these projects are ongoing. More information can be obtained at :
The concert was cross cultural. The emphasis was on the drums, but also included Latin dancing, Middle East Belly Dancing, Indian drums and mantras, and a very talented clarinet player accompanied by a base player and a guitarist performed by students from Lake Forest College. All in all it was and exciting, informative and entertaining evening.
The Medusa drummers including the teachers and the students from the community.
Students from Lake Forest College.
Middle East Belly Dancing
Playing the Indian Mridangam an ancient two-headed hand drum with a wooden shell from the jackfruit tree (they were originally made of clay). They are played while singing mantras and used to spread the word of God.
The Professional Medusa Drum Group
I video taped soundtracks but they were mostly too long and Google wouldn't upload them, but I think you can get the idea of what was happening at this concert. Once again, if any of this interests you, you can get more information at the website I posted above.
Have a great week everyone!