Tuesday, December 04, 2007

West African Epic to be Presented in Jackson Heights


In celebration of this year's Kwanzaa season, Badenya, a New York-based non-profit dedicated to the promotion and presentation of West African cultural traditions in the United States, announces a presentation of the epic of Finah Misa Kule: Voice of the King on December 28, 2007 at the Community United Methodist Church in Jackson Heights, Queens. Poet and performer Kewulay Kamara will narrate the epic in Kuranko and English accompanied by a group of talented US-based Mandeng jali musicians: Abdoulaye Diabate (voice), Misia Saran (voice), Lansana Kouyate (bala), Famoro Djorbate (bala), Salieu
Suso (kora), Mangue Sylla (jimbe), and Sylvain Leroux (Fula flute).
Poet Rashida Ismaili and dancer Dionne Kamara and guest artists will
also perform. Preceding the performance will be a screening of a short film of Kamara's recent trip to Sierra Leone as well as holiday
festivities with West African dishes. The event will be ceremonial in
nature, and, in keeping with tradition, will include dance.

The epic of Finah Misa Kule: Voice of the King is the oral narrative
of the 1000 year history of the finenu, the poets and historians who
have chronicled the rise and fall of Mandeng kingdoms in West Africa.
It covers a period from the time of the prophet Mohammed to the
destruction of the village of Dankawali, an important center of
culture and language, in the Civil War of the 1990s. As a literary
work, it is an epic poem on the scale of Sunjata. As an historical
work, it chronicles the history of Kuranko society. It is a cosmology
and a genealogy and is traditionally kept by the Kamara family.

Kewulay Kamara is a poet and master of ceremonies who hails from the
West African country of Sierra Leone, West Africa. Mr. Kamara
performs to music in the spirit of his traditional roots in Mandenka
oral traditions and music. He is descended from a long line of
Mandeng finah (orators, historians, poets), and he has collected the
material for the epic from his family. Kamara has been regularly
featured at the New York City-based People's Poetry Gathering, where
Finah Misa Kule premiered in 2006. He has performed at the Great Hall
of the Cooper Union, The Kitchen, Alice Tully Hall, City Center,
Museum of Natural History, Gerald W. Lynch Theater and the of the
Museum for African Art in various capacities as poet, storyteller and
master of ceremonies. Mr. Kamara has been featured in The New York
Times, New York Daily News, CNN and NPR. He was recently featured in
A&E Network's Breakfast with Arts and hosted Omou Sangrare for
Carnegie Hall at Aaron Davis Hall.

Please join us at Badenya's holiday celebration and experience this
rich living tradition first hand. This performance has been made
possible by New York State Council on the Arts with additional project
funding from National Geographic's Genographic Legacy Fund in
collaboration with City Lore.

December 28, 2007, 8pm
Community United Methodist Church
81-10 35th Avenue, Jackson Heights, NY 11372
Admission/Suggested Donation: $20 adults/$10 children
RSVP 888 286 5557 or info@badenya.org

[where: Community United Methodist Church, 81-10 35th Avenue, Jackson Heights, NY 11372]
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