Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My Fort Wayne: A Breath of Afrika Festival

After spending the morning and early afternoon at the Johnny Appleseed Festival it was time to go the Breath of Afrika Cultural Arts Festival.This was the first year of this event. As soon as you parked your car you were greeted by the sounds of African drums, Caribbean beats and the smell of BBQ. More importantly, you were greeted with laughter and hospitality.

Breath of Afrika: A little Bit of Dancing

The festival celebrates the contributions of Afrikans and Afrikan Americans to the larger American culture. The festival showcases the East Central neighborhood. The neighborhood felt like, well, a neighborhood. Children ran around playing, adults met in small groups and laughed and talked. When you looked north-west you saw the buildings of downtown, the cathedral and the lights to Parkview Field. When you looked east you saw the African/Afrikan American Museum. All this while folks were dressed in African clothes, children beat drums, people sold art and food and people danced. The festival had poetry readings, Stan Champion and Roots Rock Society, and an Afro-Caribbean group called Timbalaye. The festival was sponsored by the museum and Three Rivers Institute of Afrikan Art and Culture (TRIAAC). TRIAAC is the home of the Three Rivers Jenbé Ensemble. This is a local youth group that uses Afrikan drumming and dance to learn about culture and responsibility. They are great and their performances were well received.

Breath of Afrika: A Little More Dancing

There were tours of the museum. There were also tours of the building behind the stage, the Kachmann Mind Body Institute. It was clearly a great day, with friendly folks at a neighborhood festival.

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