The West Indies and West Africa converge for Africa Underground 2

June 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

Moko Jumbie

I can’t really see myself missing After Hours at African Art, when the Smithsonian opens the doors of its museum after hours to revelers who can dance, eat, drink, party, and enjoy the breathtaking exhibitions there. After being away from the country for a couple of months, I returned just in time to attend the second edition of Africa Underground. For the hugely successful first installment at the National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC in February, the organizers took us down south for a Brazilian samba-flavored showcase of art, music and culture. This time (the party was on May 20) the serving was distinctly West Indian in its character, yet an equally joyous and colorful exposé of the connection between the Caribbean and West Africa. The sold out event featured live music out on the grounds, and on the inside a DJ, poetry and spoken word, arts and crafts, and a talk on the West Indian/West African connection. I arrived a bit late, unfortunately, and missed a great performance in the garden by the moko jumbies (stilt walkers). But right after that Papa Wabe,
longtime radio host on DC’s WPFW’s 89.3FM, now at Baltimore’s WEAA 88.9FM, introduced the live reggae band Kurlou and the Reggae All Stars. And who should be playing lead guitar with them but Junior Marvin of The Original Wailers, famed reggae guitarist and former member of Bob Marley and the Wailers band! Marvin occasionally sang along with Kurlou as the band went through sets that included popular reggae songs from the past and present, as well as several Bob Marley and the Wailers

Kurlou, with Junior Marvin on guitar

classics. Underground, on the museum’s sublevel, Ambassador Denis Antoine gave a talk entitled “The Connection: West Africa and the Caribbean,” while LOVE the poet performed spoken word and Spyda the DJ spun the West Indian and West African beats. African dance collective Farafina Kan was also on hand to perform traditional West African dance. For all the arts and crafts enthusiasts, there was also an opportunity to participate in Adinkra stamping/printing – and a great chance to learn how to tie a head wrap, the African way! All that, plus food and drinks both inside and in the garden! If you missed this one, your third chance comes up again in September. Check out the photos and video clip to see what went down. You can see Afrofusion’s full interview with Junior Marvin on – and more photos are in the Photo Gallery. For the exact date of Africa Underground’s third edition, please visit the museum’s website. Get your tickets early next time! Bless…

Making Adinkra prints

Dera Tompkins with Attorney Billy Martin

Riziki with Kurlou and Junior Marvin

Kurlou and the Reggae All Stars took it into the night

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