Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Black History Celebration at Rio

The sound of African Djembe drums were heard echoing throughout the halls of the conference center at Rio Salado College today.

The drums, dancing and storytelling were all part of the West Africa Cultural Origins and Preservation event featuring Sule Greg Wilson and Debra Glasper.
“Black history and African-American history have so much cultural significance. Many don’t realize its importance in American history,” said Greg Wilson, who demonstrated his unique drumming talent in front of dozens of attendees.

“People forget that even modern rock and roll has rhythmic roots in African-American music and culture. It is so important that every American remembers where they came from,” said Greg Wilson.

Greg Wilson came to the event dressed in traditional African attire prepared to share stories about African music and culture. At one point he had the entire audience sing with him “Funga Alafia,” a traditional West-African welcome chant.

Co-host Debra Glasper was happy to stand in front of the audience and show off her dance moves. The retired college counselor wisked around the room searching for volunteers to help with the rhythm and percussion.

Glasper, who is originally from Chicago, first heard African dance music at a high school assembly. “It’s been 25 years and I am still in love with African music and dancing. It’s my culture, and it’s such a big part of who I am,” she said.