Abu Selah is a well known percussionist with a strong influence on hand percussion, primarily from the roots of West Africa. I was introduced to him by a woman named Elvie who runs an organization called DRUM The Program which focuses on community, the arts, and African culture. She proposed an idea to have Mr. Abu teach a workshop to some of our N4N youth that would lead to a large scale performance at their annual event “Congo Square” held at the Vortex here in Austin.
I thought this would be a fantastic collaboration as our youth would not only learn about an instrument not so common in typical music genres or performances, but they’d get to experience different cultures with the opportunity to positively impact members of the community. After a couple short meetings, we worked out a schedule and had Abu come in to give sort of an introductory workshop on what our youth would be learning and playing live on stage.
The great thing about the workshop was that not only did the youth who were able to attend have a great time learning the music, but a couple of the parents sat in on the workshop too and picked up an instrument and played right along. Certainly a wonderful bonding experience! Furthermore, Abu and his team have offered to provide all the youth involved with Djembe’s to practice with during the 5 week workshop since that is the actual instrument they’ll be playing at Congo Square. The event will take place on March 3, 2018 and we’re all excited to be apart of it!
Check out this video to learn more about the program and what to expect at Congo Square!