Who We Are

Who We Are: "We are a collaboration of families of African Traditional practitioners coming together to venerate our Ancestors for the perpetual healing of our communities."About our favicon: Fawohodie, an adinkra symbol meaning the "symbol of independence, freedom, emancipation". From the expression: Fawodhodie ene obre na enam. Literal translation: "Independence comes with its responsibilities."

Friday, June 7, 2013

SINGING: A MUST IN HONORING ANCESTORS

Singing, usually by call and response, is a significant and prevalent aspect of African tradition. Cultures with an African foundation have singing in just about every aspect of life from birth to death. Most songs are written to express life's experiences - the joy of a new child, the achievement of a particular goal, the reunion of a family, the overcoming of a challenge - whether joyous or tragic. Songs are sung to do particular tasks and many times songs are composed during the conduct of daily work. Among the Garinagu (African and indigenous descendants of the Caribbean and Central America) for example, women who would be working together to make cassava bread would compose songs for specific tasks in the process to motivate them through the hard work of washing, peeling and grating cassava.
Garifuna women peeling the bitter cassava tubers to make cassava bread.
These songs are then passed on to the younger generation through their involvement alongside elders in particular activities. This type of action helps to build that connection between old and young, past, present and future. It creates an opportunity for the transmission of traditional cultural practices to the younger people of the community who would then have the task of passing it on to those younger than them in years to come.

The Garinagu, like many other African descendant communities, have songs that are sacred and reserved for rituals in honor of Ancestors. These songs would not generally be heard on a regular day-to-day occasion. Instead, such songs would be called during a Dugu, the Feasting of the Dead to welcome Ancestors into the dabuyaba (ancestral temple). In some cases, the singing of certain songs causes the energy to intensify in the celebration and in these moments Ancestral spirits come forth and speak to family members in attendance. Members of the community get to learn these songs while attending the Dugu but for those who are the gayusa (special group of singers), they learn the songs from elders or from Ancestors in dreams.

Country | Kenya | Singing Masai Women Image
Maasai women of Kenya singing. Photo by Borft
Our Annual Ancestor Celebration will also create this opportunity for cultural preservation in a song workshop. In this particular activity, participants will get to learn songs in honor of Ancestors. In the same way Garifuna people get to learn songs at the Dugu celebration, the song workshop at this year's Annual Ancestor Celebration on June 16th in Atlanta will give participants the chance to learn African and African-American songs in honor of Ancestors. There surely cannot be a celebration of Ancestors without the singing of songs in their honor.

1 comment:

  1. Lets bask in the power of singing! Great for the soul. Priceless for our Ancestors.


    Ife.

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