West African Dancing and Drumming Group to Bring a Beat, Cultural History to HPU


HPU High Point University The Happy Beat DrummingHIGH POINT, N.C., Aug. 28, 2013 – The High Point University campus will come alive with West African dancing and drumming at the event, “Drumming Up Diversity,” to be held at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 12 at the outdoor Hoffman Amphitheatre in Hayworth Park. The event is free and open to the public. No tickets are required.

This hands-on learning event will give students and community members alike the opportunity to learn Malinke rhythms, dance and call-and-response singing. Attendees will also learn about the religious beliefs systems and the cultural history of the rhythms.

The team of teachers, under the direction of “The Happy Beat Drumming,” will consists of six drummers and two dance instructors with a fleet of African djembe drums. Together, they will conduct a two-hour live, interactive event that features performance drumming, storytelling, drumming lessons, rhythm games, Malinke language singing and even a men versus women dancing battle.

“Students and community members from across the disciplines will benefit from this event, as they gain exposure to a culture vastly different from their own,” says Dr. Judy Isaksen, associate professor of communication at HPU. “Being exposed to world music, the oral history tradition and the role of the ‘Griot,’ the ancient historian, will challenge them to think beyond their own experiences in regards to music and its value in society.”

Isaksen notes that all instruments are provided, everyone is invited and no experience is needed.

Drumming Up Diversity is part of the Faculty Cultural Enrichment Series. The series assists HPU faculty in planning vibrant, intellectually stimulating cultural events that feature nationally renowned academics, artists and performers. The grants support programming in all academic disciplines and help introduce students to thought-provoking ideas in art, literature, science, philosophy and business.

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