Saturday, May 28, 2011

Teach Them To Love Their Culture

It's been an exhausting homeschool year for me for a variety of personal and health reasons.  As I reflect and re-evaluate where I spend time, money and energy teaching my boys, cultural heritage reins supreme.  On some deep level I believe that if a young boy grows up loving and learning his cultural heritage, there is nothing he won't be able to achieve.  Math, science, writing, you name it, becomes easier because they learn it's their heritage and divine right as young African boys. That being said, African Drumming with Baba Mahari is now a part of the 3Rs - Reading, Writing, Arithmetic and Drumming.

In our last class, Baba Mahari explained the cultural significance behind the rhythms the boys are learning.

Soli is from 4 countries in West Africa: Burkina Faso, Mali, Guinea and Senegal. It's played during the rites of passage for boys ages 7-10, leading up to the time when fathers take the boys away for 6 months.

Djole is from Sierra Leone. Men play this rhythm to honor their mothers and the women in the village. The rhythm is usually played on a square frame drum called a Tamalin. Notice my youngest Lion Heart protest when I aim the camera at another child taking the spotlight off of him.

Makru is a courtship rhythm from Guinea. Boys dance in a circle similar to the soul train line. Notice my older son King Man in the background wearing a yellow shirt.

I have watched my boys grow in many positive ways as a result of being a part of Baba Mahari's class. Many of the activities my children participate in I have exposed them to first. African drumming was a request. Their ancestral genes spoke loud and clear. Just this morning while playing a video game King Man opened his mouth and started making a weird noise. I asked what in the world was going and he replied, "Baba Mahari said my solo must be a conversation." Wow, in the middle of playing a video game he was thinking about drumming! This is truly a sign of a great teacher.

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