Penn Museum’s 26th Annual Celebration of African Cultures
PHILADEPHIA, PA—African melodies and moves, along with tales, proverbs, artifacts, crafts, and cuisine from cultural traditions spanning the African continent, come together at the Penn Museum’s annual Celebration of African Cultures on Saturday, February 28, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. The festivities showcase acclaimed local artists and griots, including storyteller Queen Nur, Odunde 365, and the Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble. The celebration is free with Museum admission donation ($15, general admission; $13, seniors [65+]; $10, children [6-17] and full-time students [with ID]; $2 ACCESS Card holders; free to children under 5, members, active U.S. Military, STAMP and PennCard holders).ACTIVITIES FROM REGIONAL PERSPECTIVES FOR CHILDREN AND ELDERS
Beginning at 1:30 pm, award-winning griot (storyteller) Queen Nur leads “Stories from the Motherland: An Interactive Storytelling Celebration,” accompanied by percussionist Yomi Jojolo. Queen Nur’s stories recall historical victories and celebrate folkloric traditions in a toe-tapping, hand-clapping experience. Guests can also learn traditional Nigerian folksongs during the presentation.Members of the Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble offer a thrilling performance at 3:00 pm. The group, known for presentations representing Senegal, Mali, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, treats guests to an energetic finale.
At 1:00 pm, Habiba, international belly dancer, demonstrates folkloric and classical belly dances of Morocco and Tunisia, such as the Raks al Juzur (Pot Dance) and Raks al Maharem (Scarf Dance). Tunisia, a North African country, has a richly mixed cultural heritage, including Phoenician, Berber, Roman, early Christian, Islamic, and Jewish elements. The Raks al Juzur dance comes from southern Tunisia and celebrates the region’s pottery industry. The dancer must balance a water jug on his or her head as the tempo of the music increases. The Raks al Maharem originated as a flirtatious dance before adopting patriotic overtones in support of the independence movement. The Tunisian style of belly dance concentrates on sharp hip twists and is performed by men and women. All guests are encouraged to try to learn how to shimmy, hip-drop, and undulate in this fun workshop.MANCALA, A MARKETPLACE AND MORE
“When you follow in the path of your father, you learn to walk like him.”
Visitors young and young at heart can join an African Proverbs Family Gallery Tour of the Museum’s Africa Gallery to learn about the brass weights of different shapes and sizes designed to weigh gold—made by the Akan peoples of present-day Ghana and Ivory Coast—and learn about some of the proverbs represented by some of the weights. Tours depart every 15 minutes from 11:00 am until 12:30 pm.