Happening nearby: Artfully Lynnwood previews West Africa Cultural Heritage celebration

West AfricaSaturday, July 25
7-10 pm
Shorewood High School Performing Arts Center
17300 Fremont Ave N
Cultural Heritage 2015

This month a vibrant and unique celebration featuring extravagant dance performances and music representing the cultures of West Africa will take place in nearby Shoreline.

According to Kobby Adjel, event coordinator for Cultural Heritage 2015 the unique-to-the-Northwest celebration will include an African Chief Installation and Procession process.

Intrigued by the Installation of an African Chief and the Procession that will follow, Artfully Edmonds (AE) requested an interview with Adjel (KA).

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AE: Kobby, please explain to our readers the cultural significance of the Installation of the Paramount Chief and the Procession that will follow.

KA: The Paramount Chiefs are the representatives or channels through which the government would have to collaborate via decentralization to enable them mobilize their people effectively in development of their own communities. On special occasions, chiefs wear the traditional cloth, which is a fabric six yards in length, wrapped around the body. For this occasion the Paramount Chief is flying to Seattle from Dallas.

Female chiefs have two pieces of fabric, which can be of different designs. The chiefs wear ample amounts of jewelry, which in the past was all made of gold. The headdress is usually in the form of a crown. Chiefs have traditional sandals, and the wearing of sandals is symbolic.

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AE: What can attendees of Cultural Heritage 2015 expect will take place?

KA: During Cultural Heritage 2015, the Paramount Chief will lead a Procession with his queen as well as his linguist through which he will address the attending community. He will be seated as he views the festival that has been arranged for him.

Performances will take place to acknowledge his presence and also to remind the community of the relevance of our West Africa culture and traditions. The chief will be accompanied with fontomfrom and atumpan, a Ghanaian traditional talking-drum played only and exclusively for Paramount Chiefs.

JHP Cultural and Diversity Legacy has the ability to celebrate past traditions while expanding to embrace new ideas and foreign influences through traditional music and dance.

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AE: What are some of the highlights of the planned performances?

KA: We are very excited to have Saeeda Wright, who is a back-up singer for Prince (AE: Yes, readers THAT Prince!) as a featured guest performer. She was just recently a guest of the White House and performed for President Obama and the First Lady.

Also, under the direction of Ghanaian-born griot and percussionist Eben Pobee, who represents JHP Cultural and Diversity Legacy https://www.facebook.com/jhp3s, the Cultural Heritage includes a myriad of music and dance traditions practiced by West African artists.

This year’s exceptional program features world-renowned guest performers representing Ghana, Mali, Senegal, Gambia, Nigeria, Guinea, and Liberia. As the program acknowledges the vast influence of West African performance traditions throughout the African Diaspora, 2015 performers includes local performer, Obo Addy and the Legacy Project. The group, Seattle Cultural Crew, and the artists who produced the album Okropong will sharing music and dance from Ghana and West Africa.

As a special treat near the conclusion of the program we have a 30-minute fashion show featuring “Adeshie Collections” owned by Emmanuel Arhu and Fred Amankwaah — beautifully designed African clothing for men.

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AE: Kobby, this is all very intriguing and exciting! Who are the organizers behind this special cultural event?

KA: This event is put on by JHP Cultural and Diversity Legacy, which has the ability to celebrate past West African traditions while expanding to embrace new ideas and foreign influences through traditional music and dance.

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AE: Have there been similar performance troupes, or occasions that might be on the internet which readers might preview before getting their tickets for this exciting occasion?

KA: Yes, actually. Let me direct you to https://youtu.be/yaV6qp34MBs

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AE: And your ticket link?

KA: General admission tickets for this historic cultural occasion are available here.

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Kobby, thank you for your time; Artfully Lynnwood is looking forward to Cultural Heritage 2015. See you there!

— By Emily Hill

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