Posts tagged Baltimore City
Young Audiences and Child First Authority: Preparing for Kwanzaa

By: Stevanie A. Williams

WombWork Productions, Inc. is so excited to be a part of Baltimore's Young Audience's and Child First Authority's Programming happening in various schools around the city.  Through Young Audience's in-school programming at Dorothy I. Height, after-school programming in Johnston Square, and Child First Authority's after-school programs at Furman Templeton and Dr. Bernard Harris, WombWork has been able to aid in the mission of developing youth by strengthening and reforming schools and giving opportunities which provide high quality after school and in-school programs.

WombWork has the great task of working with youth Pre-k to fifth grade at Dorothy I. Height. Scholars at these elementary institutions have the opportunity to receive everything from virtues training and theater, to bucket drumming, singing and dance.  

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As the holidays approach WombWork artist at all these schools are preparing the scholars for their holiday performances in which each will be giving information about Kwanzaa and sharing songs, dance and facts about the holiday, African American history, and the resilience of families. Starting on December 18th at Dorothy I. Height and ending at Furman Templeton on December 21st, all scholars will share with their families, school community and friends what they have learned and give an all out performance spreading the joy and spirit of Kwanzaa.

African Urban Culture: Bucket Basics
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By: Stevanie A. Williams

There is a rhythm to everything we do in life, the way we breathe, the way we walk, the way we talk, how we communicate and move through our day. This rhythm is innately put into us as we hear our mother's heartbeat in the womb. Somewhere along the way as we come into ourselves the recognition of that rhythm is lost or tucked behind scars of frustration and fear. Artists Charles Watson, Jumoke Ajanku, and Stevanie Williams have found a way to reconnect young scholars of Baltimore City to their core sense of rhythm and instrumentation using a basic bucket and a pair of sticks. 

Four days a week, scholars from Pre-K to fifth grade sit down with these artist and learn to create poly rhythms (many rhythms coming together to make one) simular to those of traditional West African culture. All three artist incorporate information and knowledge of these rhythms, how they are played, the names of traditional drums, the meanings for each rhythm and how this music is the birthing place of the music that most inner city youth listen, dance to and enjoy today.  Through the use of the bucket scholars are shown how to use simple materials to make music. How to create their own rhythms and sounds that immulate life and put them together to make one beat that everybody can move to. 

Scholars around Baltimore are excited to participate and encouraged to use the bucket as a new instrument.  A tool to say that the best things can come out of using what you have and working together to make anything beautiful, funky, and fun. Being drummers themselves, Charles, Jumoke, and Stevanie not only instruct but play with the scholars as an example of teamwork and unity, giving each scholar a piece of what being a musician in the community is all about.  Each artist has a teaching style both simular and unique that gets the scholars involved and learning, excited to share with the school community and families in a performance given at the end of each quarter. 

African culture and Urban Culture have again become one, and through the use of the bucket and basic traditional drumming another generation has been given the chance to change and cultivate the sound and look of music.