Monday, August 27, 2012

Cuban and Cameroon Ékpè in DC

 This past weekend has been an important one for Abakuá and Ékpè members alike.  Here are images and music from all the encounters between Cuban Abakuá Roman Diaz and Angel Guerrero accompanied by a song they learned from Sisiku Assám Assám .  In just a little while Dr. Ivor Miller will be presenting his talk as Senior Fellow at the Smithsonian museum. We are very grateful to Dr. Johnnetta Cole and all the staff at the National Museum of African Art. Soon I will post more video and pictures of the events following Chief Dr. Ivor Millers talk.

Abasi Menguame,

Onel Mulet
for The Voice of The Leopard.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Senior Smithsonian Fellow Chief (Dr.) Ivor Miller Presents.....

                           November 25th Event with Cameroon Èkpé and Cuban Abakuá

Monday 27 August at 2:00pm at the Smithsonian Institution's NMAfA’s Lecture Hall

950 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20560
For Directions Click Here<>

Chief (Dr.) Ivor Miller will present new research on Cross River civilizations and their manifestations in the Diaspora. Also featured are the music and masquerades of both Cameroon Ékpè and Cuban Abakuá. Musicians 'Román' Díaz, Ángel Guerrero  with NY based musician, composer Onel Mulet will participate.
For centuries, the Ékpè ‘leopard’ society of the Cross River region in southeastern Nigeria and southwestern Cameroon was the supreme institution of governance that also embodied esoteric teachings about the life-cycle. African migrants in colonial Cuba recreated Ékpè in the early 1800s to protect members in a slave society and to gain their freedom. They called it Abakuá, after the Àbàkpà community of Calabar, Nigeria. During this process, Abakuá scribes documented large portions of their cultural history in 19th century manuscripts. Hidden from outsiders until recently, this little-known ‘people’s history’ is being shared with West African cultural leaders who are using it to understand their own pre-colonial traditional institutions and arts.

With reference to photographs in the NMAfA collections, Chief (Dr.) Ivor Miller will present key themes of this story with the support of traditional intellectuals as well as musicians and dancers from Cameroon and Cuba. The foci will be on trans-Atlantic cultural identities, symbols of ‘universal motherhood’, and the functions of ‘life-giving’ drums. The role of the Museum as a link between continental Africans and African-descendants in the USA to explore their legacies in the arts will be addressed. Traditional chiefs from Cameroon who live in the Washington D.C. region will participate.