Within the context of Congolese culture, music and dance are one. Married through ritual, neither could exist without the other. This is best seen through the relationship between dance and drum. The ngoma, or drum, is the center of communal life. It is the ultimate messenger that creates the rhythm to which life is lived. This drum ushers the community members through life changing and life-sustaining occurrences, such as birth, rites of passage, marriage, the hunt, the harvest, sickness, healing, and death. The dance, much like the drum, is rooted in ritual and communicates, with movement, the stories of life. The dances and rhythms played have clearly defined functions and provide a glimpse at the past, much in the same way history books do today. Dances like Bibunda or Mayaka show how young girls are guided into womanhood, as they learn to prepare manioc (cassava); Essombi depicts how warriors once danced to prepare for battle, calling on ancestors and God for strength and courage. All of these deep-rooted rituals are translated to the concert stage through the use of choreography. Each performance then becomes an artistic reenactment of events long passed, as well as a multi-layered journey, with ngoma rhythms, fierce dancing, beautiful songs, and call and response chants.In People Like Me 2008: It's My Nature, Fua Dia Congo will present a dynamic dance with live drumming from the Congo in Central Africa. This dance ritual from Central Africa stems from the hunting tradition, and captures how nature helps to sustain human life. In African tradition, hunting is not for sport but a means of survival. Within the hunting ritual, honor and praises are offered up to the natural world that nourishes and affords us the fiber of our very existence.
Performers will include:Ayodele Ankoanda Kinchen, Kulwa Apara, Muisi-kongo Malonga, Erika Simpson, Raphael Matingou, and Henry Burton.