Olouchegoun Chams Linkpon

The Benin Alliance of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut (501c3 non-profit) announces the introduction of DANXOMƐ DRUMMING AND DANCING IN HARLEM, an educational program and cultural center focusing on the dancing and drumming traditions of Danxomɛ, the African kingdom in present-day BENIN REPUBLIC, West Africa. Danxomɛan dance and drumming styles such as ZENLI, ADJOGBO, GUELEDE, TIPINTI, KAKA, AGBADJA, MASSE GOHOUN,and TCHINKOUME, and the accompanying instruments,belong to an old and proud royal court tradition which is distinct from those found in other parts of West Africa. Many of these cultural practices traveled with the slave trade, and can be found in syncretized forms throughout the Americas, from New Orleans to Haiti to Brazil.
The program will be primarily geared toward youth under the age of 16, especially those of African heritage, but will be open to lovers of dance and music of any age and background. One of its primary goals is to bring the culture of Harlem, the capital of the global African diaspora, closer to the culture of Danxomɛ, which is one of the most foundational and most spiritual West African cultures, though largely unknown in the U.S. The history of the kingdom of Danxomɛ is rich and is reflected in the musical repertoire, for example the account of the king’s legendary female military regiment, the AMAZONS. When the French colonized the region in the early 20th century, the colony became known as Dahomey.
The instructors of Danxomɛ Drumming and Dancing in Harlem will be master drummers and dancers from Benin Republic, including those from the Ballet National. The center will also include storage for musical instruments and costumes, and a shop selling African-made instruments.
Once established, the future vision of the program is to conduct trips to Benin with New York youth to perform Danxomɛan drumming and dancing styles, and to engage in community service projects.
DanxomɛDrumming and Dancing in Harlem will be holding fundraising activities throughout 2014, and welcomes all forms of support (tax deductible). The program is currently in search of a permanent space.

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