Published on August 14th, 2020 | by Nina Pulley0
Sacred Dance: African Drum Tradition, Resistance, Reflection and Healing
The legacy of traditional African dance ceremonies beats strong in the hearts of cultures across North and South America. As we know, during the era of enslavement, African people would communicate with drums as a form of organized resistance, such to the extent that it was outlawed.
Yet, the potential, intent, and spirit of African sacred drum music lies deeper, in prayer and transformation. Dance, drums and music were central to prayer in African traditional societies. This is why Black churches across the diaspora still incorporate music, dance and drums in their churches. It’s why people catch the spirit during a dance, music and sometimes song session. Revisiting the central role of dance in many African cultures/communities helps us rediscover the prayerful potential latent in all our communities, in all our affairs — in our way of living and breathing. That rhythm gives life to the protest, gives voice to our emotions, and by many accounts, is deeply healing.
African drum ensembles and songs that invoke this sound are essential to our rediscovery of ourselves and “re-membering” our past, so that we can move towards our future with a deeper sense of the intent that informed our ancestors. The music can serve as fertile soil in which to plant our dreams, for deeper meaning in our lived experience. That is the intent of prayer: reconsideration, reflection, refreshment and fruition — the revival of a dream deferred.
Sampling songs from Mali, Ghana, South Africa, Nigeria, as well as diasporic reinterpretations from African American, British-Caribbean, and Latin American artists, this playlist represents different cultural rhythms with the same beating origin: the heart. Listen to Sons of Kemet remix Afro-Diasporic drum patterns with African American historical references; the sounds of cumbia pitter-patter on your ears; the deeply emotive sounds from a musical gathering in Ghana almost fifty years ago; or the resonant and joyous sounds of a chorus against drums in Universal African Dance & Drum Ensemble’s flawless Dimedi Faabe album. Reconnect unapologetically in your search for your own meaningful political action, using this as a fueling impetus for deeper spiritual considerations. That, but don’t forget to dance.