5:00 p.m. − Kufara: African Marimba Band
“Kufara” means “to be joyous.” Our marimba band sprang from a joyful African dance class taught in Joplin by Kyla Jones from Seattle, WA. She in turn had learned Zimbabwean mbira and marimba music in Seattle, from transplanted Zimbabwean ethnomusicologist-musician Dumisani Maraire.
In 1998, several members of Jones's dance class took the leap from dance to playing musical instruments, including both marimba (xylophone) and mbira ("thumb piano").
Joy Dworkin, Ree Wells-Lewis and John Wynhausen are original members of Kufara Marimba Band; other members include Michael Day, Arlecia Elkamil, Joan Jaccaud, Rodney Lewis, and Maria Minnaar Bailey; youth band members include Yim Kongkaew, Keya Pandeya, Liam Pacheco, DeeDee Wells, and Tessa Wells.
The Zimbabwean marimba (xylophone) has a fairly recent history. The instrument was chosen for development in Zimbabwe around 1961, for use primarily in schools. Traditional Marimbas existed at that time in neighboring Zambia, and in Mozambique where the tradition of large marimba orchestras had thrived for at least 400 years. However, there was no marimba tradition in Zimbabwe to speak of, and therefore the instrument did not “belong” to any Zimbabwean cultural group in particular. As such, it was the ideal choice for a “people’s instrument” – one that could “belong” to every Zimbabwean, regardless of language or culture. Similar to the timbila-marimba orchestras of Mozambique, Zimbabwe’s marimba bands feature instruments of at least four different sizes and voices: soprano, alto/tenor, baritone and bass.
Zimbabwean instrumental music mirrors Zimbabwean singing and dancing traditions: it is polyrhythmic, and rich with harmonies. Whether played on mbira or marimba, Zimbabwean music is often backed by the heartbeat of the hosho (gourd rattles), and ngoma (drums). The instruments themselves are designed to have a distinctive underlying rattle or “buzz” which all Zimbabweans feel is essential for a good sound. In the words of Zimbabwean mbira player Cosmas Magaya: “Otherwise, the music is naked”.
Kufara’s marimba repertoire includes contemporary and traditional music from Zimbabwe and South Africa as well as the Americas. Our music ranges from traditional songs and mbira pieces arranged for marimba, to songs by Harry Belafonte and Paul Simon.
We continue to move with and be moved by this joyous cultural tradition, and hope that the music will move you too.
For more information or bookings, contact Kufara at 417-625-9762 and ask for Ree.
5:45 p.m. − Kansas City St. Andrew Pipes & Drums
For over 50 years, Kansas City St. Andrew Pipes and Drums has worked to preserve the traditional music of Scotland and to further the Scottish arts in Kansas City and abroad. The band was founded in 1962 and incorporates the talents of over 50 musicians, ranging in ages from 14 to over 70. The community-oriented band is committed to furthering the development of piping and drumming in Kansas City and the Midwest.
In addition, two competition bands are currently fielded: a grade III band, and a grade V band. In addition to many successes over the years in band events, including second place in piping at the World Pipe Band Championships (Grade 3-A 2001), members have competed and taken prizes in some of the most prestigious solo piping and drumming contests in North America, with several members competing in the professional grade and with several more competing at the grade one and two levels. But foremost, the band prides itself in being a family-oriented organization.
The band actively supports the cultural diversity of Kansas City through participation in the Kansas City Highland Games, the Kansas City Ethnic Enrichment Festival, the Kirkin' of the Tartans at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral, The Kansas City St. Patrick's Day Parade, services to the Kansas City St. Andrew Society, and many other events.
6:45 p.m. – Saudi Ardah - Dance by Students from Saudi Arabia
Ardah is the primary variety of folkloric dance in Arabia. The dance consists of two rows of men opposite one another (some of which occasionally hold a cane or a sword). The dance includes poetry that is spoken before those watching and drumming.
At one time performed only before going to war, the dance today goes on at all types of events including weddings, celebrations and holidays. Several types of ardah exist in different parts of Saudi Arabia, although they all each other greatly.
The name "Saudi Ardah" is now officially sanctioned by the Saudi government. Ardah is often seen on television in the Saudi Arabian Peninsula.
7:00 p.m. – MSSU Caribbean Steel Drums
Missouri Southern's Steel Drum Ensemble brings Caribbean flavor to the World Festival. The campus and community now have the chance to sample this distinctive island sound. One member of the group says performing in public creates a distinct sense of excitement for the musicians involved.
"The notes themselves are not that difficult, but the style is completely different," one musician says. "The way the pans are set up, the notes are placed over a series of drums. Your playing style is all over the place. There's a lot of movement."
Steel drums, which developed in the late 1930s on the island of Trinidad, traditionally have been played as part of a percussion ensemble, originally contrived by lower-class teens. Originally consisting of oil drums, today the instruments are made of high-quality steel. While Trinidad and Tobago continues to be hubs of steel band activity, countries like Sweden, Switzerland, and Japan and the United States all actively field ensembles.
Funding for the instruments came several years ago through efforts by the Missouri Southern Foundation and assistance from the Institute of International Studies, as well as a successful Kickstarter campaign.