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Candomblé: Afro-Brazilian Spirit of Music and Movement

Alex Shaw

Candomblé: Afro-Brazilian Spirit of Music and Movement
Monday, November 18, 4:30-5:30 pm, Lang Concert Hall

Public demonstration and performance of music and movement inspired by the Candomblé tradition, with Alex Shaw '00 and special guests. Experience the meaning and magic of this powerful New World spirit in brilliant displays of artistry, color, and sound. This is an interactive presentation of vibrant performances honoring the spirit of the Orixas, featuring two masters of the tradition, Gamo Da Paz and Dandha Da Hora. Together, these artists will demonstrate elements of the Afro-Brazilian religious vocabulary with percussion and dance. Gamo Da Paz is a third-generation master percussionist and sacred drummer in the Candomblé tradition, with expertise in the ceremonial rhythms of the Orixás, the deities of Candomblé. Dandha Da Hora is a master dancer, dance teacher, vocalist, and member of Ilê Aiyê, one of Brazil's most renowned cultural institutions. This program features rhythms, movements, and songs inspired by the Orixás, enacting the folkloric and ritual styles that reflect the unique blending of form and energy that manifests in this spectacular living tradition.

Religion as Culture: Introducing the Orixás

Monday, November 18, 1-3:30 pm, Lang Concert Hall
Religion as Culture: Introducing the Orixás is a teaching workshop on the Afro-Brazilian religion, Candomblé. Dating back several centuries, Candomblé is a sacred tradition that originated among African people in Brazil. This workshop offers an introduction and general background to the stories, songs, and rhythms of the dynamic beings of the religion, the Orixás. Orixás are timeless, energetic forces that embody elements of nature, divine light, and spirit. They enter the present through drumming and song, and express themselves in dance. This in-depth workshop will provide knowledge of the historical setting and the sacred stories of the Orixás, as well as the cosmology of the Candomblé religion. Conversation with the artists, a question and answer period, and refreshments will follow the event. Open to the Swarthmore Campus Community.

*Master class on Afro-Brazilian dance with live drumming and guest artists Dandha Da Hora and Gamo Da Paz
Wednesday, November 20, 7:00-9:00 pm, Lang Performing Arts Center, Troy Dance Lab

This master class will provide an introduction to traditional drumming and dance techniques inspired by Candomblé, the African-based tradition of Brazil. Derived from the Yoruba people of West Africa, Candomblé is an ancient religion that centers around a pantheon of Orixás - spiritual entities that represent the forces of nature and are honored with unique rhythms, songs, and dances. Guided by two master teachers of percussion and dance from Bahia, Brazil, class participants will learn about Candomblé and the traditional drumming techniques and music associated with that sacred culture, as well as their influences on other Afro-Brazilian art forms such as Samba.

Dandha Da Hora was born and raised in Salvador, Bahia, where she was a member of Ile Aiye, the renowned cultural organization. A master dancer as well as vocalist and percussionist, Dandha honors and shares the incredible gifts of her culture. Gamo Da Paz was also born in Salvador, Brazil, and is a third generation master Drummer initiated and trained in the Candomblé tradition. Both Dandha and Gamo will highlight the African influences in Brazilian music and dance as they bring to life the extraordinary performance traditions of Candomblé.

*Master class is open to all interested students, but guest registration is required. For more details, contact Yvonne Chireau,