Loftin comes alive with African-American music demonstration

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By John French

Loftin Student Center shook with a thunderous boom of drums Feb. 20.

Percussionist T-Bow Gonzales kicked off an African-American festival showcasing African instruments, sounds and rhythms.

Dancing and singing to the rhythm of his drums was Deirde Lacour.

“Funga a lafia; ashe’ ashe’,” she sang. The Yoruban phrase welcomes students to the presentation.

The event continues this college’s celebration of Black History Month.

After the opening performance, Gonzales took a few minutes to showcase a variety of drums he uses, such as the doodo, also known as the “talking drum.”

Also on display was a two-barreled dunun. The bottom barrel is called the sangban and the top barrel the kenkeni.

Gonzales, drum instructor and producer, invited a student onstage for some hands-on experience.

Psychology freshman Jessie Castillo, a guitar player, described playing the drums as “very different” from his experience with more familiar Western instruments.

Describing the sounds of Gonzales drumming, Castillo said, “There’s a lot of passion and love in his music.”

After Gonzales’ demonstration of his drums, Lacour encouraged the audience to stand up to engage in stretching techniques before teaching them a dance.

Lacour invited a number of students to join the pair on stage to dance and drum alongside them.

Black History Month Committee member Judith Clark said, “T-Bow I’ve known for years. And Deirdre always performs with T-Bow.”

Clark, a retired administrative service specialist who has served for years on the committee, said, “We’re duplicating what we had last year.”


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