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Kulu Mele African American Dance & Drum Ensemble Performs Mali Sadjo: The Legend of the Hippopotamus on April 25 at Cheyney University's Marian Anderson Music Center

March 22, 2013

Mali Sadjo: The Legend of the Hippopotamus will be performed by Kulu Mele African American Dance & Drum Ensemble on Thursday, April 25 at the Marian Anderson Music Center at 7:30 pm.

Mali Sadjo: The Legend of the Hippopotamus will be performed by Kulu Mele African American Dance & Drum Ensemble on Thursday, April 25 at the Marian Anderson Music Center at 7:30 pm.

Mali Sadjo: The Legend of the Hippopotamus will be performed by Kulu Mele African American Dance & Drum Ensemble, on Thursday, April 25 at the Marian Anderson Music Center at 7:30 pm.  

The Ensemble is composed of 20 dancers and musicians. Founded in 1969 by master drummer Baba Robert Crowder, who passed away in November, Kulu Mele presents and preserves African dance traditions rooted in the cultures of the African diaspora.  Led by Artistic Director & Choreographer Dorothy Wilkie for more than 20 years, its repertoire draws upon the music and movement forms of Guinea, Ghana, Nigeria, Brazil, Haiti, Cuba and the Senegambia region, as well as African-American vernacular traditions. 

"Twelve of us from our dance company went to Guinea, West Africa for two weeks in 2008 just to study this play," Wilkie explained.  They bought all of their costumes there and came back to the United States to study for an entire year before taking their show on the road.  This will be the fourth time that the troupe has performed in the Philadelphia area.

"The audience will see African dancing, singing, drumming and drama," Wilkie stated.  "This is an African ballet play about a story that's told in Africa and passed down through the generations.  Most people have never seen an African Ballet," she acknowledged.  Tickets for this program are available for advance purchase at http://cheyney.ticketleap.com.  Doors open 30 minutes before the event and parking is free. For more information, call 610 399-2365.

In addition to the performance, several of the Ensemble members will hold a master class earlier in the day for about 30 Cheyney University students.  The goal is to teach them how to dance in the traditional African way.

The 2012-2013 Schedule for the Arts and Lectures Series at Cheyney University features ten programs with a variety of speakers, musicians, singers and dancers from throughout the US and abroad. All programs are held on the Cheyney University campus and are open to the public.   The Arts & Lecture Series is sponsored by a grant, Strengthening Historically Black Colleges and Universities (Title III).