Wednesday, April 24, 2024
45.0°F

‘Jaku Mumor’

by GABRIEL DAVIS
Staff Writer | March 25, 2024 1:20 AM

MOSES LAKE — The multi-media performance event “Jaku Mumor,” created and led by artist Okaidja Afroso, will be making its way to Moses Lake through the Columbia Basin Allied Arts. The performance will be held April 27 at Big Bend Community College’s Wallenstien Theater at 7 p.m.

Afroso is a multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter and traditional dancer from Ghana, West Africa, according to his website.

“I've presented him to Allied Arts selection committees a couple of times over the years, and it's never seemed to fit,” said CBAA Executive Director Shawn Cardwell. “‘Jaku Mumor’ is a very new project that he has been creating since the world opened up again after COVID, and he's been back and forth to Ghana a few times, meeting and working with artists there. Artists are coming from Ghana for this tour to perform with him. He's worked with videographers, fashion designers, he's worked with dancers, vocalists, musicians, to tell the story of the Ghanaian Ga-Dangme fishermen.”

“Jaku Mumor” utilizes percussion, guitar, dance, native language vocals, film and fashion to tell the story, the CBAA website says.

“It's a multimedia storytelling of all those things. There will be storytelling in English, songs in a Ghanaian language and it's going to be very cool,” Cardwell said. “The whole project was commissioned by Duke and Stanford Universities and the Oregon State Arts Commission, so it's an international stage, a very cool piece that I'm just really floored to have come to Moses Lake.”

According to his website, Afroso was born into a family of musicians and storytellers in Kokrobite, a fishing town on the west coast of Ghana. He began his career as a dancer with the celebrated Ghana Dance Ensemble.

Cardwell said she has wanted Afroso to perform in Moses Lake for years.

“I saw (Afroso) back in maybe 2018 or 2019 at a regional presenters and artists conference, and his music is just beautiful, and it feels universal, and the stories he tells are really, again, just beautiful and universal,” she said. “So he's always kind of stuck with me over the years.”

“Jaku Mumor” will encompass a different part of African culture from some of CBAA’s previous events, Cardwell said.

“It's exciting too, because, last year we had the Zuzu Acrobats,” she said. “They are from the Swahili coast. (Ghana) is the opposite coast of Africa … So people will walk away from this, I think, really having seen and felt the humanity and the connections that can come out of these cultural exchanges that you wouldn't necessarily see from maybe the Zuzu Acrobats. They’re very like, ‘Wow, I could never do that, that's so cool they do that,’ and it is part of the tradition on the Swahili coast. It is amazing and just thrilling to see, but I think this is a little bit more human … Fishing is such a key part of Grant County, and I think (‘Jaku Mumor’) kind of plays into the sort of outdoor agricultural culture that we have here.”

CBAA’s mission statement emphasizes this type of education through the arts and a focus on “diverse cultural enrichment,” according to the CBAA website.

“I'd say Columbia Basin Allied Arts has always tried to have diversity … Our selection committee has always worked to ensure that there is a diversity of artistic genres,” Cardwell said. “We range from music, to dance, to theater, to multimedia and beyond. We also strive for diversity within those genres.”

BBCC’s recent upgrades to the Wallenstien Theater have allowed CBAA to show more technically-demanding performances such as Afroso’s, which are more expensive but also more exciting, Cardwell said. She also said attendance at CBAA shows is bigger than it ever has been.

“In the last two years, we have had three shows that have just blown every show in the last 10 years out of the water in terms of attendance,” she said. “At our last show, with The Silhouettes, the line was wrapped down the length of the building, which is cool. We’re also working on a better process to get people checked in faster so that doesn't necessarily happen, but it was thrilling to see also.”

However, in addition to audience growth, CBAA has also seen its expenses rise, Cardwell said.

“We're definitely seeing costs going up for artists in general and specifically the caliber of artists that we hope to bring in,” she said. “Specifically, the cost of bringing in professional theatre has at least doubled in the last 10 years, so that's become increasingly difficult.”

Cardwell said “Jaku Mumor” is sponsored by Accredited Appraisal Services and Columbia Family Foundation, and it is best to buy tickets and choose seating ahead of time. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.cba-arts.org.

Gabriel Davis may be reached at gdavis@columbiabasinherald.com.

‘Jaku Mumor’

Saturday, April 27 at 7 p.m. 

Wallenstien Theater, Moses Lake

6989 College Parkway NE

Tickets: $15-$30


    Okaidja Afroso, pictured, is a Ghanaian musician and artist who will be performing in Moses Lake on April 27 at 7 p.m. in Wallenstien Theater. The performance will incorporate music, dance and film to tell the story of Ghanaian Ga-Dangme fishermen.
 
 


    Okaidja Afroso, pictured, was born into a family of musicians and storytellers in Kokrobite, a fishing town on the coast of Ghana, according to Afroso’s website. He began his career as a dancer with the celebrated Ghana Dance Ensemble and now leads multi-media art performances.