Orisha practitioners throughout the Yoruba diaspora have prepared special foods for ceremony and offerings to the Orishas. This tradition, cooking for the Orisha and ancestors, is based on utilizing specific ingredients and ways of preparing foods and meals, which has been passed on from generation to generation. The Alashe is…
The music and drumming of the Mandinka dates back to the 13th century in the Mali Empire. These century old traditions, songs and rhythms are related to various life cycles such as infant naming, agriculture and marriage ceremonies, as well as pertaining to specific social and religious societies. Central to…
As part of ACTA’s Apprenticeship Program in 2006 Marcelo taught Isis Raele, his step-daughter, the art of capoeira. Capoeira is the only indigenous martial art of the Americas and was developed by enslaved Africans in Brazil. Mestre Pereira started playing capoeira on the streets of São Paulo, Brazil, as a child and…
Joti Singh studied Guinean dance with master artist Alseny Soumah as part of ACTA’s Apprenticeship Program in 2007. Soumah’s family taught him to dance when he was a small child in Conakry, Guinea, and he performed with a neighborhood group before dancing professionally with Ballets Merveilles and Les…
Cheza Nami is Swahili for “come play with me”. The non-profit, located in Contra Costa County, was the motivation of founder Catherine Ndungu-Case, a Kenyan-American scientist, who wanted to make sure her young twins had positive cultural experiences. The non-profit enhances social issues by promoting cultural diversity…
The William Grant Still Arts Center in Los Angeles has presented since 1980 an original exhibit of Black Dolls created by artists, collectors and the local community. The exhibit had auspicious beginnings and was a joint effort begun by Friends of the WGS Arts Center, under…
The West African Dunun and Djembe drumming tradition is an old performance art form of the Susu and Mandinka peoples of the region. Versions of these forms can be found throughout West African nations such as Mali, Guinea, Senegal, Gambia, and the Ivory Coast. Dunun, Sangbani, and the Kinkini are…
The California East Bay has become a host for many incredible West African artists and cultural expressions. Drumming and dance Senegal and Guinea, for example, have captured the heart of many communities in this region. There are a variety of musical expressions, forms, and instruments that have been transplanted from…
Bay Area Youth Arts is a nonprofit program with a mission to help at-risk, inner-city youth develop discipline and self-confidence necessary to lead positive and productive lives.  Offering African and jazz percussion, as well as classical and jazz violin, students learn listening and learning skills that…
Ziya, Inc. is an independent, nonprofit, multicultural arts center based in Berkeley, California.  Ziya’s mission is to promote the study, understanding, and preservation of the traditional arts and cultures of the SAMENA (South Asia to Middle East and North Africa) region and their diasporas in the…