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Lyons, Baba

 

Phone:        754-245-2547
Email:         royl@wiffonline.org  

Services Available:  Performance, Series or Residency

 

Description of Services

Storytelling Performance
This one hour storytelling performance is an interactive experience for children 6 years of age through adults. The program includes African stories, singing, dancing and music. The performance opens with an African Drumming presentation, followed with an anthology of the African drum, including: a history of the rhythms, origins of the language and the people. Baba relates the drum back to the original storytellers (Griots) of West Africa. Based on African proverbs, Baba’s stories bring a positive message to his audience (e.g. two ears and one mouth = one should listen twice more than one speaks, or, “The wind that blows down the oak tree can merely blend a blade of grass” = never let your emotions be your master). Baba’s stories were relayed to him by his grandmother, an established storyteller in her community. Baba concludes the hour long presentation with a West African dance, a call and response type singing of East, West African and South African Songs with the audience. Audience volunteers are invited to participate in the dance and play the percussion instruments. Baba is often assisted by his eleven year old son who sings, drums and demonstrates West African dance.

The one hour performance incorporates storytelling, drumming, dancing and singing – each has its own goals:

Drumming: The goals of drumming are to emphasize the correlation between African rhythms, mathematical logic, space relations, counting, subtraction, multiplication and division.

Dance: The goal is to empower the participants to work together as a team. The dance requires cooperation and cohesiveness from each member. The goal is to encourage participants to facilitate each other to achieve maximum performance.

Storytelling: The goals of the storytelling part of the program are to encourage attentive listening, understanding components of African history and how it relates to African American and American history, understanding life’s lessons through the proverbs using the animal world as the subject matter. Finally, the storytelling provides the thread that weaves all of the lessons learned from the drumming, dance, singing outlined above. Through all of the above, the program empowers, stimulates pride and rejuvenates self esteem.

The storyteller relays the stories, which are memorized, in an animated fashion combining the use of music, and dance and theater to relay history, African rhythms and languages. Giving the audience a window to observe their cultural past and how it relates to life today. Audience members are invited to participate by actually playing the instruments after a brief rhythm demonstration. The dances presented represent various African cultural traditions, ranging from an event, to birth and funeral rites, to the creatures of the animal kingdom. Audience members are invited to participate to dance based on the choreography of the above-noted West and South African traditions. Finally, song is presented with audience participation an in a call and response method.

Many of the audience members are able to grasp, understand and repeat the rhythms after a little instruction. The older students often return to see me years later, complimenting me on how I “turned their life around” and made a positive impact on their daily lives. 

The majority of the audience receive my stories with overwhelming laughter and enthusiasm and eagerly volunteer to participate in the singing, dance and playing of the drums.

Prior to each performance, questions are asked of the audience. After the performance questions are asked again so that we can compare how their opinions have changed based on the information and lessons learned in the stories. Sample questions include:

1) Which animal would you rather be, a turtle or a tiger? (asked before & after the story “Turtle is Tiger’s Master”)

2) What lessons have you learned today?

3) How can you apply these lessons to your daily life?

Finally, I also gauge the efficacy of the performance/lessons by speaking with the organizations liaison. I am often asked to return or referred to another presenting organization, which is another indicator that the instruction/performance was well received.

 

Grade Level:

3-12th

Number of Participants:

6-400

Duration:

1 performance at 1 hour per performance

Audience/Environment:

Yoruba, Zulu, Swahili, Twi, Xosa; Juvenile Justice, at risk, seniors, shelter-based, community-based, school-based, afterschool, summer.

Standards:

LA.A.1.2, LA.A.2.2, LA.B.1.2, LA.B.2.2, LA.C.1.2, LA.C.2.2, LA.C.3.2, LA.D.1.2, LA.D.2.2, LA.E.1.2, LA.E.2.2, LA.A.1.3, LA.A.2.3, LA.B.1.3, LA.B.2.3, LA.C.1.3, LA.C.2.3, LA.C.3.3, LA.D.1.3, LA.D.2.3, LA.E.1.3, LA.E.2.3, LA.A.1.4, LA.A.2.4, LA.B.1.4, LA.B.2.4, LA.C.1.4, LA.C.2.4, LA.C.3.4, LA.D.1.4, LA.D.2.4, LA.E.1.4, LA.E.2.4, SS.A.1.2, SS.A.1.3, SS.A.1.4, DA.A.1.2, DA.A.2.2, DA.B.1.2, DA.C.1.2, DA.D.1.2, DA.E.1.2, DA.E.2.2, DA.A.1.3, DA.A.2.3, DA.B.1.3, DA.C.1.3, DA.D.1.3, DA.E.1.3, DA.E.2.3, DA.A.1.4, DA.A.2.4, DA.B.1.4, DA.C.1.4, DA.D.1.4, DA.E.1.4, DA.E.2.4, MU.A.1.2, MU.A.2.2, MU.A.3.2, MU.B.1.2, MU.B.2.2, MU.D.1.2, MU.D.2.2, MU.E.1.2, MU.A.1.3, MU.A.2.3, MU.B.1.3, MU.C.1.3, MU.D.1.3, MU.D.2.3, MU.E.1.3, MU.E.2.3, MU.A.1.4, MU.A.2.4, MU.B.1.4, MU.C.1.4, MU.D.1.4, MU.D.2.4, MU.E.1.4, MU.E.2.4

Fees:

$400 per performance.

Disciplines:

Dance, Music

Phone:        754-245-2547
Email:
        royl@wiffonline.org  

 

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Youth Empowerment Program 
This eight-week course is designed for children 6 years of age through adults. This program includes both West African drumming and West African Dance.

Drumming: The workshop begins with the examination, construction and assembly of the djembe drum and the mathematical equations necessary to successfully string the drum. The following weeks consist of studying the various sections of the djembe skin as each section produces a different sound. The mechanics employed are posture, positive alignment with the earth, both feet on the ground etc. The methodology of playing the drum including, base, tone, slap are introduced. Students successfully play a selected rhythm in groups.

Dancing and Singing: Throughout this portion of the workshop, two distinct dances are taught: one from South Africa (the boot dance or Toy Toy) and the other from Guinea (Yole – an elaborate dance and song based on 10 steps).

The Toy Toy, used by the Zulu people, is taught as a unifying force to empower the participants to work together as a team. With Yole, the dancers are required to use their listening skills to hear the changes djembe rhythms which relays to the dancer when to change the step(s).

The eight week program includes drumming, dancing and singing.

Drumming:

The goals of this portion of the workshop are to provide the following:

  1. To teach the children the significance and history of the drum, and how it was an integral part of life in Africa and its significance to African Americans who were brought to America and the Western world as slaves.
  2. How the drums (djembe and jun jun) are constructed and assembled and the mathematical equations that are necessary for successful construction.
  3. To examine the various parts of the head of the drum as each section of the head (skin) represents a different sound.
  4. To successfully teach several rhythms to students that they can then present to parents and their community at the end of the program.
  5. To teach how to listen attentively rather than simply hearing.
  6. Specific rhythms are taught.
  7. Various ways of playing the drum are taught using, tone, base, slap.
  8. Playing rhythms repetitively
  9. Playing rhythms & stopping and asking students about what they heard
  10. Ability to comprehend each component of the rhythms taught
  11. Ability to play back rhythms
  12. Ability to play back rhythms without using conscious thought
  13. Aility to interpret the rhythm and use expression
  14. Basic rhythms are taught requiring the student to play polyrhythmic sounds on a cow bell or clava sticks maintaining a consistency of sound and timing using adaptations from 6/8 to 4/4 rhythms.
  15. Ability to identify the parts of the drum and to relay its history
  16. Students are divided into groups. Each group is given one rhythm to master and interpret before receiving a certificate of graduation and excellence from the instructor.

 

Dancing and Singing:

Throughout this workshop two distinct dances are taught: one from South Africa (the boot dance) and the other from Guinea (Yolee – an elaborate dance and song based on 10 steps)

South African Boot Dance:

Th South African Boot Dance (or Toy Toy) originating from the coal mines of South Africa and used by the Zulu people is taught as a unifying force to empower the participants to work together as a team. 

  • Reate how past traditional and historical dances relate to current times
  • Enance memory skills
  • Temwork – this dance requires cohesiveness and cooperation from each member. The goal is to encourage participants to facilitate each other to achieve maximum performance.

The initial dance is repetitive of four steps, single file with each person’s hand on the shoulders of the person in front. It is akin to the stepping dance popular within African American universities.  rogress is achieved as the dancers begin to remember the steps.  When the dancers have the understanding that their individual success is dependant up their working closely together in group cooperation.  When the dancers understand that their feet are also providing the acoustic rhythm

Individual confidence of the dance is enhanced and motivated to want to do more than the Toy Toy provides. Rhythms are successfully performed.

 

Yolee:

The education goal of this dance is to stimulate the memory of each individual to remember each step in numerical order and how it translates itself collectively as well as individually.

  • To relay to the student the history of this dance.
  • The dancers are required to use their listening skills to hear the changes in the accompanying drum’s rhythms which relays to the dancer when to change the step(s).

The instructor uses every day movements to teach the steps (ex. This is like waving goodbye)  Th instructor encourages the faster learners to teach those lagging behind.  Singing in the Mandinka language giving the dancer a deeper understanding of the significance of the dance culturally and historically. Individual solos are encouraged. Groups compete against other groups.

Progress is achieved when the dancers readily recognize the rhythm of the drum associated with each step without consciously thinking. 

The level of enthusiasm, how quickly they recognize the drum rhythmic changes, their ability to perform the dance in its entirety.

Style energy timing solos techniques and willingness to teach others.     

Grade Level:

3-12th

Number of Participants:

6-25

Duration:

8 workshops at 1 hour per workshop over 8 weeks

Audience/Environment:

Yoruba, Zulu, Swahili, Twi, Xosa; Juvenile Justice, at risk, seniors, shelter-based, community-based, school-based, afterschool, summer.

Standards:

LA.A.1.2, LA.A.2.2, LA.B.1.2, LA.B.2.2, LA.C.1.2, LA.C.2.2, LA.C.3.2, LA.D.1.2, LA.D.2.2, LA.E.1.2, LA.E.2.2, LA.A.1.3, LA.A.2.3, LA.B.1.3, LA.B.2.3, LA.C.1.3, LA.C.2.3, LA.C.3.3, LA.D.1.3, LA.D.2.3, LA.E.1.3, LA.E.2.3, LA.A.1.4, LA.A.2.4, LA.B.1.4, LA.B.2.4, LA.C.1.4, LA.C.2.4, LA.C.3.4, LA.D.1.4, LA.D.2.4, LA.E.1.4, LA.E.2.4, SS.A.1.2, SS.A.1.3, SS.A.1.4, DA.A.1.2, DA.A.2.2, DA.B.1.2, DA.C.1.2, DA.D.1.2, DA.E.1.2, DA.E.2.2, DA.A.1.3, DA.A.2.3, DA.B.1.3, DA.C.1.3, DA.D.1.3, DA.E.1.3, DA.E.2.3, DA.A.1.4, DA.A.2.4, DA.B.1.4, DA.C.1.4, DA.D.1.4, DA.E.1.4, DA.E.2.4, MU.A.1.2, MU.A.2.2, MU.A.3.2, MU.B.1.2, MU.B.2.2, MU.D.1.2, MU.D.2.2, MU.E.1.2, MU.A.1.3, MU.A.2.3, MU.B.1.3, MU.C.1.3, MU.D.1.3, MU.D.2.3, MU.E.1.3, MU.E.2.3, MU.A.1.4, MU.A.2.4, MU.B.1.4, MU.C.1.4, MU.D.1.4, MU.D.2.4, MU.E.1.4, MU.E.2.4

Fees:

$550

Disciplines:

Dance, Music

Contact: 

Phone:        754-245-2547
Email:
        royl@wiffonline.org  

 

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