D Kevin McNeirLifestyle

Step Afrika! Debuts ‘Drumfolk’ at the Strathmore Jan. 12

Newly Commissioned Work Showcased on National Tour

Step Afrika! continues the celebration of its 25th anniversary into 2020 with a special performance at the Music Center at Strathmore, Sunday, Jan. 12 during which the internationally-acclaimed “step-masters” will share an excerpt from their newly commissioned work, “Drumfolk.”

The concert, “Step Xplosion,” features Step Afrika! who headline a showcase of both the region’s finest step squads and a portion of their new work, “Drumfolk,” commissioned by Strathmore. The performance begins at 5 p.m.

The piece, which is based on historical events that took place during the 1700s in the Deep South, debuts in selected arts centers and college campuses from January through November 2020. The tour also features the company’s highly anticipated return to New York City’s beloved Theater District and summer performances in venues across the Washington, D.C. area, Step Afrika!’s home base.

“Drumfolk is the second work by Step Afrika! that celebrates and chronicles the African-American experience in America,” said C. Brian Williams, founder and executive director. “This new production is grounded in extensive research and over 25 years of Step Afrika!’s percussive practice and investigation into the tradition of stepping. We’re thrilled to be sharing it with our audiences.”

“Drumfolk” takes audiences on a journey from the 17th century, when the African drum found itself in the then-colony of South Carolina, to present-day America, where the instrument has shaped new art forms like hip-hop and African-American social dance. Highlights include: Step Afrika!’s first presentation of dance and drumming traditions from Angola; an exploration of the ring shout, which is a more than 200-year-old African American dance rarely seen on our country’s stages; and a contemporary routine of stepping and vocal percussion to demonstrate the drum’s influence on other mediums.

Look for our review of the performance and an exclusive interview with Step Afrika! Founder and Executive Director C. Brian Williams on Monday, Jan. 13.

For more information and tickets, go to www.strathmore.org or www.stepafrika.org.

D. Kevin McNeir – Senior Editor

Dominic Kevin McNeir is an award-winning journalist with more than 25 years of service for the Black Press (NNPA). Prior to moving East to assist his aging parents, the native Detroiter engineered a transformation of The Miami Times resulting in its being named the NNPA’s “Publication of the Year” in 2011 – just one of several dozen industry-related awards he’s earned in his career. He currently serves as senior editor for The Washington Informer. There, in the heart of the U.S. Capitol, he displays a keen insight for developing front-page news as it unfolds within the greater Washington area, capturing the crucial facts and facets of today’s intriguing, political arena. He has degrees from The University of Michigan, Emory University and Princeton Theological Seminary. In 2020, he received First Place for Weekly Newspaper, Commentary & Criticism, Society of Professional Journalists, Washington, D.C. Pro Chapter. Learn more about him at www.dkevinmcneir.com, Facebook – Kevin McNeir, Twitter - @mcneirdk, Linkedin – D. Kevin McNeir or email: mcneirdk@washingtoninformer.com.

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