Bantaba gets down to its roots
SF State celebrates Black History Month through the sound of music
March 4, 2006 5:23 PM
The beating of traditional African drums lured SF State students to Jack Adams Hall to celebrate Black History Month.
Over 40 students attended the event on Feb. 28 at noon, which was co-sponsored by the Africana studies department and the Richard Oaks Multicultural Center (ROMC).
The sounds of Bantaba-an African American music group from Oakland - entertained the crowd. Bantaba is a Mandingo word, which means ‘the center where all important events take place,’ according to the group’s founder, Mosheh Milon, Sr. The group consists of seven performers and two dancers wearing traditional African garb shared their knowledge of African culture through music and dance.
“We are here basically here to honor black and African history,” said Abdi Jibril, a Bantaba performer, who played the balaphones, an African keyboard. “We have a lot of history and there is a lot in the music and the tradition in these instruments…” he said.
“The African music, dancers and drums represent our culture and black history month,” said Legohn, a 20-year-old dance junior.
Milon Sr., who formed Bantaba in 1985, said that it was important for them to perform an event at such a diverse university like SF State.
“We understand music and art is heading in a different direction which isn’t all bad,” said Milon, Sr. He added that it is important for university students to see the diversity in music, and not just what is on MTV.
Associate Professor of Africana Studies Shawn Ginwright said that the music performed by Bantaba is a way of remembering the past.
“We always have to give respect to our ancestors and we all come from West Africa and this music is a celebration of tradition, our culture and our history beginning in West Africa,” Ginwright said.
Program Development Officer of The ROMC Aimee Zenzele Barnes said that the event was meant to thank the black community for being a major contributor to SF State. The ROMC is a support program for students or faculty who want to put on multicultural activities
“The black community has been a big part of this university, so what we were trying to do today with the culmination of (the) black history month event is to acknowledge the black community by coming out,” said Barnes.
Even though Black History Month falls on the shortest month of the year, many of the performers, such as Greg Hodge, believe that black history is not only a big part of African culture, but also American culture.
“…Black history should be celebrated 365 days a year,” said Hodge.
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