March 13, 2021 marked a watershed moment for global connection as internationally acclaimed virtuoso balafón musician Fodé Lassana Diabaté prémièred Bala — a unique CD recorded at The Centre for Sound Communities, Cape Breton University — in a virtual concert from Mali, West Africa. The Grammy-nominated musician/composer/culture-bearer and descendant of a griot family of balafón masters in Guinea has made several visits to Cape Breton, collaborating with CSC Director Dr. Marcia Ostashewski to present a program of ANSA-funded performances and workshops through ‘Songs and Stories in Celebration of the International Decade of People of African Descent.’

The recording of Bala at the CSC symbolizes an important shift in Canadian music production, representing an important bridge between two continents with so much of their history intertwined. The first African settlers in Nova Scotia can be traced to the 1700s, over time forming communities that today contribute to the cultural diversity of an area that is an ocean away from their antecedents. Lassana first came to Cape Breton in 2014 as part of a project connecting local residents with global scholars and performers; his return visits solidify the link between countries and cultural heritage and represent optimism and appreciation across a geographic divide somehow made narrower by similarities and shared experience.

Inviting widespread participation, Bala is part of a larger project focusing on Black and Indigenous lives and musics to develop a new model for global music education during the pandemic; it is funded through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Partnership Engage COVID-19 Special Initiative which will soon include a pilot project with Whitney Pier Boys and Girls Club, to be expanded across Nova Scotia. Partnerships with African Nova Scotian and Mi’kmaq community leaders, libraries and organizations are paving the way for upcoming lectures, workshops and instructional materials.

Details:

• Find out more about Bala and Lassana Diabaté, culture-bearer and founder of Association Foli-Lakana fostering the vitality of local musics, youth and communities in Mali — https://balafondiabate.ca

• Follow CSC posts (Sound Communities) on social media:  Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or e-mail The Centre for Sound Communities at sound_communities@cbu.ca

 

In the 2019 Indigenous theatre research-creation project, Kun’tewiktuk, facilitated in partnership with The Centre for Sound Communities, Membertou First Nation collaborative researchers investigated personal experiences, histories and legacies of migration and encounter in Cape Breton through a theatrical production and film presentation. Subsequent publications in 2020 further explored the significance of the 1916 forced relocation of the Mi’kmaq and its historic and personal consequences on the Membertou First Nation community.

“[What Kun’tewiktuk] meant to the community is that … we were able to open a door into history and to show the people … how it was back in the early 1900s … It was a very significant and traumatic time,” — Graham Marshall, Councillor, Membertou First Nation, Traditional Knowledge-holder, Kun’tewiktuk Project

“We’re carrying this pride in ourselves that we learned this together, and that we worked on this project together and that we successfully brought it to fruition. [We] had a very emotional and a very powerful story to tell, and when that story was told, the elders embraced the youth and they said, ‘That was incredible; that was very good and that was very strong.’ That’s the spirit of our people, that’s the spirit of Membertou, that’s the spirit of Kun’tewiktuk.” — Clifford Paul, Traditional Knowledge-holder, Membertou First Nation Researcher & Consultant, Kun’tewiktuk Project

In this film, Membertou First Nation collaborative researchers speak about their participation in the Kun’tewiktuk Project:

REFER TO:

Ostashewski, Marcia, and Shaylene Johnson. 2020. “Relocation, Research and Reconciliation in Unama’ki.” In My Body Was Left on the Street: Music Education and Displacement, edited by Kính T. Vu and André de Quadros, 267–280. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Ostashewski, Marcia, and Clifford Paul, Graham Marshall, Shaylene Johnson. 2020. “Fostering Reconciliation Collaborative Research in Unama’ki: Engaging Communities through Indigenous Methodologies and Research-Creation”. Yearbook for Traditional Music 52: 23-40.

Digital Humanities Workshop

May 1 -2

Experts from ACENET and the CBU Library are leading this free, two day event. Nutrition breaks and lunches are provided. The following topics will be offered:

Is Advanced Computing for Me?

Research Data Management

and Cloud Powering Digital Humanities Research

Please email sound_communities@cbu.ca for more information.

To register, see information below and click on the poster to activate pdf with hyperlinks:

Digital Humanities Workshop

May 1 -2

Experts from ACENET and the CBU Library are leading this free, two day event. Nutrition breaks and lunches are provided. The following topics will be offered:

Is Advanced Computing for Me?

Research Data Management

Cloud Powering Digital Humanities Research

Please email sound_communities@cbu.ca for more information.

To register, see information below and click on the poster to activate pdf with hyperlinks:

 

Project Information

Songwriting Workshops: For Youth ages 12 to 18, there are three in-community workshops where youth will be working with singers and artist facilitators to co-create a music piece about immigration and encounter. There will also be mentors (Stewart MacNeil, Bryan Cherwick, and Robert Deveaux) at each of the locations giving information and telling stories of their experience or families experience with immigration to Canada and Cape Breton. For more information please call (902)563-1696. The deadline for registration is June 15th.

Project Information

Songwriting Workshops: For Youth ages 12 to 18, there are three in-community workshops where youth will be working with singers and artist facilitators to co-create a music piece about immigration and encounter. There will also be mentors (Stewart MacNeil, Bryan Cherwick, and Robert Deveaux) at each of the locations giving information and telling stories of their experience or families experience with immigration to Canada and Cape Breton. For more information please call (902)563-1696. The deadline for registration is June 15th.

More Updates Coming Soon

Project Information

Songwriting Workshops: For Youth ages 12 to 18, there are three in-community workshops where youth will be working with singers and artist facilitators to co-create a music piece about immigration and encounter. There will also be mentors (Stewart MacNeil, Bryan Cherwick, and Robert Deveaux) at each of the locations giving information and telling stories of their experience or families experience with immigration to Canada and Cape Breton. For more information please call (902)563-1696. The deadline for registration is June 15th.