Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Music · Tribal Rock
. . . .

Tribal Rock

Robert Downes - July 21st, 2008
Africa moves a little closer to Northern Michigan this month in a musical event that will unite performers drawn from thousands of miles apart.
Dominic Akena, the national xylophone champion of Uganda, whose story was told in the documentary film, War Dance, will perform with his friend John Okello and the afro-pop band Aphrodesia in a high-powered, horn-driven, foot-stomping, singing & dancing concert that is likely to be the high point of the teenagers’ month-long visit to America.
Those who saw War Dance at last year’s Traverse City Film Festival are familiar with Dominic’s story: the film was made in the aftermath of Uganda’s 20-year civil war in which more than 30,000 children were abducted to fight in a rebel army. The Academy Award-nominated film focused on the struggle of refugee Dominic and his friends Rose and Nancy to compete in Uganda’s national music and dance festival as representatives of their school in the Patongo Internally Displaced Persons camp.
Kim Gribi, who heads-up the human resources department at the Traverse City Record-Eagle, was so moved by the film that she staged a number of fundraisers last year to bring Dominic and his friend John to the States.
“Kim contacted Sean Fine, the director of the film, and asked if there was something she could do to help the children,” says Joey Callahan, who is organizing the upcoming concerts. “Sean said that she was the first person who had contacted them. It says a lot about her generosity and that of the people of Traverse City, because this film was shown all over Europe and in New York and L.A., and Kim was the only person who came forward to help.”

Last winter, Gribi hosted a number of fundraising screenings of War Dance at the Bay Theatre in Suttons Bay, the Elk Rapids Cinema, and at local schools to raise funds to bring the musicians of Uganda to Northern Michigan. A generous donation also came from a private donor. She was able to raise enough funds to bring Dominic and John here, with the assistance of the African Medical Research Foundation.
Over the past few weeks, Dominic and John have been living with a number of families in the region, playing soccer, tennis, fishing, and visiting Mackinac Island. “We just love them -- they’re so sweet. I wish they could stay forever,” Gribi says.
The teens are also sharing their musical knowledge and learning marimba and Western styles of drumming from music instructor Dave Warne at Sun Radius Music, located at Logan’s Landing at the south end of Lake Boardman. The music center is filled with drums and exotic instruments from around the world.
“It’s really beautiful what’s happening here,” Callahan says. “When Dominic got here, he walked in and saw all the instruments and said: ‘I want to learn to play everything!’ and gave me a big hug.”

Callahan, a veteran of the recording, web design and rock music industries, has a special interest in worldbeat and African music. In recent weeks, he’s been recording live concerts at his Radius Recording center for local bands, including Soul Patch, Rootstand and Graveyard Tan.
“I thought it would be great to put on a concert that Dominic could play in, and saw on the Internet that Aphrodesia were playing a Taste of Kalamazoo and would be close enough to come to Traverse City,” Callahan says.
Aphrodesia is a 12-piece dance band from San Francisco which has been getting high-fives from the music press across the country for their blend of afro-pop, funk, dub, Zimbabwean trance, hip-hop and worldbeat. They put on a high-energy show and have opened for Steel Pulse and the String Cheese Incident in addition to performing at many festivals. In 2006, they traveled to Lagos, Nigeria to perform at the country’s legendary Shrine nightclub. They also did a cross-country voter registration tour in 2004 in a bus powered by vegetable oil diesel.
“I was worried about being able to cover the charges of a 12-piece band, but then I realized that the Dunegrass was happening at the same time that Dominic was going to be here,” Callahan recalls. Working together with the Dunegrass, we were able to bring the band to Northern Michigan.”
Dominic and John perform with Aphrodesia on Thursday, July 31 at 9:30 p.m. at Radius Recording, the pyramid-shaped building at Logan’s Landing in TC, 2074 S. Airport Road. The suggested donation is $10 for the concert. Aphrodesia will also host a dance and drum workshop at 10 a.m. that day with a donation of $20. The band performs at the Dunegrass Festival on Friday, Aug. 1. For details, contact Radius Recording at 231-354-7453, or see www.radiusrecording.com

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5