Dolls & Drums - Music, Dance and Play

18.09.2010 - 29.09.2010


Arcola Theatre Cafe
23-27 Arcola Street
Dalston, London E8 2DJ


Ima-Abasi Okon

The master craftsman of the Calabash Finger Puppets, Benin

The master bench drum makers of the Charles Town Maroons, Jamaica

The craftsmen and –women of the Doll Rattles, Jamaica


Dolls & Drums - Music, Dance and Play

Music, dance and play are deeply imbued in every man, woman and child and are aspects of daily life, which have literally become ‘proverbial’ when describing cultural identities and heritage of African and African-Caribbean communities all over the world.

Education to appreciate rhythm, sound and co-ordination of movement starts from the moment a child is born and carried on his mother’s back until it is strong and secure enough to stand and walk on its own. It thus participates in all her body movements during her daily physical activities be these work or pleasure and in the sounds of the community during social gatherings and festivities.

Movement of body and sound and rhythm of heart beat are therefore a naturally acquired experience, which needs not to be taught or learnt, but which manifests itself in an instinctive ‘physical’ knowledge when beating the drums or moving one’s feet and bodies to the rhythms of life.

And whatever indigenous identities life in the diaspora – either forced or voluntary – have been forgotten or destroyed – the knowledge of body movement and rhythm is so indelibly imprinted on their genes that African music and dance have conquered the world wherever their bearers were sent or went.

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