On April 15, the Music Department, Office of Interdisciplinary Studies, African Studies Program and Office of Multicultural Affairs organized an African Dance party in Old Chapel.
Students had the special opportunity to experience the expressive music and culture of Africa by listening to the band, The Mandingo Ambassadors.
The band sported an eclectic assortment of clothing; some were wearing “traditional” costumes while others were dressed in Western clothing. Although they might have lacked fluidity with the attire, the enthusiasm and passion they had for the music was consistent among all members of the group.
One person played a drum set while another hit bongo-type drums with his hands. Three other men alternated between playing trumpets and saxophones with a pan flute and a clarinet, while three other band members strummed electric guitars, including the lead of the band and his son. The lead’s wife was the singer. She danced for the whole show, encouraging others to dance as well.
Some songs lasted as long as twenty minutes, so players took turns soloing throughout the performance.
Initially people were sitting composed in their seats, listening contently to the beauty of the music.
As the night went on and people felt the music more, they left their seats and started dancing. Everyone in the room felt the rhythm collectively, feeling a certain connection not only with each other, but also with the band.
Although students are offered a range of events to attend weekly, this particular event allowed the campus community to experience something entirely different.
The compelling and distinctive music brought by The Mandingo Ambassadors offered the campus community an authentic taste of African culture by urging them to relax and let go of their stresses as they move to these melodic tunes.