Thursday, October 13, 2011

JPAS, On Line Journal

JPAS, On Line Journal
Submitted by Doris Green - October 13, 2011

JPAS (Journal of Pan African Studies) is an online publication that brings together scholars, educators and others who work within this area of concentration. JPAS began in 1987. Volume 4 number 6 is a special issue on African dance. My article is entitled “The Saga of African Dance and Black Studies Departments.”

The article traces African dance from the 'hub' of cities with large Black populations, namely New York City, to the continent of Africa where I studied in the bush, Art Centers and campuses of Universities of Africa. It reveals how I, always mesmerized by rhythm wrote my first drum sounds, when I was a teenager in high school, after a remark from a stenography teacher who said 'any sound could be written with the Pitman shorthand system'. I pondered the statement and questioned if any sound could be written, why not write drum sounds. With that I picked up my pencil and wrote  my first drum sounds.

The article explores how I aligned my system with Labanotation in an integrated score. It also points  out the dire need for a comprehensive textbook on African music and dance as any course in academia  that is not supported by a definitive textbook is not consider a viable course. As far as academia is concerned African music and dance is too young and disorganized to be viable courses. These courses  may be 42 years old in the U.S., and diaspora, but in Africa they are centuries old. Hopefully my textbook GREENOTATION: MANUSCRIPTS OF AFRICAN MUSIC AND DANCE will soon be published so African music and dance can take its rightful place in academia. 

I have had the pleasure of working with a number of the legends of Africa from the post-colonial cultural era. These people were the founding members of African music and dance as we know  and perform it today.It was not easy introducing my work to Africans because I am female and many felt that females should dance and not drum. But African dance is always accompanied by music. It is the music that controls the dance. If one does not understand the music, it makes it difficult to dance on time and interpret what the musicians indicate. When I did break through, they were astonished indicating that my work was what Africans had been seeking for decades. 

My autobiography No Longer an Oral Tradition: My Journey Through Percussion Notation was published in 2010. It tells the history of my voyage from Brooklyn to Africa, but my textbook defines and gives structure to the oral traditions of African music and dance, from Tanzania to Senegal  that is unparalleled.

My work essentially gives African music the scientific basis if formerly lacked and provides perpetuity to the field. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Article about Ray Cook

Article about Ray Cook
Submitted by Charlotte Wile - October 4, 2011

Here is an interesting article about Ray Cook: 

"The Language of Dance, Examined", by Dana Gavin (Hudson Valley News, December 22-28, 2010, pp10-11.)

The article includes terrific photos of Laban and Labanotation.

Unfortunately, the link above is a little hard to navigate and view, at least on my computer. You need to go to the site, then click on the picture of the newspaper, then click on the thumbnail at the bottom for pages 10-11. To enlarge the view see the icons at the top of the page.