Come celebrate the spirit of Thanksgiving with the Free Range Folk Choir on Monday Nov. 21st, 7pm at the VHS Theater.
“I am that I am, I am beauty, I am peace, I am joy, I am one with Mother Earth. I am one with everyone within the reach of my voice. In this togetherness, we ask the divine intelligence to eradicate all negatives from our hearts, from our minds and from our actions. And so be it....Ashe.” - Babatunde Olatunji
On November 21st, the Free Range Folk Choir will premier a new choral work, arranged by Shane Jewell, based on Olatunji’s Uhuru. This song will feature the voices of the 70-member Free Range Folk Choir and the percussion of Gordy Ryan, a long-time member of Olatunji’s band, Drums of Passion. The song’s title, Uhuru, translates as “Freedom to the World Now”, and epitomizes Olatunji’s world view.
“While his Nigerian homeland fell into the hands of bullies and thieves, [Olatunji] toured the world and spread love and forgiveness, with song, wild bell rhythms, and cracking sticks on the way-way-off beat that sent shivers through a thousand spines and probably through the forests and cities themselves.
“He played for presidents and kings, figured into Bob Dylan lyrics, and his spirit still resonates in the children, who danced in the corners of his workshops and then grew up to fulfill their own dreams of being a real drummer. He was a vision of Mahatma Gandhi and Miles Davis in the body of a giant.
“I still recall that voice that could split the molecules of the air and open some great emptiness that held all our failures and our greatest moments in a wisp of breeze or a crescendo of pure energy.
“Rhythm is the soul of life,” Baba often said. “The whole universe revolves in rhythm. Everything and every human action revolves in rhythm.” Once, when I felt disappointed by the actions of others, Baba told me, “Everyone’s heart is good. Give up your point of view, and you find your heart.”
-Rex Weyler, Hollyhock co-founder, author and journalist
During his life, Olatunji toured the American south with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr and joined King in the march on Washington. When he performed before the United Nations General Assembly, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev took off his shoes and danced.
Join us Monday, November 21st, 7pm in the VHS Theater for an evening of song featuring the intricate rhythms of drummer Gordy Ryan and vocal harmonies of Africa, America, and Europe. This is a family-friendly show, so bring everyone for the audience sing-along. Sweet Honey in the Rock’s “Breaths” and freedom songs of South Africa will round out the evening.
Suggested donation $5 - $10 (No one turned away for lack of funds.