Kùlú Mèlé African Dance and Drum Ensemble performing Yemaya, 2014. Photo by Jaci Downs.
Lela Aisha Jones, Plight Release in the Diasporic Body: Jesus and Egun, 2016. Photo by Scott Shaw.
Alex Shaw, musicians, and dancers performing The Mandinga Experiment, 2016. Photo by Aidan Un.
Arthur Hall as Obatala. Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Folklore Project.
Egungun procession, 2014. Photographer: Toni Shapiro-Phim.
Intercultural Journeys’ Modupúe | Ibaye: The Philadelphia Yoruba Performance Project will join community historians, artists, and spiritual and cultural practitioners in an exploration of the history and contemporary expressions of Yoruba-rooted practices and their role in shaping Philadelphia’s social and cultural landscape. Yoruba is a language, culture, spiritual practice, and artistic philosophy, with origins in Nigeria and Benin and a performance practice that includes dance, song, drumming, and storytelling. Intercultural Journeys will collaborate with the Village of Arts and Humanities, which will serve as a laboratory site for the discovery and archiving process and will help identify participants from its North Philadelphia neighborhood for a series of story circles and artist-led workshops. Select participants will also engage with visiting artists, including theater artist Omi Osun Joni L. Jones and movement artist Barak adé Soleil, during week-long residencies that will inform the vision and design of culminating events, which may take the form of processionals, storytelling events, or Yoruba song and drum circles.