The beat of African drums welcomed guests to the premiere of Indaba Nights, a free 13-week concert series held at the Indaba Band Shell at St. Ann Center’s Bucyrus Campus, 2450 W. North Ave. The opening performance on June 2nd was sponsored by Parklawn Assembly of God Church, a key supporter of the construction of the 250-capacity band shell which opened in 2019.
Master storyteller and historian Tejumola (Teju) Ologboni kicked off the evening, accompanied by drummer/percussionist Dumah Saafir. Teju began his performance with an infectious drumbeat and chant, “Talkin’ That Drum Talk,” captivating the teens, tots and adults in the audience. His stories come out of an African-American tradition that runs down the backbone of the Mississippi all the way across to West Africa. He absorbed storytelling from his parents in Kansas and his grandparents in Arkansas.
Next, the Nefertari African Dance Company brought the audience to their feet, teaching the fundamentals of traditional dances. The troupe, made up of students from elementary through high school, has performed for 53 years throughout Milwaukee, and has traveled to New York, the White House, Disneyland and on to Ghana, West Africa.
The band shell audience stretched from the covered seating area to the grassy hillside, dotted with lawn chairs and blankets. Food trucks turned the family-friendly event into a picnic for many.
Performances are scheduled for every Wednesday evening, 6:30-8:30 p.m. through August 25th. For the complete summer lineup, visit StAnnCenter.org/Indaba or contact Gloria Miller at 414-210-2428 or firstname.lastname@example.org.