‘African Body Soul and Movement’ at Kaneko
August 11th, 2017
Omaha, NE—This Friday, the Kaneko will host African Body, Soul and Movement, a Soul MVMNT Production written by Edem K. Garro. Garro, who often performs under the name Edem Soul Music, is a vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, motivational speaker, and fellow at the Union for Contemporary Arts. Raised in a Ghanaian family, Garro draws influence from Ghanaian rhythm and culture, and her diverse background and experience with the violin, the djembe, an African drum, ukulele, guitar, piano and harp have come together to form what she calls Soul Music.
“When you ask the average person what they consider a soul music, you know they’ll bring out bands like Earth Wind and Fire, The Temptations, they’ve got that soul and it’s like yeah, they do,” Garro said. “However, the soul is not limited to just one genre. You can find soul all across the board, and so the combination of all the instruments that I play and influences in my sound I consider myself as soul music. I play for my soul. There’s no other way to describe what it is that I do sometimes. You may hear a song that is more along the lines of what you would consider American folk, and sometimes it be more along the lines of traditional African, Ghanaian rhythms. Sometimes I’ve been even known to go into a little bit of Brazilian influences, so it’s all around the world all around the country, R&B, neo soul, jazz, and I find that if I’m playing for my soul, that is the one way to sum it all up—soul music.”
Garro will explore both the stylistic roots of music from Africa and how the style has transformed, and also her own identity, musical and otherwise.
“What we can expect definitely some traditional African rhythms but a little bit of a modern spin on the human voice and so the audience member will be able to see the difference what is more traditional versus what is more modern but they’ll be able to connect the two pieces together.”
To Garro, sound is often overlooked when thinking about major forces in everyday life, and this performance welcomes that influence.
“The whole show is surrounded around how sound affects our reality. In our conscious minds, we deem sound as the most passive participants in our life, but sound is actually one of the most active participants, and starting from the womb. I often ask people what is the first on that they think that they heard, and I get such beautiful answers from somehow they remember being by a lake and hearing the rushing of the water, they remember being in a barber chair and getting their hair clipped, they remember various things—their mother’s voice, mother’s piano, father’s guitar, but I coached them to go a little bit further than that to when they might have heard their first sound. Other than their own heartbeat, the first sound that they were surrounded by was the heartbeat of their mother in the womb, and that was a sound that shaped our reality for the whole nine months that we were in there, and so seeing how something that simple as a thud-thud, that is that how that constant rhythm and essence is shaping our whole entire reality.”
Keeping Kaneko’s Kinetic exhibition in mind, Garro will be accompanied by dancers. Some of their movement is choreographed, but some will be improvisational in response to the music.
“I really wanted there to be some form of expressive freedom with my dancers. I wanted them to know that they were not stuck to some static kind of choreography. If they felt something that they really just wanted to improv, I believe that there’s a certain spirit, a certain element there that you will not find with choreography, and so we did come together. There are some parts that are definitely choreographed, but there are also some elements that are improve, and that is also the beauty of sound.”
African Body, Soul, and Movement will show at the Kaneko this Friday, August 11 at 7:00pm. Early attendants can traditional home cooked Ghanaian food with vegan options available. For more information or tickets, visit theKaneko.org.