Ordway Extra: Spirit Strong
Jenea Rewertz-Targui, Ordway 10/5/19
Nobuntu audiences arrived early to listen to artists from Voice of Culture, a collective of Black artists dedicated to the study of African diasporic arts and culture led by Artistic Director Kenna Cottman. This appearance also featured vocalists Jayanthi Kyle, Mankwe Ndosi, and Queen Drea and dancers Roxane Wallace and Aneka McMullen during a pre-show event facilitated by Leah Nelson, a Zimbabwean dancer, choreographer, actor, producer, and director with a passion for organizing for social change through the arts.
In this video, a recap of the evening’s pre-show can be viewed.
View photos of this event in an online gallery>
Videography and photography by Sherine Onukwuwe, SoulEyes Films
Select Performer Bios
Leah Nelson, a Zimbabwean dancer, choreographer, actor, producer, and director with a passion for organizing for social change through the arts. A graduate from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Nelson performs and teaches nationally and internationally, as well as creating customized entertainment for major clients. Her most recent adventure in art and choreography is for The Bluest Eye, a Guthrie Theater production. Read Leah’s guest blog post “Spirit Strong”>
Jayanthi Kyle is an archivist songstress collecting songs that speak to her struggle and empowerment and ability to be, change, and move forward while honoring the unremembered changers and movers of yore. She sings for people passing worlds (new or old or hardly used – meaning births and children, hospice and funerals) and is in eight bands, and has the heart of a mother.
Mankwe Ndosi is a Vocalist, Songmaker, Improviser and Cultural Worker who collaborates with musicians, dancers, MC’s and artists of all kinds. She moves in all musical worlds chiefly weaving Creative improvisation through the worlds of hip hop, blues, afro soul, and world/root musics. She works with people of all ages in exploring their creative voice and in valuing and unearthing their own songs and stories.
Queen Drea Voice-Loops N Effects creates conceptual soundscapes. By applying a poetic and often metaphorical language to her lyrics and compositions, she tries to approach a wide scale of subjects in a multi-layered way and likes to involve the audience in conversation as they accompany her on her musical journey. Her performances directly respond to the surrounding environment and uses everyday experiences from the artist as a starting point. Often these are framed instances that would go unnoticed in their original context. With a conceptual approach, her work references love, pain, the feeling of not being “enough as a form of resistance against the “Normalcy” box people want to put her in.