Monday, March 26, 2007


Tonight my Afroculture dance classes will celebrate the end of the winter session and the beginning of spring. What a lovely day at 18 degrees. Off with the coats, bring on the big smiles, robust laughter and the sound of cheerful greetings along the corridors and stair well of the GYMC. Two classes will meet to celebrate rhythm, body and movement while the awesome drummers of Jiwani sweat and play. I wish you were coming. Since you're not, I will tell you all about it after tonight.


Friday, March 23, 2007

Seeds in the Ground

A full day of workshops at June Avenue P.S yesterday was very satisfactory. Fule and Kathleen made up the rest of the team. It took a bit of planning between the principal, Maureen and I but it was well delivered and I do believe the students were inspired to a new love of storytelling which should also impact their creative writing. There was dance and hand-drumming too and a spirit of celebration to welcome the Spring. Spring is here at last. I particularly enjoyed the teachers' workshop and felt the strength of community so tangibly. I think I should offer more workshops to teachers as a group. Perhaps I should follow up on how the teachers use storytelling in the classroom after this workshop.

Today, I went out without a leather jacket and tonight will only drop as low as 1 degree. Yippee!Jiwani practiced our two dances for the United for Africa show on March 29th. Jiwani is looking sizzling hot and I couldn't be more pleased. We'll pick up stronger on the singing in April. The season has changed and if you haven't got seeds in the ground, then hurry up! Those who have ears, let them hear!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Dreams and Manuscripts

Yes, I've been working on two manuscripts. They are not your usual manuscripts, these I think I may self-publish. I have this desire for a small publishing outfit and then I think....too much to do in too little time. What shall I do?
I've been writing on my favorite themes of storytelling and African History, looking to develop material to support my presentations. The year is moving on swiftly and there is much to do.
My mind wanders, yet I return to my writing and little by little the job gets done. Today I received an email to join in a community conversation on the theme Greater Guelph. What do you know? I was already thinking of something to engage Guelph, something as fascinating as The Guelph Festival of African Arts. I was thinking of this as we travelled between Guelph and places beyond Stratford and Clinton, Ontario. Fule was driving and we were listening to Habib Koite's soothing kora music undergirded subtly by a bass guitar rhythm. I dreamed.
I am still working on two manuscripts, waiting to hear about three other manuscripts out there with publishers. I am working on a proposal and planning performances and a trip to Ghana. I am avoiding my email because my mind has turned introspective. It was a good day. Much was done in dreams wherein I visualized great endings in technicolour.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Like Chocolate

How do we relate to media? How do I relate to media? In September 2006, the beautiful collection of photographs and ruminations of writers, "Reading Writers Reading", by Danielle Scahub brought my likeness to print. Then "My Wedding Dress," edited by Susan Whelehan and Anne Carter brought my memoir and likeness once more on to the printed page. Then there I was for brief seconds on CP24, at the launch of "My Wedding Dress , in resplendent bubu, perhaps something I would have dressed in if I was now going to be married. Then I had this invitation to be interviewed by Shelagh Rogers on CBC, 'Sounds Like Canada', a request which failed twice due to traffic, weather and travel. Recently I was once again in the Guelph Mercury, this time on the front page at the revealing of the nominations for the Woman of Distinction Award YMCA/YWCA Guelph. My thought is: Occassional press is to be enjoyed like chocolate. So I have enjoyed it and say thanks to God for uplifting my work in the public view.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Spirit Alive

Today I began to choreograph Spirit Alive for the Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival working with a Lamban theme and other influences. Kwame and I have already had one meeting on the original music he is writing for me and I composed some chants as well today. I worked with Mary who dances with Jiwani. It' s great to work with Mary.
Jenny Crober and her family dropped in from Elora and I worked with her on Dr. E. Amu's composition of 1928, "Onipa da wo ho so," literally "Man rest on your self", translated "Man discipline yourself" or perhaps, "Be still". I helped her with translation and pronunciation. Twi which the Akans speak is a tonal language.
Dr Ephraim Amu was my godfather and a unique man if there ever was one. He was a man of simplicity and yet not simple; a man of humility, discipline and strength of character and altogether purposeful, who lived his life with utter conviction. His music continues to inspire Ghanaians to higher living. Today brought back memories of his voice, his conversations and his uprightness. I remembered how much he loved fried yam and pepper dip. I also remembered his unofficial national anthem, "Yen ara Asase ni," played at the close of TV broadcasting each day in Ghana!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Finding a New Direction

I am looking for a new direction for my blog, hoping I will find something which will keep me motivated to write and you waiting to read what I have to offer next. This week has been exciting. Tuesday 6th March was the 50th anniversary of Ghana's Independence. All eyes on Ghana ,with reporters from old colonial master-country, writing about the excitement and exuberance of Ghanaians while citizens continue to drink dirty water. As if we were not exploited and underdeveloped when we were colonoized for 50 years plus. Yes, we know our problems but there is a day to celebrate and hope!
Thursday was the International Day for Women and in Guelph the YWCA hosted its luncheon to announce nominees for the Woman of Distinction Awards in Guelph. What an afternoon of women,(in black mainly), speeches, photographers, good food and optimism. I am nominated for the category arts and culture alongside dance artists Janet Johnson and Catrina von Radecki and other accomplished women. Well wishes to women in general and congratulations to all the Women of Distinction. The week was busy with workshops and performances and now I look forward to resting.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Royal on Gordon

After church we rushed to The Royal on Gordon, a plush retirement home on Gordon Street south of Guelph. We spent the afternoon recreating African storytelling, with the seniors who live there. It was a fun afternoon with engaging seniors who sang story chants with me as I told about Ananse the spider, Ijapa the tortoise and the amazing Talking Tree of the Sahel. One gentleman was born in Angola and later spent years in Kano Nigeria. One lady greeted me in Hausa which she learned in Jos. Never underestimate people, so many are so well travelled and knowledgeable. Black History month is straddling March which is a good thing because we wish for more sunshine to hurry the spring in.