Parkes had a taste of Africa last Friday when two different groups came to town to showcase their culture through music and dance to students and the community. A school choir from Uganda is travelling for nine weeks in Australia to raise funds to build five classrooms at their school in Mityana.
Trishelle Sayuuni, who grew up in Dubbo, moved to Uganda where she founded the charity 100% HOPE which promotes the spiritual, economic, physical and emotional development of orphaned and underprivileged children. “We need $100,000 to build the extra classrooms for Grade 1 to 4, and have raised $70,000 so far on our tour,” Thrishelle, who is accompanying the choir on their tour, said.
The choir performed at Middleton Public School and the AOG Church with a program of traditional songs, as well as Ugandan hip-hop and rap. Middleton students had the opportunity to join in the dancing and drumming, while older choir members’ break dancing stunts had the students in awe.
Trishelle said it was the first time for the Ugandan students to leave their country, fly in an airplane and go to the beach. “They just love it here!” she said. Meanwhile at Parkes Public School Musica Viva brought Senegalese music to the students with the group Teranga, which means hospitality in the native Wolof language. Frontman Pape M’Baye, a Senegalese Griot, poet, musician, and storyteller, took students on an exploration journey into the excitement of West African music. Jean Gomes, Samuel Golding and Blair Greenberg joined him.
Teranga dazzled students with the sounds of the fula flute, balafon, and Pape’s special ‘mobile phone’, the tama talking drum. The show ended with students joining in on the school’s set of jemba drums with the audience clapping to the infectious West African rhythms.