The Charlotte Folk Society celebrates traditional African culture with The Healing Force at our next Gathering. We invite you to join us on Friday, May 8, at 7:30 PM in the former sanctuary of the Great Aunt Stella Center, 926 Elizabeth Avenue, between McDowell Street and Kings Drive. Monthly Gatherings are family-friendly, open to the public, and free. Donations, which support the series in part, are greatly appreciated. A short refreshment break follows the hour-long concert. Afterwards, join a song circle or a jam session slow or fast listeners welcomed. The Charlotte Appalachian Dulcimer Club meets after the concert, as well. Free surface parking is available adjacent to the Stella Center. The arm of the nearby parking deck goes up for the weekend at 8 PM. If you pick up a ticket on the way into the deck, you won't have to pay on the way out, as long as you leave after 8 PM.
"Serving the community through the arts" is the motto of The Healing Force, a family of performers based in Winston-Salem who use music, singing, dance, and storytelling to bring traditional African culture to life for audiences of all ages. The husband-and-wife team of Joseph and Gail Anderson founded The Healing Force in 1975. The Andersons have acted with the Afro-American Folkloric Troupe and studied with the National Black Theater of New York. With their daughter, Sonji Gardner, and son, Karim, they began full-time professional performances in 1990. Their name, The Healing Force, was suggested by a friend to symbolize both the healing quality of art and the power of its presence.
The Healing Force has traveled the country and appeared in venues such as The National Storytelling Festival, the Bay Area Storytelling Festival, and numerous festivals, schools, colleges, churches, museums, family reunions, and community events. Through the years, the Andersons have enhanced their performances with training from cultural masters Mohammed Da Costa of Guinea, Djimo Kouyate of Senegal, and Mamady Kelta of Guinea; through travel to Nigeria and Ghana; and study at the 1997 and 1998 Summer Jembe Institutes.
The Healing Force turns any appearance into a lively, colorful celebration of African culture and spirit with booming drums, rattling gourds (shekeres), and thumb pianos, as they tell tales and sing songs. The use of drums and musical instruments is important to their mission. They say that to share African culture, they must share music and dance, which are woven into everyday life and are an integral part of every important event in Africa. They point out the similarity of African folktales to traditional American folktales. Gail observes, "African folk tales talk about family, adventure, tricksters, love, community loyalty, life's lessons, etc." African arts, history, and family genealogy are traditionally passed on orally from generation to generation. African storytelling is a communal, participatory experience. The Healing Force wants each of their performances to be a group experience for both the audience and themselves. Look forward to joining The Healing Force in a rousing, high-energy celebration of life!
To learn more about The Healing Force, visit their website.
Charlotte Folk Society Gatherings are made possible, in part, through a Cultural Project Grant from the Arts & Science Council and the Grassroots Program of the North Carolina Arts Council, a state agency.