Dance and sing for Africa June 18

At the end of 2009, 33.3 million people were estimated to be living with HIV/AIDS.

Sub-Saharan Africa is the region most affected by HIV and AIDS and is home to 68 per cent of all people living with HIV worldwide.

When faced with such staggering statistics, what can we who are blessed to live here in the beautiful Comox Valley do to help? The answer is as close as our very own, home-grown A Day For Africa, a community-based fundraising program that supports people affected by HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa.

Donations to A Day For Africa, whether they be generated on actual volunteer “odd-job days” or at other local fundraising events, are collected and forwarded to the Stephen Lewis Foundation where they fund grassroots initiatives in countries throughout the sub-Saharan region.

In short, A Day for Africa gives concerned individuals a way to respond to an urgent situation and provides people affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa with the resources they need to take care of themselves.

Inspired by a previous, very successful fundraising effort for ADFA — with a midsummer, community drum circle at the Farmer’s Market — Monica Hofer of Rhythm Spirit (http://rhythm-spirit.blogspot.com) decided this year to put the word out to fellow expressive arts facilitators that a larger event was in order. The result is an amazing collaborative effort.

On June 18 join Monica and her co-facilitators Robin Layne, percussionist with the gypsy/folk band Tambura Rasa (imported from Vancouver), Joanna Finch, a Valley favourite and vocal improviser extraordinaire, and Jade de Trey, local improvisational performer with Methuselah Dance and teacher of creative movement, as they inspire you to drum, dance and sing for Africa.

Monica, who is a well-known local African hand drumming instructor, will start the event off with a community drum circle, created in the moment and sure to have you joyfully engaged and in the groove in no time.

Robin will then transport you to the rhythms of northern Brazil, incorporating the sounds of a variety of instruments such as shakers and bells and whetting your appetite with some “Samba/Funk”. Spontaneously entering the mix, Joanna and Jade will lead you in an improvised chakra dance and “songweaving from the voice of the ancestors”, where all participants add their voice in the language of their choice and are inspired to move from their soul and find passion and joy through creative self expression.

This ADFA fundraiser takes place at the St. John the Divine Church hall on Fifth Street, a venue graciously donated by Father George and his congregation, and will run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Participation is by donation with all proceeds going to the Stephen Lewis Foundation via A Day for Africa. This is an “everyone welcome” event; you are encouraged to bring your own drums and rhythms instruments (a number will be available for shared use), an open mind and a generous heart – and be prepared to share in the magic of making music and moving (bare feet encouraged) in community!

Following this event, Layne will offer two drumming workshops (Latin Rhythms and Samba/Funk). For more information on the fundraiser and workshops, contact Monica at 250-338-1444 or drumdeva@gmail.com.

— A Day For Africa

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