The West African word soumu may not be a part of the average Ashevillean’s lexicon, but it’s an easy enough concept to get behind. A soumu is an all-encompassing party with music, dance, food and art. Now in its second year, the West African celebration takes place at The Orange Peel on Thursday, June 5 at 7 p.m.
Dance and music performances will take place throughout the night, including a performance from local afropop/zouglou band Zansa, featuring Ivory Coast native Adama Dembele. Other acts in the lineup include Ivorian dancer Barakissa Coulibaly, African drum and dance troupes, Lisa Zahiya performing folk dances of North Africa and contemporary dances from Cairo, acoustic Zansa side project Made Foly and members of the Juan Benavides Group. Traditional West African cuisine will be available for purchase, as well as Senegalese arts and crafts.
In collaboration with LEAF international, a portion of the proceeds raised from this event will go to benefit dancer Coulibaly’s organization, Mouaye, in Ivory Coast. Mouaye was started in the 2000s as safe haven for children and young adults during wartime. During the event, Coulibaly will perform a solo dance piece on the plight of the African woman. “The title of my solo is ‘Without a Shadow,’ says the master dancer, “which speaks about the revolution of African women. … As a young adult, I myself have experienced a direct connection to this pain and suffering that all the women of Africa have endured. However, it is time to be free. It is time to speak out. It is time to live.”
Doors at 6 p.m., show starts at 7 p.m. $12/$15. theorangepeel.net.
In the video below, Zansa performs its song “Jahili.” A jahili is something or someone that divides people, explains the band, “But, when we can realize that it is the jahili doing this to us, we can overcome it and be one again.”