is a multigenerational cultural community building bridges to Afrikan identity through the arts.
Co-founded as the Three Rivers Jenbe Ensemble by Ketu Oladuwa, Lisa Tsetse, and Akinlana DaDa, in the fall of 1999, TRIAAC is an acronym for the Three Rivers Institute of Afrikan Art & Culture. The institute takes its name from its geographic location at the junction of three historically significant rivers—the St. Marys, St. Joseph, and Maumee. These essential trade routes from 1600 to 1794 were controlled by the Miami nation here at Kekionga (now Fort Wayne).
The Three Rivers Jenbe Ensemble (TRJE) was established in 1999 to give 6–18-year-olds a chance to discover Afrika through drum and dance. TRJE focused on the Mande-speaking people of West Afrika as the source of its inspiration, using the Sunjata epic and its extended family formation as its organizational and artistic principle.
For 13 years TRJE students inspired its community by the acquisition of artistic skills and ensemble work ethic that lifted students’ self-esteem, spurred their community consciousness, and cultivated for them roots of extended family.
In 2007 TRJE organized under the aegis of the Three Rivers Institute of Afrikan Art & Culture (TRIAAC) a 501(3)© Indiana nonprofit corporation. TRIAAC is now home to the Jenbe Ensemble, Mande Music School, Visiting Artist Forum, Acoustic SpokenWord Cafe, and A Breath of Afrika Cultural Arts Festival. The drumming, dance, and song of the Mandé-speaking people of Guinea, West Afrika is the focus of all our music and dance projects where young people and adults learn within a traditional frame of Afrikan American elder-youth relations.