What we do…
Three Rivers Jenbé Ensemble (TRJE)
TRIAAC began as TRJE co-founded in 1999 by three individuals of widely varied backgrounds: Ketu Oladuwa, poet, musician, teacher, journalist, community activist; Lisa Tsetse, teacher, choreographer, dancer, certified Feldenkrais and yoga practitioner, and Fort Wayne Dance Collective Outreach Coordinator; and Akinlana DaDa, musician, carpenter, and radical materials quality control specialist. Their focus was on strengthening family relationships for youth, one family, one child at a time. Together they nurtured and developed a culturally diverse ensemble of students that learned the often-difficult skills of ensemble play through cooperation rather than competition.
More specifically, they learned to work together as extended family embers, respecting peers and elders, caring for and supporting one another, and giving back to their community through their music. Their enthusiasm, commitment, hard work and self-discipline led them to excel as scholars, musicians, peer teachers, and friends.
In an 18-month campaign launched in 2005, TRJE raised $60,000.00 to travel to and study with master artists and their communities in Guinea, West Afrika. Working with world-acclaimed master artists, and participating in their family and community life, the students experienced the Afrikan family firsthand. This exposure strengthened their own nuclear family understanding. Upon their return home, the students’ musicianship, stage presence, and presentation soared more clearly representing their lived relationships and international experience.
TRJE graduates have gone on to excel at university and college, are leading productive community lives, and have demonstrated enhanced community awareness. Many have returned to the ensemble to continue their musical and communal development.
The Mandé Music School adopts the traditional Afrikan way of passing on knowledge — through music and song. The school works with children from 5-to-13 years from varied backgrounds to engage them in drumming and art as ways to celebrate theirselves, family, and culture.
Classes for youth begin at 5-years-old, and continue through middle school. Students are involved in age-appropriate drumming, culture studies, crafts, and oral expression. The hallmark of the Mandé Music School is the family-focused development of sustained relationships across generations, gender, culture and ethnicity.
The Acoustic SpokenWord Café (ASWC, the Café) is a much-needed space in Fort Wayne. Here at the Café talent comes to share their work and ideas, and to meet with a public attentive to their presentation. The Café draws multicultural, multigenerational audiences from metropolitan Fort Wayne, and near surrounding cities.
ASWC serves as an artist incubator, and features the region’s most dynamic poets and musicians in an acoustic setting. Musicians and spokenword artists are encouraged to take risks in their public presentation. The Café opens at least one Saturday each month from September through June, and is located in collaborating venues citywide.
The traditional lineup is two poets and one singer-songwriters or musical group. And there is always an Open Mic session at the end of each Café. Artists interested in taking to the boards at the Café should call TRIAAC at 260 267-0596, or email: [email protected]
The Wednesday Night Adult Drum Circle is a forum for adult learners wishing to experience the power of traditional jenbé and dunun drumming. The workshops are offered in serial seven-week sessions geared to beginning and intermediate students. The musical focus is on learning correct technique for sound production, and acquiring a practical understanding of ensemble drumming.
Sessions take place Wednesday evenings from 6:00–7:30PM, at Peace Montessori School, 2310 Long Road, New Haven, IN.
While the workshop is open to beginners and intermediate students, students with considerably more traditional jenbé and dunun experience should contact TRIAAC to arrange special classes or private instruction in Hand Dancing.
Contact TRIAAC at 260 267-0596, or email [email protected]