'Jaku Mumor'

- Gabriel Davis


The multi-media performance event "Jaku Mumor," created and led by artist Okaidja Afroso, will be making its way to Moses Lake through the Columbia Basin Allied Arts. The performance will be held April 27 at Big Bend Community College's Wallenstien Theater at 7 p.m.

Background


“I’ve presented him to Allied Arts selection committees a couple of times over the years, and it’s never seemed to fit,” said CBAA Executive Director Shawn Cardwell. “‘Jaku Mumor’ is a very new project that he has been creating since the world opened up again after COVID, and he’s been back and forth to Ghana a few times, meeting and working with artists there. Artists are coming from Ghana for this tour to perform with him. He’s worked with videographers, fashion designers, he’s worked with dancers, vocalists, musicians, to tell the story of the Ghanaian Ga-Dangme fishermen.”

“Jaku Mumor” utilizes percussion, guitar, dance, native language vocals, film and fashion to tell the story, the CBAA website says.

“It’s a multimedia storytelling of all those things. There will be storytelling in English, songs in a Ghanaian language and it’s going to be very cool,” Cardwell said. “The whole project was commissioned by Duke and Stanford Universities and the Oregon State Arts Commission, so it’s an international stage, a very cool piece that I’m just really floored to have come to Moses Lake.”

According to his website, Afroso was born into a family of musicians and storytellers in Kokrobite, a fishing town on the west coast of Ghana. He began his career as a dancer with the celebrated Ghana Dance Ensemble.

Cardwell said she has wanted Afroso to perform in Moses Lake for years.

“I saw (Afroso) back in maybe 2018 or 2019 at a regional presenters and artists conference, and his music is just beautiful, and it feels universal, and the stories he tells are really, again, just beautiful and universal,” she said. “So he’s always kind of stuck with me over the years.”

THOUGHTS


“Jaku Mumor” will encompass a different part of African culture from some of CBAA’s previous events, Cardwell said.

“It’s exciting too, because, last year we had the Zuzu Acrobats,” she said. “They are from the Swahili coast. (Ghana) is the opposite coast of Africa … So people will walk away from this, I think, really having seen and felt the humanity and the connections that can come out of these cultural exchanges that you wouldn’t necessarily see from maybe the Zuzu Acrobats. They’re very like, ‘Wow, I could never do that, that’s so cool they do that,’ and it is part of the tradition on the Swahili coast. It is amazing and just thrilling to see, but I think this is a little bit more human … Fishing is such a key part of Grant County, and I think (‘Jaku Mumor’) kind of plays into the sort of outdoor agricultural culture that we have here.”