Meet The Fellows...
(photo by Amanda Soto)
"I'm trying to help my community through my passion for education," says Kedmon. "I'm very committed to the music traditions of my country."
Born in Tanzania, Kedmon is an internationally recognized dancer, singer, and drummer from the Wagogo tribe. With his Jubilation Fellowship, he shared his skills with Seattle schools by offering residencies for students and workshops for teachers.
"Last year I was invited to facilitate a choral workshop," says Kedmon. Expecting a small class, he was taken aback to find 150 students with a wide variety of singing experience. "I decided to teach them a few games involving singing, dancing, and drumming," he says. Thinking Wagogo children's games might only be valued by Wagogo children, he was thrilled to discover that United States children love to sing and dance just as much. "I was amazed! They were more than happy, dancing, jumping, and singing. I think singing and dancing are crucial for the joy of our children. If singing, dancing, and drumming could happen in the daily lives of children, they will learn both discipline and joy that will last them a lifetime."
Kedmon is also a teaching artist for Smithsonian Folkways certification workshops, as well as a doctoral student at Seattle Pacific University where he studies music education and ethnomusicology. In his spare time, Kedmon translates Wagogo music into Western notation. "People here want to see music written down," he says.
His desire to highlight and share the cultural treasures of his native land led Kedmon to establish the annual Wagogo Music Festival. Featuring local musicians and held in his home area of Chamwino Village in the Dodoma Region of central Tanzania, the festival encourages Wagogo people to express and preserve their cultural identity through music, dance and drama.
"My long term goal is education," says Kedmon. "I want to help my people go to school. Only through education can we change our mindsets, otherwise nothing."
Wagogo Music Festival 2011
Kedmon is Reading:
about musical enculturation issues
Kedmon is Listening to:
traditional and contemporary music of Tanzania
Kedmon is Watching:
Wagogo music festival DVDs -- wonderful Wagogo children making music