The Language of the Soul
Mélange of music and dance by contemporary Native American and African American performers, presented at the Francisco Nunes theater in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, as a part of the 5th Encuentro of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, titled Performing Heritage: Contemporary Indigenous and Community-Based Practices. This performance brings together four contemporary American performances drawing from the artists' cultural roots: Quetzal Guerrero (Native American violinist and dancer), Larry Yazzie (Meskwaki/ Dine World Champion Fancy Dancer), David Pleasant (African-American Gullah/Geeche percussion and song, performing with dancer Joyah Pugh), and Dancing Earth (Indigenous Modern Dance collective directed by Rulan Tangen, with the participation of Quetzal Guerrero, Anthony Thosh Collins and Alejandro Meraz). Quetzal Guerrero and Thosh Collins open the evening with a traditional chant from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa indian community, followed by Quetzal's original solo violin piece. Larry Yazzie then performs his dazzling powwow Fancy Dance from Tama, Iowa, followed by the energetic and powerful percussion of African American David Pleasant, who draws on rhythms dating back to slavery in the United States. Dancing Earth performs a dance piece about the creation of the earth, and the evening ends with all performers bringing together their traditions--and the audience--on stage. There is also a post-performance discussion with the artists, in which they talk about the origins and meanings of their performances.
David Pleasant: President and Founder of RiddimAthon!, Inc., David Pleasant is a musical stylist who was raised in the Gullah/Geechee culture of Georgia, namely Sapelo Island, Darien/McIntosh County and Savannah. His work is driven by the wealth of African retention in the mentioned region, as well as the synthesis of that material into a peculiar resource for American culture. As a Fulbright Senior Specialist, he presents international programs on the subject. His work has been featured in theatre, dance and television. Most recently, he was featured in the award winning musical "Crowns", by Regina Taylor. He is interested in the 5th Meeting of Performing Heritage: Contemporary Indigenous and Community – Based Practices as a platform to demonstrate and share the unique and rare expressions of Georgia/South Carolina Sea Islands culture. These expressions include polyrhythm, call & response, pitched hand claps, syncopation, improvisation, concurrent percussion, shout and others which under gird much of American popular music.