Tuesday, November 21, 2017

nzoCALIFAncestry comes to Oakland Public Library to kinship

Nov. 5, 2017 "Do the Work" Attendees research their
Family History - OPL-MAIN, Community Room
@nzoCALIFA - "Give Praise to Life" I conducted my first #Genealogy kinship class at the Oakland Public MAIN Library, Sunday, November 5th 2017. [Thank you Daddy"Stuff"] And although this Free session was scheduled from 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm, do you REALLY think folks left once the Ancestral whispers turned up?! Nope! In full volume attendees gave voice to their Ancestories giving way to their honored presence,  Egun iba'se.   We began the session taking a look at the path of a butterfly and it's symbolic meaning of transformation, representing a Soul's journey through life and death. Inspired by a recent Communal healing initiative at West Oakland's Life is Living Festival  powered by Youth Speaks,  I served as Lead Artist and Curator for the Malonga Center Community Ancestral Altar Installation Teamed with a devoted crew, this vision was Co-commissioned by Adande M'baye and Delina Brooks co-creators of the Africa Is Oakland - Dance Zone, devoted students of the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts and Alumni of Fua Dia Congo Performing Company.

We were privileged to install around a majestic tree that had a commanding presence at the crack of dawn on Saturday, October 28, 2017.  West Oakland's historic Defremery Park aka Lil Bobby Hutton Park became a creatively potent sacred portal that housed the first installation of its kind, beginning with Ancestral prayers, songs for Egun and rites conducted by Oakland's Omnira Institute. Staunchly attended, the altar installation was made accessible to the public from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm for Communal engagement, offerings, sharing of stories and tears, with so much history exchange worthy of libraries of preservation.

These works extend itself to a "Library Edition" that is now installed at the Oakland Public Main Library for the Month of November, with on-site teaching lessons and two free Genealogy workshops for the public, #RiteOn. So to advance this first Genealogy/kinship session, we began speaking about Ancestors as more than a notion, but more about them being a working body of Spirit living through us, more notably our Familial Ancestors: the ones you know, those who may or may not know you, or blood relations who claim you even upon ascension into the Ancestral realm. Continuing to draw from African Spiritual traditions of Yoruba/Ifa/Lucumi, libations were poured for our Ancestors, and in call and response fashion we all named our own, as devotees proclaimed  iba'se - giving praise to our Ancestor's lives with ase'.

Delina Patice Brooks, Regina "Califa" Calloway [Genealogist] Janeen Johnson
all Fua Dia Congo Performing Company Alumni. Oakland, CA
This special group of folks was a good catch from my #Genealogy net. And what did we end up having in common? A "Malonga story" and Ancestors of course. My cohort Janeen Johnson came prepared with laptop prepped, Ancestry.com Family Tree booted and Family History chart primed -- just READY. Delina Brooks was already excited about furthering her sojourn to unearth her Family History; she is a gifted Writer, Performance Artist, Storyteller and Producer and I imagine that her next Artistic episode most definitely will be Ancestor-imbued. Delina fills the room with laughter reminding  Sister Janeen of being a witness to her first Malonga encounter at San Francisco State as Janeen was Ta Malonga's student assistant, back in the 90's. Today we are ALL, proud and dedicated Alumni of Fua Dia Congo Performing Company together spanning nearly 30 years.

In a united mission, we continue to share vision through the Malonga Center Community Ancestral Installation initiative by ushering healing through remembrance of our beloved transitioned, while preserving their stories.  Interesting enough, this session was filled with #Dance agents and agencies; As I believe that Dancers and Drummers are perfect subjects as mediums for movement, they are all important mediumship service agents in transcending Ancestral healing within their own Family and the Community as well.

And my, time did fly while researching our Ancestors and the day's mission was fulfilled as attendees:
  • Cited Ancestor surnames and areas where they are from
  • Begin charting their Family tree *templates provided*
  • Researched on OPL's Ancestry.com Library edition, FREE for public service.
  • Located an Ancestor on the United States Census Records
     We closed in the round and said "farewell" to our dead, shut down the Library and kept it all the way LIVE taking our conversation to the proverbial street meeting place for Black folks, on the corner.  Hugged and lifted, I smiled knowing to be true, that I love my people and I thrive on elevating African-Ancestored Histories that empower our narratives. Yet, living out my grandfather's guidance and vision only filled me more, as I continue to #dancemydestiny higher,
Matondo Nzambi...and Thank you Janeen for bringing your tasty cornbread. #nzoCALIFAncestry

 Next Genealogy kinship workshop with R. Califa Calloway, nzoCALIFAncestry 
Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, 3:00P - 4:30P Oakland Public Main Library Community Room -                                        be prepared to bring
  • Names of your Ancestors as best you can
  • Pen/Paper - for note taking
  • A Laptop if you have one
  • Come open, mindful and of good Spirit

*Fua Dia Congo (Our Congolese heritage) is a professional repertory company founded by world-renowned Congolese Master Artist, the late Malonga Casquelourd in 1977 to preserve, promote, and present traditional Central African culture. Today it extends itself to signature programming and curatorial projects that advance study, training and appreciation for Congolese Dance and Drum traditions in the Bay area and beyond. Built in 1927, the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts is the only performing-arts complex of its kind in the City of Oakland and the first City Municipality to be named after an African person in the country.  Formerly known as the Alice Arts Center, Community Arts Leaders, Activists and Family rallied to change the building's name in 2004, paying homage to its Cultural Arts Pioneer and Arts Advocate Ta Malonga; It remains a treasured portal for Theatre, Arts forums, Performance, Special Events, holding some of the longest running program of classes on the West Coast and housing legacy Arts organizations with over 40 years in Arts excellence and service. ~@nzoCALIFA

Monday, November 13, 2017

nzoCALIFA: When the Ancestors Dance, WE prosper!

@nzoCALIFA - Fully engaged in multi-dimensional works of #Dance service and movement initiatives serving to elevate Spirit that facilitates Communal and Ancestral Healing. Current works have been an intersection of bringing forward Genealogical field research modalities to Bay Area events and gatherings that allow interactive dialogue about honoring our Ancestors. Speaking of our Ancestors not as an ambiguous term, but from a place of knowing -- and KNOWING more than just their name, but learning about their story. #nzoCALIFAncestry is a culmination of a Dancer's sojourn with a deep Ancestral pact, yet recognizing the many members of "tribe" with special focus upon the Bay Area African Dance and Drum Community, who in shared kinship Love, cultivate, trained, and have built with a united interest to prosper our Community. 
     We do this from a place of memory, and manifestation; in alignment with the Harvest Season, we invoke rites and rituals that'd be pleasing to our very own sitting on their respective Ancestral thrones.  And we honor our very lives, vital to one another, in Commune + Unity, while we "do "this Dance thing." #danceyourdestiny

Installation: November 2 - December 1, 2017, Oakland, CA | 125 14th Street, Oakland, CA
Next Genealogy kinship workshop: FREE SUN. Nov. 26, 2017 - 3:00P-4:30P  
Oakland Public Library MAIN - Community Room
Invaluable partnering of this year's Ancestral Harvest offerings to elevate our Communal Ancestors
of the Malonga Center legacy from Everybody's Creative Arts Center - an ongoing mission
Curator: R. Califa Calloway, Nzo Califa Dance Works / Kongo SQ West Kinship Society
with special thanks to Oakland Public Library - MAIN, and Delina Dream Productions

Ultimate Clean Sweep, MJ's Brass Boppers New Orleans style "Secondline" 
lifting spirits in Oakland's 17th street district ushered by Orisa Urban World Festival in front of "Regina's Door", a powerfully sacred cove of activism.  video: @nzoCALIFA

Thursday, November 2, 2017

nzoCALIFA: Communal Healing in REmix via @DelinaDream lens

#Dance kinship and Africa In Oakland - Dance Zone Co-creator, Delina Patrice Brooks shares in her own wRITE and rites,  her vividly depicted sojourn about the Malonga Center Community Altar Installation at the 10th Life Is Living Festival held annually at Lil Bobby Hutton Park - Defremery ParkWest Oakland, Saturday, October 28, 2017. #LIL10 #danceyourdestiny

Breathe it in...
a'dupe Delina

~R. Califa, Nzo Califa Dance Works

*re-posted courtesy of Delina Patrice Brooks
of DelinaDream Productions.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

nzoCALIFA- Fall2017 Ancestral Harvest Installation

Honoring the legacy of Malonga Center Community, from the days of Everybody's Creative Arts Center transcending to Citicentre Dance as an anchor tenant in the Alice Arts Center to what we celebrate today at the Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts. Take a moment to pay homage, Dance all day Free at #LIL10 and visit the Oakland Main in November.  
If you have ever danced, drummed, have seen a show, attended an event, volunteered or simply hung out, there's more to the Malonga Center than the building,  it's a vibrant society of peoples, housing some of the Bay Area's most historical African performance companies, Arts organizations, demonstrating landmark activism, birthed from its celebrated history of being one of the oldest multi-cultural Arts organizations in the Bay Area,  to the only cultural destination place of its kind today.   
     Our vitality hinges upon the continuance of maintaining a quality of life afforded to us by those before us, while honoring the fruits of our labor today.  We do this together in commemoration to honor our Communal Ancestors; We invite you to this altar:  to offer up a prayer, owo [money], creative gifts, presentation and advise forward that in this effort to be mindful, intentional and of good Spirit. ~Matondo [thank you] #HonorBreath

     This year's installation was made possible through the gracious gifts of time, wisdom and donations of good folks of the Malonga Center Community with a dedication, commitment to continuing these works.  I'd like to extend my deepest gratitude for the Guardianship of our Elder Ifa/Orisha Community for their willingness, steadfastness, and dedication for preserving Ancestral traditions in the Oakland Bay Area Community.  Ultimately my Family and Communal kinship demonstrating next level commitment 
"...by any divine mean necessary." I thank you from the depths of my Soul.   ├ás̩e̩'o  
~ R. Califa Calloway, Nzo Califa Dance Works

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Sweet Benevolence - Oakland Secondline Ancestral Celebration

@nzoCALIFA--Oakland, CA 
"We need to come together to honor our Ancestors of this Community, it's been too long." [an inspirational conversation with Baba Tacuma King, Sept. 2017]

     As Commune+Unity, it becomes imperative for us to engage and carry out Ancestral atonement rituals and rites that continue to prosper the Community.
It was also the answer to usher relief within my own family as we are grieving the loss of our phenomenal Spiritual Matriarch, Educator and Healer
My Auntie Selyah aka "Bebe" [turquoise] and more , as family members from Stockton to Berkeley and Oakland, came to represent our legacy best, and in the streets no less. 

Oakland, CA: My Family showed up 16 deep for this day, representing 4 generations, Spiritual ties, and newly discovered DNA relations; Processions, parades, marching in the streets is our legacy hailing from African Ancestored rooted traditions.  Together we came to lift our beloved transitioned and give praise to life: Auntie Selyah G. Waters, Cousin Yolanda Morton, Cousin Gyasi Ramos, Calloways, Hunters, Lowery's with our Ancestral Gatekeeper at the helm my maternal grandfather - Claude Waters, Jr, iba'e, iba'e tonnu.  *A special thank you to Baba Tacuma King, Brother Harold "Homeboy" Wilson and The Benevolent Oakland Community Society. @nzoCALIFA 

video clip: courtesy of @nzoCALIFA
Brass band: Led by Harold "Homeboy" Wilson
Twilight Brass Band & Community with
Big Chief Ray "Hatchet" Blazio, Wild Apache
Mardi Gras Indian Nation of New Orleans