PHS Burundi Students See Royal Drummers’ Performance
Students from the Central African country of Burundi who attend Portland High School will be able to see the October 18 performance of the Royal Drummers and Dancers of Burundi at Merrill Auditorium free of charge, thanks to donations from local businesses.
The students, including members of a Burundi drumming group based at the high school, will visit with the performers backstage after the 7:30 p.m. show.
The Portland Mentoring Alliance purchased the students’ tickets with donations from Unum, Maine Medical Center and Wright Express. Portland Ovations, the concert’s presenter, provided the backstage passes.
The Portland High Global Studies program will bring students to a daytime performance by the Royal Drummers on October 18. The Portland Mentoring Alliance has arranged for its mentors and their Portland High mentees to attend the evening performance and a pre-concert discussion.
The Burundi ritual of drumming comes from an ancient royal heritage, with techniques passed down from father to son. Performances traditionally were part of ceremonies that announced the change of seasons and the births of kings.
Portland High’s Burundi drummers performed last year at the school’s annual Cultural Heritage Show. The group used borrowed costumes and drums.
The Royal Drummers and Dancers of Burundi appeared on Joni Mitchell's 1975 album, “The Hissing of Summer Lawns,” and they have played a large role in popularizing world music. Find out more about their October 18 concert.
Dr. Nyama McCarthy-Brown, a postdoctoral fellow at Bowdoin College, will give a talk on “Cultural Connections: Burundi & Maine” on October 18 at 6:30 p.m. in the Green Room at Merrill Auditorium. The talk will explore the cultural context of music and dance in Burundi.