Audlem St James' Primary School pupils have been getting ready for a very special day by demonstrating their dancing and accappella skills during a workshop held this past week by Zimbabwean dancers at the school.
It's all part of the preparations for a performance of the internationally renowned artists Black Umfolosi, who are playing to a sell-out audience at the school today, Sunday, at 2.30pm. All the tickets were snapped up soon after going on sale – hardly surprisingly as Black Umfolosi, who are celebrating their 25th year, stunned audiences when they came to the UK last year.
Their name is taken from a river in Natal province in South Africa and they have performed in a wide varietry of venues, including with Jools Holland on his Later With Jools TV show.
During the workshop on Tuesday, the children were introduced to Zimbabwean singing and dancing styles and learnt dance steps and vocal parts, including the Gumboot Dance. This originated with South African miners who used their gumboots as a rhythm instrument.
The workshop and today's show have been organised by t.a.v.a (Touring Arts Visiting Audlem), a group of Audlem parents passionate about bringing arts to Audlem and the surrounding area. Six weeks ago, they organised a sell-out Cabaret Evening in the Public Hall. Ann Burrows of t.a.v.a said after the workshop: "The children are just so excited, they have been incredibly responsive and already the corridors are full of children doing percussion on their bodies and being quite uninhibited."
The richness of the sound Black Umfolosi make is unmissable. It's a high-energy show that gives a glimpse of another culture – a performance of traditional southern African songs (acappella) plus 2 traditional dances. Ann Burrows added: "People have a tendency to go to the cities and this puts rural communities under threat. We aim to get people over the stigma that performances in a local village won't be very good by getting professional groups who usually perform at large venues to come to the village."
It should be a great show. Well done to t.a.v.a for getting Black Umfolosi to Audlem and equally well done to all those who scooped up their tickets early enough.
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