Culture Shock features diversity on campus

Kiera Manion-Fischer

Through food, art, music and dance, Culture Shock exposed students to cultures from around the world yesterday. PHOTOS BY SAM TWAREK AND ABBY FISHER | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: John Proppe

From African drumming to Scottish bagpipes, quesadillas to falafel and martial arts to belly dancing, Culture Shock exposed students to cultures from around the world.

The event is an annual celebration of diversity on campus, sponsored by the All Campus Programming Board, Undergraduate Student Senate, Harambee and Save the World. Because of the rain, the event was held in the Student Center Ballroom.

The band Shiva Zoo kicked off the event with what electric sitarist Ritchie Kindler described as a combination of Indian classical, slow-core and drum circles.

“Good old hippie music,” he said.

Ridgely Dunn, graduate student in anthropology, belly danced with the band. She described her dancing as “tribal fusion,” an American style of belly dance. Dunn said most of her work is improvised.

Next, the Kent African Drum Ensemble performed. The ensemble is a one-credit class taught by Kazadi Mukuma, professor in the School of Music.

Mukuma said they performed a mix of Ghanaian, Congolese and inter-tribal songs.

Rosyne Kabanga, international student from the Congo, is a member of the ensemble.

She said she thought the event good because it helps to eliminate racism. Kabanga spoke in French, which is the official language of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Malcolm Mathis, graduate student in bio-analytical chemistry, watched the performance.

He said he had hoped to see more cultures represented.

More than 10 student organizations had tables set up around the room. There were cultural organizations, such as Kent African Student Association and the Nepalese Student Association, and advocacy groups, including the Save Darfur Coalition and Amnesty International.

Helen Yohanes, sophomore biology major and president of KASA, said the event is a good chance for the various groups on campus to show off their cultures.

“Too bad it’s only one day, but it’s something,” she said.

LaDon Neal, sophomore public relations major and president of Harambee, said he was disappointed with turnout at the event.

“I’m kicking myself that it wasn’t outside,” he said. “The rain kind of put a damper on it.”

Later in the day, the MacCallum Highlanders, a bagpipe ensemble from Akron, performed.

They played favorites such as “Amazing Grace” and “Auld Lang Syne” along with traditional Scottish music.

The Kent Dance Ensemble and Green Dragon Martial Arts Club performed mid-afternoon. The last band to perform was Olu and Heartbeat Afrika.

Olu Manns, one of the co-founders of the band, said his music was inspired by the idea that Africans’ drums were taken away when they were enslaved, and they were forced to experiment with other modes of expression.

“When we come in we want to entertain,” he said. “But we also want to educate.”

Contact news correspondent Kiera Manion-Fischer at [email protected].