West African Book Review: Lord of the Dance

 

Music and dance are important parts of many cultures around the world. My philosophy is “explore music, explore the world.” I discovered the book, Lord of the Dance, through Kid World Citizen. They are doing an amazing series exploring the world through books! So I decided to join in and explore some art, music, and dance from Côte d’Ivoire.

Lord of the Dance is written and illustrated by Véronique Tadjo who is from Côte d’Ivoire, a West African country. Ms. Tadjo learned about the Senufo people and their culture while teaching.

This book is illustrated in the style of Senufo art. However, the traditional art used brown vegetable ink. Children can notice many different patterns in the art throughout the book. (It would be fun to do an art project of a mask or animal with different patterns drawn on the body. Maybe use a paper plate like they did on First Palette)

Cherie shared a sketch with you 51
One of the patterned illustrations from Lord of the Dance by Véronique Tadjo.

Lord of the Dance is great for thinking about how we can lose sight of the simpler things in life. The Mask is around from the beginning of time and is important in shaping the culture. It represents the spirit of the people and their traditions. Those traditions provide an anchor and a compass to navigate life.

Of course, I like this book because it touches on the role of music and dance in the Senufo culture. Specifically, the drums used for celebration and mourning. As a music teacher, I found the book great for getting children involved in making sound. There is a “Tom-tom-tom-tom-tom” refrain. I would have children repeat it back to me and drum on their knees or the floor. You could have children make their own drums, too!

Lord of the Dance is a unique poem and the illustrations offer a wonderful view into the Senufo culture. Véronique provides further explanation of the Mask and the Senufo people at the end of the book. I came up with many music activities based around Lord of the Dance. This is would be a great book to use to begin exploring West Africa.

Kids Read the World: Africa | Kid World Citizen

This post on children’s books about West Africa is part of a series from Kid World Citizen, gathering reviews of children’s books about the countries of Africa. Be sure to check out all the wonderful books and reviews!

 

What can children learn from Disco (or any music genre)?

Genres take form in certain time periods and are often a reflection or reaction to events going on in societies and cultures.  Disco is no exception!  Disco began to form in the mid-sixties and became really popular in the seventies.  It is a genre that, I would say, came about as a reaction to events and perceptions of those decades.

A lot of people associate disco with excess. Hopefully we don’t define the music or culture by this, even as this aspect reflects societal factors. Things to remember, The Vietnam War was in full swing, African Americans were still fighting for their rights as were women and LGBTQ communities.  Who wouldn’t want a place to have fun and feel accepted considering all of this?!

Talking about and exploring disco music offers an avenue for introducing children to some of the historical events mentioned above as well as discussions about acceptance and tolerance.

Disco also combined and sampled from different movements, musical styles, and cultures.  It had Latin influences, hippy and psychedelic influences, R&B/soul and more.  So, once again, it offers a starting point to talk about these subjects.  You could also move through history and show how we got to disco (or any music genre).

The most obvious benefit of any genre is music education.  Usually there are instruments or attributes that are prominent in certain genres.  This allows an avenue for children to take a more indepth look at these instruments, techniques, and attributes.

This site will work through many genres, starting with classical and moving forward in the coming months.  However in the coming weeks, since I’ve been working a lot on disco, I will be posting blogs that touch on different aspects of disco music and culture and how to use them to round out music, history, and cultural education for the young student.

We’ll start with this video that spends a day with Mike.  It will briefly give children a glimpse into what events caused people to have an attraction to disco music and culture.

Click the image to watch the video
Click the image to watch the video

ABOUT

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I appreciate you stopping by to see what Musically Trained is about. Find out what others are saying here.

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A LITTLE ABOUT ME:

beanbag - vibranceHi!  I’m Cherie Sola, a wife, songwriter, educator, writer, musician, and all around lover of all things creative. The arts have helped me express myself, study, and relate to people from many different backgrounds. Music, in particular, has been one the most impactful things in my life.

I’ve been involved in music from a young age, learning to play both piano and violin. It always amazed me that there were so many songs or compositions to fit my moods or show that others had felt what I was feeling.  I listened to everything: soul, r&b, funk, rock, jazz, classical, blues, country, grunge, K-Pop, new wave, and more!  I decided to study music in college.  There, the Rock & Roll History course further opened my eyes to how cool the history of music is and how much the culture and times influence music, and vice versa.

My first job was working at a childcare center.  I loved it.  I always enjoyed reading, tutoring, singing, and volunteering with children.  I decided to turn both my love of music and working with children into action.

I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from the University of Colorado at Denver and went into studying Early Childhood Development. My venture into music education started with teaching private and group piano lessons, mommy & me music, and preschool music classes for various companies & organizations around Los Angeles. I then embarked on my own business journey. Aside from continuing to read up on, and study, emerging trends in the fields of music and early childhood education, I continue to take classes to expand my own creative mind.   I am certified in CPR/First Aid with years of experience working with, and volunteering with, children; I’m also Trustline registered.  Currently, I enjoy volunteering with the wonderful organization Adventures to Dreams Enrichment.  My philosophy is to treat all children as individuals who process and learn in their own unique ways.

ABOUT MUSICALLY TRAINED:

mt logo - croppedThe power to find beauty in the world lies in our own hands.  My goal is to enable young children to engage with all the unique styles and cultures involved in music so they can bring that understanding with them in life. What better way to engage in history and culture than through singing, movement, discussion, and visual art?!

All of these elements weave wonderfully together and create a truly engaging learning experience.  Music helps develop self-expression and allows easy access to other cultures and ideas. I would love for children all around the world to have this experience.  So, I’ve created books, songs, activities, and other tools in hopes of helping in the field of music education for young children. Of course, I still have silly songs and lively action tunes too!  You can listen to original music, and some classics, on the Songs page and the Videos page.

Children should be able to become strong learners while still enjoying the freedom to explore and play!  I welcome suggestions from parents and educators so, please reach out with any thoughts you may have.

If you are in Southern California, contact me to find out about bringing the Paint by Genre class to your home or school.  All classes offered by Musically Trained build music theory knowledge, fine & gross motor skills, as well as aid in socio-emotional development.  I created the hybrid PAINT by GENRE class to allow children, ages 4 – 6, to experience the connection between music and visual art.  Find out more about the class here.