Where can you go to hear spoken word poetry and learn how to drum-all under one roof? The Three Rivers Institute of Afrikan Art & Culture, Inc. (TRIAAC) is the place to go for cultural exchange.
TRIAAC’s vision is to increase the profile of traditional Afrikan and Afrikan Diaspora music and artists in Northeast Indiana and the tri-state region, and see that the benefits go back to the artists and communities that produce the music.
To that end, they offer several programs to engage the public:
The Three Rivers Jenbé Ensemble is a Mandé music education and performance ensemble comprised of youth and adults who love to learn and to play traditional Mandé music. TRJE is Northeast Indiana’s leading Afrikan-centered drumming workshop and performance ensemble. Music, dance, song, and poetry are the ensemble vehicles for developing community relationships. TRJE’s season runs from September through May, but they ensemble books performances year round. For more information, contact TRIAAC at (260) 969-9442.
Another creative outlet is the Wednesday Night Drumming, a workshop for adults who want to learn to play the jenbé and dunun drums. The workshop is a project of continuing 7-week cycles. Workshops continue year-round, on Wednesday evenings, from 6–7:30PM, for beginning and intermediate drummers. Students are taught the fundamental techniques and rhythms of the traditional Mandé jenbé ensemble. Students re-enroll for each 7-week session. The fee is $150.00 per workshop, or $25.00 per class. TRIAAC members receive a 15% discount on workshop fees.
Those who appreciate the art of poetry might be interested in the Acoustic SpokenWord Cafe. Artists are invited to come share their work, between 7 and 10PM on the second and fourth Saturday of each month except July and August. (During November and December the Café opens only on the second Saturday.) Most evenings consist of mixed genre presentations by two artists, plus an open mic segment. Presenting genres have included poetry, rap, short stories, novels, acoustic and electric jazz, blues, gospel, folk, traditional Native American flute, Afrikan drumming, and film. Interested in performing? Contact TRIAAC through their website.
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Lauren Caggiano was raised in Fort Wayne, and returned in 2007 upon graduation from the University of Dayton. (Go Flyers!) The president of WriteOn LLC, she specializes in writing, marketing, and French translation. In her spare time she enjoys working out, thrifting and volunteering.