Several of the featured presenters for the “Gullah/Geechee Reunion Day” at the Charleston Maritime Center will be on hand to sign autographs and take photos during the “Party with a Purpose.” They will take to the stage beginning at Noon on Saturday, August 6, 2016 at the Charleston Maritime Center which is an indoor venue where the “Gullah/Geechee Nation International Music & Movement Festival™” takes place on even numbered years. Guests are encouraged to bring chairs, drums, water, and tambourines for the opening drum call and libation ceremony in which they can take part. The entire festival encourages interactions and hands-on learning.
The Gullah/Geechee polyrhythmic handclaps that will accompany the drumming of The Sounds of RBM and Wona Womalan this year will flow right into the spirituals by Queen Quet & De Gullah Cunneckshun and the soulful R & B sounds of recording artist, GwenYvette. GwenYvette recently released the single “So In Love” which rapidly climbed the UK Soul Chart. She will be performing her brand new single, “Victorious” for the first time in Charleston as the featured artist for this year’s festival.
Re-enactors Ernest Parks and Bruce Ingram will bring to life the journey that Gullah/Geechees have gone through from chattel enslavement to the battles for freedom. Visual artist Amiri Farris will be presenting on his journey into creating Gullah/Geechee inspired artwork and he will unveil a new piece especially made for the “Celebration of Self-Determination.” The vibrant work of Mr. Farris will be surrounded by the traditional Gullah/Geechee sweetgrass creations of Gregory Grant of coastal Georgia and those of Charleston native, Anastatia Ketchens. These handmade works will be amongst those of other Gullah/Geechee creative artists such as Quanza Washington and Akua Page.
Each year, the “Gullah/Geechee Nation International Music & Movement Festival” opens with a libation ceremony at the site of “Gasden’s Wharf” where Africans were brought in to be sold on auction blocks in Charleston. This site will become the permanent location of the “International African American Museum (IAAM).” The festival continues as a journey of reconnection and healing for the entire Gullah/Geechee Diaspora. Gullah/Geechee healers Khetnu Nefer of “A Soulful Touch Wellness” and Tremaine Abeena Moore of “Naturally Geechee”will be part of a Gullah/Geechee healing circle along with Queen Quet, Chieftess of the Gullah/Geechee Nation (www.QueenQuet.com) and the Gullah/Geechee Nation Wisdom Circle Council of Elders. This year, they will be centering their energy on bringing healing and renewal to the many families of Charleston that have suffered losses due to the deaths of a number of people over the past two years including Walter Scott, the Emanuel 9, and some of the elders of the Gullah/Geechee Nation. A traditional healing circle will be done for all that are present to be covered in an energy of peace, enlightenment, and upliftment.
Healing within the Gullah/Geechee traditions comes from not only bringing the family back together, but also by then fellowshipping within the circle and over traditional Gullah/Geechee food. Each year, Gullah/Geechee cuisine is created by Gullah/Geechee traditions keeper, Carolee Holmes Brown, who is also a quilter that will be at the event, and Chef Benjamin Dennis who is a native of Charleston County trained in the culinary arts. During the Living Marketplace, the participants will have an opportunity to learn about the history of Gullah/Geechee cuisine, quilting, and handmade crafts. All that attend the event will be able to learn how these things have been sustained due to the self-determination of the Gullah/Geechee people who as Queen Quet, Co-Founder of the “Gullah/Geechee Nation International Music & Movement Festival™” always reminds us, “da binya an ain da gwine nowhey!”
Cum fa bring de famlee ta “A Celebration of Self-Determination!”