Dr. Ama Oforiwaa Aduonum of Illinois State University’s School of Music will explore the roots of Black music in her presentation “Say it Loud!” from 8-10 p.m. Thursday, March 18. The virtual presentation is free and open to the public. This is the third annual Black Music Showcase and is sponsored by the School of Music. 

Those wishing to attend the virtual event are asked to RSVP using an online form

“Say it Loud!” is based on Aduonum’s years of research in Ghana, Senegal, and the African diaspora. In this presentation, she will unearth the roots of Amiri Baraka’s “blues people,” DuBois’ “sorrow songs,” the moans and groans, the holler aesthetic, and other features that define Black music. The lecture and demonstration, also a listening celebration, will be accompanied by a rich variety of songs and other intellectual traditions of a proud people. A question-and-answer session will immediately follow the presentation. 

“Africans were kidnapped from their home, shackled, and forced to march through the jungle, imprisoned in subterranean dungeons, dragged through the doors of no return, and chained in over-crowded ships where they endured a harrowing Atlantic crossing,” said Aduonum. “Finally, they were dumped onto plantations in the Americas and forced to spend a lifetime of labor with the possibility of their children being ripped from their arms and sold away. Africans navigated these horrific scenes of loss, grief, displacement, moaning, and trauma, and produced artistic forms, especially music, to express their joys, sorrows, protest, dreams, love, and faith.” 

Dr. Aduonum is a professor of ethnomusicology in Illinois State’s School of Music. She teaches courses in Black music, ethnomusicology, and directs the drumming ensemble. Her research spans the music and rich performance traditions of Africa, African America, and middle passage-focused areas. Her multimodal performance piece, Walking with My Ancestors, offers fresh perspectives on the experiences of the forgotten and nameless women, children, and men who once lingered in underground dungeons. Walking with My Ancestors is based on empirical research at former dungeons for enslaved Africans and has received numerous awards. 

Those who need a special accommodation to fully participate in this program should contact Dr. Aduonum of the School of Music at okaduon@ilstu.edu. Please allow sufficient time to arrange the accommodation.