(5/2/13 UPDATE - We have just been awarded a $9,150 grant from 4Culture towards the documentary, and we have raised $1900 in individual donations outside of this campaign! We still need ~$4000 to close our travel funding gap!)
Ibeji Pictures, in collaboration with Ibori Records and Seattle Afro-Cuban music ensemble Omo Alagba, presents Children of the Sacred Elders - a dope documentary film and multimedia heritage project contributing to the dialogue between Africa and its Diaspora.
Omo Alagba has been invited to present their latest recording of Afro-Cuban sacred music at the historic 10th International Congress of Orisa Tradition and Culture in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, July 24-28, 2013 (http://orisaworld.org). Over 2000 participants from 23 countries will be in attendance, including the greatest living elders of Yoruba-based culture in Africa and the Diaspora. We need your support to help the group reach the festival and to complete production of the documentary.
Utilizing themes of contraction, expansion and oscilation, the documentary will focus on the preservation and production of knowledge and local histories to tell the story of a sacred drumming tradition that, for centuries, has not only survived, but flourished.
During the dehumanizing Middle Passage, a component of the violent Atlantic Commercial Circuit, knowledge of the Yoruba bata drumming tradition, a crucial part of Orisha-based spiritual communities, was deeply fragmented and subjugated in the "New World". The documentary will trace the Afro-Cuban bata tradition back to its roots and examine a critical moment in history when in 1830, two spiritual elders, Ayanbi and Atanda Falubi, who had been brought as slaves from Yorubaland, were able to create the first set of “consecrated” bata drums in Cuba. Each set of sacred bata drums has since has been “born” from another set in elaborate ritual- all of them tracing their lineage back to this primary ancestor. The progeny of these sacred drums has spread remarkably throughout the world, following the movements of Cuban and Puerto-Ricans to Miami and New York and now Seattle.
Children of the Sacred Elders will capture Omo Alagba as they exchange and interface with the roots of the tradition in Africa. The documentary will feature sacred bata drums, highlight histories and practices integral to the music and energy it holds, and examine its presence and use in Seattle communities today. The fact that the Seattle Orisha community has been selected to represent Orisha music in the United States challenges flat, linear notions of time and tradition, and is truly a testament to the potency of this knowledge that has been preserved and innovated in diasporic spaces for centuries.
With your support, Omo Alagba will "return" to Ile-Ife, Nigeria with sacred bata drums to participate in this historical event. Ibeji Pictures will document and work to encourage community discussion to connect this narrative to the diverse socio-historical spaces that the tradition continues to inform.
Ibeji Pictures is: Alex Riedlinger - a music photographer, cinematographer and arts and culture journalist, director. Sidony O’Neal - a published poet, writer and language specialist with an emphasis in translation, Diasporic language practices, and critical discourse analysis. Chaz Mortimer - Owner of Ibori Records, video/audio editing, producer.
Omo Alagba is: Steven Cherena, Mark Lilly, Makaela Romero, Bernice Harrison-Williams, Derek Learned, and Denny Stern.
What We Need & What You Get
Our funding goals are two-fold:
*First, Omo Alagba and the documentary team need help covering travel costs to Nigeria. While the Oregon Arts Commision has contributed funds to cover a portion of travel fees and the group is holding fundraising workshops and concerts, there are 10 members of the group and flights to Nigeria are not cheap. The festival is paying for accomodations and travel within Nigeria, but we need to close a funding gap of $8,000 to cover international travel.
*Second, to complete phase II of the documentary (phase I was completed during the filming of Omo Alagba's recent CD recording project, funded by the Seattle Office of Art & Cultural Affairs), we will need to raise an additional $6,000, itemized below:
• Sound Equipment Rental/Insurance $2000
• 2nd Camera Equipment Rental/Insurance $1600
• Language Consultation $700
• Archival Material/Licensing $500
Tier 1 - $5-$125
• Omo Alagba's Iyaranla (Oro Cantado), is the first commercially available CD of this song cycle which is central to most Lukumi ceremonies. In a traditional setting, after the bata drums greet the Orisha in the Igbodu with the Oro Igbodu, the ceremony moves into the public space where the Orisha are greeted with song and drum by the whole community, using the songs we have recorded on this album. This album, more than anything, is meant to be a learning tool so that those attending ceremony will be able to participate and contribute to the energy of the community. The music, however, speaks to people of all walks of life, and this super-hi fidelity recording is a gem of cultural expression and preservation. 20 Tracks and 65 Minutes.
• Children of the Sacred Elders DVD - You will be among first to get a signed copy of the finished documentary DVD.
• Other Perks at Tier 1 include "special thanks" film credit, film poster, t-shirt, orisha study materials to accompany songs.
Tier 2 - $250-$800
• Perks at this level include private and group lessons in drumming, song, and dance, for local donors.
• Artistic creations by ensemble and film crew members, including hand made shekere by Chaz Mortimer, photo prints by cinematographer Alex Riedlinger, and artwork and instruments from master artisans in Nigeria.
Tier 3 -$1000 and up
• Film Screening in your community.
• Handcrafted set of Bata drums from Nigeria.
• Our top donor in this tier will receive an Executive Producer credit.
While we have secured a portion of funding to cover travel, if we do not meet our funding goal, only a few members will be able to travel to Nigeria and donations will be used to complete a cultural preservation documentary that focuses on the past, present and future of the unique Seattle Orisha community.
Building on a foundation of strong community and institutional support, Omo Alagba has already recorded a phenomenal album. Many aspects of this initial component were funded with grants from both the Seattle Arts and Culture Comission and the Oregon Art Comission.
Producing the documentary will give much needed socio-historical context to the music on the album while serving as a platform for circulation and community discussion of its many relevant themes.
Ibeji Pictures and Ibori Records will work to promote the film along with related text and audio materials as a critical educational resource that can be used around the world. The film will be subtitled in Spanish to engage Afro-Latin histories and facilitate discussion in Spanish-speaking communities throughout the Americas.
Children of the Sacred Elders is a transmedia project that will locate Seattle as an important space in the larger cartographic discourses of African Diaspora, cultural preservation and community innovation.
Other Ways You Can Help
If you are unable to make a financial contribution, please help us share this campaign! Spread the word using your social networks and community platforms.
Follow the latest news at:
http://OmoAlagba.com and on twitter @ibejipictures