‘Drum Beat Journey’: an interview wit’ organizer and filmmaker Elilta Tewelde
March 3, 2015
by The People’s Minister of Information JR
Elilta Tewelde [is] a Pan African organizer.., teaching Africans born in the Americas about our brothas and sistas from the continent, and vice versa.
She recently was living in Chicago and took a group of young Black male bucket drummers from the hood to Senegal, West Africa. She filmed the whole experience and is fundraising to get the documentary, “Drum Beat Journey,” made.
M.O.I. JR: What attracted you to the bucket drummers that you brought to Senegal? How old were they?
Elilta Tewelde: I was attracted to their vibrant energy. The musical sounds and vibrations…from the buckets and sticks reminded me of African drumming. Ages during our trip to Senegal: 15, 17, 19 and 19.
I was interested in Senegal for many reasons.
[O]ne of the main drums played in Senegal is…the Sabar, which is played with a stick in one hand and the other hand is used to play on the drum. I felt that was a great connection to make with bucket drumming.
[Also] Senegal is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. [T]he young men.., born and raised in Chicago, …don’t have the opportunity to experience what it feels like to be near the ocean and…swim in it.
Overall, Senegal has a rich culture filled with art, music and dance.
Senegal has a strong spiritual energy, so the boys experienced a lot of transformations…. They saw the importance of community and the roles that elders, children and parents played in that environment.
[D]uring meal time [i]n Senegal…everyone sits in a circle and eats together. [F]amily and friends have the opportunity to talk and share stories.
[The bucket drummers] are used to eating when they’re hungry and not sitting and eating together as a family.
This trip allowed them to be free and express emotions…bottled up in them for a long time.
They experienced the true meaning of what brotherhood feels and looks like amongst men of all ages.
M.O.I. JR: How much do you need to raise?
Elilta Tewelde: $15,000. We’re crowd funding on Indiegogo