Middlebury

Jeh Kulu Dance and Drum Theater performance April 16 to benefit Doctors Without Borders

April 5, 2005

MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-Jeh Kulu Dance and Drum Theater, a traditional West African performance ensemble, will appear at Middlebury College on Saturday, April 16, at 8 p.m. in the McCullough Student Center.  All proceeds will be donated to the nonprofit organization Doctors Without Borders, which provides assistance to victims of the ongoing genocide in the Sudanese region of Darfur.  The Middlebury College International Students' Organization (ISO) is sponsoring the event.  The concert is free with a suggested donation of $5 at the door.

Burlington-based Jeh Kulu performs across the United States.  The group, founded in 1993, is comprised of artists who share traditional rhythms and dances from the West African countries of Guinea, Senegal and Mali, as well as experienced American dancers.  The ensemble's director, Sidiki Sylla, is an internationally renowned dancer who has toured the world with Ballet National de Guinea and Ballet Djoliba, two dance and drum companies based in Guinea. 

According to Derick Okwan-Duodu, president of the ISO, the purpose of the April 16 benefit concert is not only to raise money to aid doctors who are working in Sudan, but also to increase awareness about the current crisis there, one that has been described by both former United States Secretary of State Colin Powell and the United Nations as one of the worst humanitarian crises in history. 

Before the Jeh Kulu performance, Middlebury College Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science Nadia Horning will open the concert with a brief introduction about the situation in this troubled part of the African continent.  The event will close with a 10-minute documentary about Sudanese refugees in neighboring Chad.  As a result of a war that began in February 2003 between rebels and government enlisted militias, hundreds of thousands of Darfurians have been killed, raped and chased from their homes.  Countless others have fled to neighboring Chad and are living there in refugee camps. 

The Middlebury College McCullough Student Center is on Old Chapel Road off South Main Street (Route 30).  For more information about the event, contact student organizer Derick Okwan-Duodu at dokwandu@middlebury.edu or 802-443-4376.

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