About Kathryn Girard

Kathryn Girard is the Skirball's Executive Vice President. She can be found dancing at most Sunset Concerts.

Adaawe: “Put Your Ear to the Earth and Listen”

The cover of our Jan/Feb At the Skirball program guide makes me happy every time I catch sight of it on my desk. Featured is an action shot (see below) of just one of the drummers of the all-woman percussion ensemble Adaawe. For me, it completely captures the energy of the women as they drum and sing themselves and their audiences into a state of joy.

Anindo Marshall of Adaawe beats the West African instrument known as the djembe, just one of many drum types used by the band. Photo by Edward Huckle.

I first experienced Adaawe’s music live last spring, at a USC conference on immigration issues hosted by USC’s Center for Immigrant Integration. I had serious business to attend to at the event, but I had no choice but to give myself over to the high energy of Adaawe’s seven women. They wove a soulful mix of West African, R&B, pop, Gospel, and funk rhythms that was completely compelling. In the moment, it was easy to give up analytic thought and conversation for the deep pleasure of Adaawe’s vocalists and percussionists. Continue reading