African Continuance, The

Produced by: 
Omomola Iyabunmi & Corbitt Bank
8 min

Omomola Iyabunmi is a musician, educator, composer and director of the Women's Sekere Ensemble. Lovingly featured in the video, Iyabunmi's Philadelphia-based female percussion group spreads African diasporic culture in secular and sacred song, accompanying themselves on their namesake bead-covered gourds. Iyabunmi explains how a sekere (pronounced SHAY-keh-ray) is constructed, and explores the significance of traditional African music and its impact on the African woman musician in America today.

Omomola Iyabunmi is a Sekere maker who has has pursued her study of African culture and percussion for more than 30 years. In 2004, she was the winner of a 2004 Leeway Foundation Window of Opportunity Grant to study learn the Aro instrument, a part of Sekere music tradition, at the Obatala Centre for the Arts in Nigeria, with the opportunity to participate in rituals where this traditional music is played and used. She included the Aro in performances with the Womenís Sekere Ensemble upon her return. Iyabunmi also teaches sekere-making classes and sells the beautifully handmade instruments at modest cost.

Corbitt Banks works with Pennsylvania's Mental Health and Aging Coalition, and is a former South Street store owner and art and culture project coordinator for the City of Philadelphia Empowerment Zone's North Central zone.