upcoming grant deadline: 03/01/2019

upcoming grant deadline: 03/01/2019

back to blog

Kulu Mele presents Wemilere: Parade of the Orishas on February 16

Kulu Mele presents Wemilere: Parade of the Orishas
Saturday, February 16, 5 p.m.
Taller Puertorriqueño, 2600 N 5th St, Philadelphia, PA 19133
Free & Open to the Public

A wemilere is a celebration. This wemilere, choreographed by Dorothy Wilkie (LTA '07, WOO '04, '02), introduces and celebrates eight of the most important orishas (deities) in Yoruba culture; Elegba, Ogun, Ochosi, Yemaya, Oshun, Oya, Shango and Obatala. The music is arranged by John Wilkie. Dorothy Wilkie also did the costume design. The Orishas will be danced by members of Kulu Mele African Dance and Drum Ensemble.

The orishas portrayed include: Elegba, the orisha of roads and doors, who stands at the crossroads of the human and the devine. Nothing can be done in either realm without his permission. Ogun, an ironworker, laborer, hunter and warrior who wields a machete. He is the protector of his people. Ochosi, an archer, an unerring marksman and the lord of justice. Ochosi hunts for the truth. He carries a crossbow in his hands. Oshun, the goddess of sweetness and love, who succeeds in returning Ogun to his people after a long absence by tempting him with dances and honey. Yemaya, the goddess of the ocean and rivers, including the River Ogun. Her name means "the mother whose children are the fish.” Shango, the god of thunder and lighting, who is one of the most powerful and feared orishas. Oya, a fierce warrior and the ruler of storms and winds. She assists people with transformations. Her name means "she who tore.” Obatala, the king of the white cloth. He dances with a white horse's tail in his hand. He promotes peace and compassion, as well as clean living and clarity of thought.

Wemilere will be preceded by a 10-minute drumming interlude featuring Afro-Cuban rhythms. Following the live performances, a 12-minute documentary film by filmmaker Aidan Un will be screened. Un's film explores Kulu Mele's September 2018 cultural immersion in Santiago de Cuba, where Kulu Mele worked in studio with the renowned Afro-Cuban dance and drum company, Ballet Folklorico Cutumba. Kulu Mele studied with Cutumba in preparation for the development of Kulu Mele's 50th anniversary production, Ogun & the People, a full-length dance-drama choreographed by Dorothy Wilkie, which will premiere in Philadelphia in Fall 2019. This afternoon's performance will conclude with an audience and artist Q&A.

RSVP/more info at https://www.facebook.com/events/335996967002763/

The project is organized by the African American Museum in Philadelphia, Taller Puertorriqueno, and Kulu Mele African Dance & Drum Ensemble presented as part of 2019’s PhilAesthetic: AAMP Celebrates the African Diaspora in Philly and Taller’s 23rd Annual Arturo A. Schomburg Symposium. PhilAesthetic: AAMP Celebrates the African Diaspora in Philly has been generously supported by PNC Arts Alive. Learn more at www.aampmuseum.org/philaesthetic. Major support for Ogun & the People has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

back to blog back to top