Friday, February 06, 2009JOHNSON CITY – Obakunle Akinlana, a teller of traditional African folktales, will be the featured performer during the 10th annual Black Faculty and Staff Association Banquet and Awards Ceremony at East Tennessee State University on Saturday, Feb. 14.
The banquet, themed “Something Beyond Remarkable,” begins at 6 p.m. in the D.P. Culp University Center ballroom. Tickets are $25 per person or $45 per couple.
Akinlana, who uses drums, shekeres and other African musical instruments in telling his stories, has performed throughout the U.S. and West Africa as a storyteller, musician and lecturer. His programs focus on the arts and folklore of the Yoruba people of Southwest Nigeria, a culture he has studied for over 29 years. He travels to Africa each year to learn traditional stories and to observe and perform with African griots and musicians.
Akinlana is a published author, recording artist, and founder and producer of the annual Igunnuko African Heritage Festival in Charlotte, N.C., which draws over 25,000 people.
The Atlanta native learned stories from his grandparents, who were farmers, and his father and mother, who were a minister and beautician respectively. He began his professional career in 1971 as a percussionist for the Morris Brown College choir and the O.J. Harris African drummers and dancers.
For tickets, more information, or special assistance for those with disabilities, call Lea Brown at (423) 439-6708 or Dr. Keith Johnson at 439-7813.