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'Drum Beat Journey' Documentary Follows Four African-American Street Musicians From Chicago To Senegal

Drum Beat Journey is a new documentary project that follows a group of four African-American street musicians from Chicago to Senegal.


Drum Beat Journey is a new documentary project that follows a group of African-American bucket drummers on a musical pilgrimage from Chicago's South Side to Senegal. In July 2012 Eritrea-born social worker and filmmaker Elilta Tewelde traveled with four teenaged street musicians to Petit Mbao, Senegal, for a two-week drumming workshop with Senegalese Griot percussionist Medoune Gueye (aka Papa Dame). "We are here to expose our young people to a culture they have never experienced before in their lives," executive director of the Washington DC-based Rhythm N Dance Kevin L. McEwen says in the film's campaign video. "Being an African-American means that you are part of the African diaspora. Yes you're from the South Side of Chicago, but you're also part of a greater whole... The thing that's most important about it is understanding your ancestors came from here, and they were forcibly taken from here over there." Drum Beat Journey, produced by Tewelde along with Kate Benzschawel and Mallory Sohmer, is still in production. Learn more about the project via the film's Indiegogo pageFacebook and Twitter, and watch an early trailer below.

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