Trade/itions: Trans-Atlantic Orisha Sacred Traditions

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Saturday, February 27 - Sunday, February 28

City College Center for the Arts at City College of New York

Trade/itions is a two-day symposium event which will explore the points of Orisha intersections through an artistic, activist, and 21st Century lens. The global Yoruba-based spiritual practices that were carried to the Americas as a result of the transatlantic slave trade serve as the foundation for this two-day gathering. Principal demonstrations and social impacts of these traditions will be shown – through music, dance, panel-dialogue sessions, altar installations, and through the moving image, along with how these practices have adapted, survived, and transformed in the western hemisphere. This symposium draws its title from the wordplay between “traditions”, and “trade” – the trade of cultural influences, the trade of human beings, and of those historically-traded physical spaces experienced by millions since the close of the 15th century, all of which shape the thematic charge, as well as the organizing principle for this event.  

Traditional artistic forms, and how those forms are being impacted by current trends of living today in the 21st century will be of focus.  Programs and activities have been carefully curated to include expressions of various regions representative of the Orisha tradition of the Americas: Cuba, Haiti, Brazil, Trinidad, and the United States.

Performers will include: Baba Neil Clarke with Iyesá Drum Ensemble, & featured Akpon, Amma McKen; Master Cuban Percussionist, Roman Diaz & Ensemble, and from Trinidad, Something Positive. Celebrating the 35th anniversary of his iconic work, FLASH OF THE SPIRIT, Saturday opens with a special Dialogue-Conversation with Dr. Robert Thompson.

Also, NYC Film Premiere of

Yemanja: Wisdom from the African Heart of Brazil


Narrated by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker

Yemanjá Wisdom from the African Heart of Brazil, is a documentary film about the Candomblé spiritual tradition in Bahia, Brazil, a vibrant African-derived culture which evolved from slavery's brutal past. Elder women leaders tell stories of Candomblé's history, social challenges and triumphs,
grounded in strong community, and Earth-based wisdom and practice.


Saturday, February 27th, 2016


Dialectical Dialogues & Kongo Konversations: Honoring the 35th Anniversary of Flash of the Spirit with Dr. Robert Farris Thompson.


CCCADI Special Tribute: Honoring  Iyalorisha Lourdes Lopez, Iyalorisha Amma McKen, Babalorisha John Mason, and Dr. Robert Farris Thompson.

4:30 - 6:00pm

Panel: Orisha as Activist: Recharging Our Purpose, Utilizing Our Power. Moderated by Elizabeth Yeampierre. Panelists include: Karla N. Moore, Alex LaSalle, Lumumba Bandele, and Dr. Sheriden Booker.


Evening Performance: Trade/itions: In Honor of Our Orishas with Baba Neil Clarke with Iyesá Drum ensemble, & featured Akpon, Amma McKen; Master Cuban Percussionist, Roman Diaz & Ensemble, and from Trinidad, Something Positive.

Sunday, February 28th, 2016

1:00pm- 3:00pm

Film Screening Premiere: Yemanja: Wisdom from the African Heart of Brazil with Post - film screen panel. Moderated by Angela Fontanez. Panelists include: Donna Roberts, Paulo Bispo, Amma McKen, and Dr. Cheryl Sterling.


Roundtable Discussion: NextGen: Legacy, and Living in OrishaModerated by Dowoti Desir. Panelists include: Marinieves Alba, Ayanda Clarke, Danny Rodriguez, and Funlayo E. Wood.

Trade/itions: Trans-Atlantic Orisha Sacred Traditions Symposium is made possible with the generous support of

National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito and Ford Foundation