Two Great Liberian Artists Visit Bong County

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Kpatawee Water Falls, even in dry season, is beautiful. So it was a good place to visit when multi-facted performing artist, Mabinti Shabu, came to Bong County last month. She even decided to take out one of her many traditional instruments, the bala (traditional xylophone), and play for the water falls to enjoy. Little did she know that the Kpatawee community had planned a meeting there at that very time. She was delighted! Then the community elder came to lead the meeting and he spontaneously began leading the singing too. All the community joined Mabinti in making beautiful music together.

Mabinti has loved music and performing since she was a child in Monrovia. She now plays contemporary and traditional instruments from keyboards and vibraphone to ngoni (traditional guitar) and African drums. We look forward to her and her brother, Teli, coming back to thrill us with their ensemble, Balankora.

Another Liberian artist, Marcelle Yhap, is an inspired teaching artist. She spent time teaching at Harlem Kid’s Zone in New York City and when she visited the Visual Arts Class at FORCE (Foundation for Recreation and Children’s Education) in Gbarnga, she decided she wanted to lead a project with the children.

So in January this year she presented “Visioning Your Future”, a training for the teachers and workshop for the students. Her easy manner and creative format quickly got everyone involved. They each learned to design their own vision board – an artistic road map to an exciting future for them. Instead of, “I want to sell” being the standard ambition, we heard visions like “I want to build houses and roads”, … “be an engineer or geologist”. Teachers are having a good time following up to keep the children’s visions of their bright futures alive. And Marcelle is surely returning to inspire us all again – soon.

Liberia Holds the Key

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