The World Beat Workshop

By: Venton Blandin Email
By: Venton Blandin Email

February 15, 2007

After a couple days off, students in Charlottesville returned to class on Thursday, and many of them spent time celebrating Black History Month.

A lesson on the first day back had students marching to the beat of a different drum.

Every beat, and every rhythm has a connection.

"We trace one basic rhythm, and we follow it throughout all the different dances," said Robert Jospe of the World Beat Workshop.

Robert Jospe and Kevin Davis are part of the World Beat Workshop.

Their head-shaking, toe-tapping, and groovy music entertained Johnson Elementary School students, but also taught them about the African influence on music.

"It brings together history, culture, and music into one program," added Jospe.

The workshop uses maps which show the travel paths of each rhythm to and from its native country. It ends up being more fun than educational.

The musicians are glad it gives the same feeling to everyone no matter what language they speak.

"We can communicate just through music. Written music, no paper, and our emotions will connect," said Kevin Davis of the World Beat Workshop.

Whether the students know it, or not; they walk away with a little more knowledge of music than before.

"It's kind of great because all I really know is American Gospel, and stuff like that. That is all I really know," said Johnson Elementary School Student Malik Wingate.

The World Beat Workshop is funded by a grant from the Virginia Commission for the Arts touring program. It has gone to hundreds of schools across the country.

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