Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Orisirisi African Folklore and Mead Gardens

Our second day at ArtsFest has been fun-filled. We wanted to attend a few events that were going on at the same time so we decided to split up. Corey chose to visit the Orisirisi African Folklore event; while I decided to spend the day with mother nature and catch the children having a blast racing their painted rubber ducks for prizes. Mead Gardens put on an event called ‘The Great Duck Derby.’ From the website ( “Get in the race! Come to Mead Garden for another fun filled day at the races. See hundreds of little rubber ducks as they race through the pond while the crowd cheers the lucky ducks across the finish line to win cool prizes!” I would love to hear from the families who attended if you have pictures of your rubber duckies to share with us. We welcome comments about your day as well. I can’t wait until the next race, I’ll be sure to bring all of my nieces and nephews with me.

The first story is about the African drummers and then about the garden. I was able to transform their words to my ears from my eyes to my fingers to write about one of the best stories I’ve ever heard about music, just by listening to Corey retell his experience at Orisirisi and watching the video footage he captured.

Orisirisi African Folklore performed at Orlando Public Library on Saturday, February 18 for ArtsFest. According to their website (, Orisirisi is one of the world’s most preeminent performing arts company, was created in 1986 with the expressed purpose of sharing both the beauty and poignancy of African life and culture.

Co-produced, directed, and performed by a husband and wife team comprised of Nigerian born folk-artist Adetutu Harrell and Don Harrell, a music scholar and performing artist, who is a life-long veteran of stage and screen. Orisirisi (a Yoruba word pronounced o-re-she-re-she) utilizes varied artistic forms to impart folk-knowledge and experiences to and for their audiences.

The duo shared their folktales, legends, and myths from the far corners of Africa with the audience. Their performance is a celebration of music, culture and the recreation of the African storytelling tradition; including drum and percussion instruments, audience participation, and fun learning for the entire family.
They presented the rich history by sharing with us that the stories are traditionally told during the evening by elders. The stories always had a way of explaining why things were the way that they were as well as teaching lessons about the difference between right and wrong, how to be a good friend, how to respect yourself and others, and especially to respect their elders. The stories included the playing of drums and singing and funny voices, which was very entertaining to watch. They wrapped up each story with a moral or cultural value.

            Orisirisi shared a few more stories with the audience on Saturday’s celebration of ArtsFest. I will leave it up to you to reach out to Orisirisi to hear more of their fantastic folklore. They enjoy teaching about their culture and were an educational and entertaining way to learn about the world around us and its rich history.

            Over at Mead Gardens, I was not able to film the race itself. I decided to stay and capture the beauty of the nature surrounding me while a few of the festivities were still happening. There were families all around who were having fun and enjoying the atmosphere of the Gardens. Not far from where the race took place, I found the amphitheater where symphonies play music and couples get married. 

written by Jessica Northey | 

Orisirisi African Folklore

Mead Gardens


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