Directed by Stephanie McKee and developed by dancers Kesha McKey, Kai Knight, Jeremy Guyton and poet Sunni Patterson, Gomela/to return: Movement of Our Mother Tongue takes us on a journey through time and space. Making evident the connection between Africa, Haiti, and New Orleans, Gomela highlights the vibrant and percussive movements and stories that breathe life into ancient African dance and drumming and contemporary artistic expression, such as spoken word, hip-hop and jazz.
Gomela is an experience of collective memories passed down from generation to generation, a tapestry woven by a group of multi-disciplinary artists who represent the diversity of African Americans who call New Orleans home. Gomela is based on hope, survival, courage and the resilience that exists in the face of oppression. It is about the heartbeat of a people that will never die, the culture and traditions that continue to evolve, grow and survive the test of time. Lighting designer Evan Spigelman, sound designer Muthi Reed, projection designer Jason Foster, costume designer Ja’nese of Aya Designs and recorded music by trumpeter Troy Sawyer and singer Janet “Sula Spirit” Evans of Zion Trinity will bring life to the sights and sounds of Gomela.
With plans to bring Gomela to cities and towns across the country, Junebug Productions will use this performance to engage in deep dialogue about Place Matters – gentrification and the Right of Return of New Orleanians displaced after Katrina; and Black Lives Matter – the beauty and resilience of black people, past and present. The discussions will be rooted in the values of Junebug's story circle process that encourages audiences to share their own experiences that are sparked by the performance.
Gomela/to return: Movement of Our Mother Tongue is made possible with funding by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Theater Project, with lead funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Gomela is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund Project with additional support from the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation.
The CAC is supported in part by a Community Arts Grant made possible by the City of New Orleans and administered by the Arts Council New Orleans, and by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council. Funding has also been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works.