On Sunday, November 17, Scribe Video Center will premiere Philly Drums, a collection of new films produced through the 2013 Documentary History
Project for Youth (DHPY). The screening will take place at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia and is free and open to the public.
Each year the Youth Project focuses on an aspect of the social, political or cultural history of Philadelphia. This year’s documentary projects explore the
history of drumming in Philadelphia – including African drummers and shekeres, jazz drumming, Afro-Caribbean drummers, rock drummers, hip-hop percussion,
women drummers and orchestral drummers.
“Last year three African American men who had dedicated much of their lives to studying performing and teaching traditional African drumming died. Robert
Baba Crowder, Robert Artis, and Robert Franklin were respected members of the small primarily, African American and Cuban arts and cultural community. But,
beyond that community, these musicians were virtually invisible and unrecognized…Scribe decided that as a tribute to their dedication to the art of African
drumming that the 2013 Documentary History Project for Youth should focus on drum traditions in Philadelphia.” said Karen Warrington, one of the three DHPY
The films screening at this event include: The Legacy of Rock Drumming in Philadelphia by Aneesah Islam (New Media Tech Charter School) &
Olivia Johnson (Harriton High School), Give The Drummer Something Real by Chris Neal (A. Philip Randolph Career and Technical High School), African Drumming and Dancing: Marriage through the Ages by Gianna Smith (The Episcopal Academy), Jazz Drumming by Edison Quinones-Vasquez
(Frankford High School), and The Memory of Robert “Baba” Crowder by Kemi Jackson (Academy at Palumbo).
The event will celebrate the work of these young filmmakers. “Very few of the students selectehad much knowledge of African drumming, but they
enthusiastically accepted the challenge of researching the topic.
It has been a fascinating journey… as they searched through archival materials, examined gender issues within the world of drumming and became focused on
the harsh reality of slavery here in Philadelphia and the art forms enslaved African brought to our area.” Warrington said.
The DHPY program has had a positive impact on the youth who participate: “It’s pretty amazing to watch the development of the participants in the DHPY
program. They not only gain new skills in documentary filmmaking, they also begin to expand their skills as researchers, historians and young scholars.”
said Louis Massiah, executive director of Scribe.