The sound of the Harlem Renaissance swept through O’Laughlin Auditorium at Saint Mary’s Thursday evening, as the College welcomed award-winning actress, singer and dancer Jasmine Guy and the Avery Sharpe Trio for their performance of “Raisin’ Cane: A Harlem Renaissance Odyssey,” director of media relations Gwen O’Brien said.Caitlyn Jordan | The Observer Inspired by the works of the musicians, composers, poets and actors of the Harlem Renaissance, the production is part of this year’s Shaheen/Duggan Performing Arts Series, O’Brien said.The play’s title refers to Jean Toomer’s 1923 book, “Cane,” which is considered by many to be one of the greatest works of the Harlem Renaissance, according to a report in the South Bend Tribune.Guy recited poetry from Harlem Renaissance-era poets including Gwendolyn Bennett and Langston Hughes. Guy also performed literary excerpts from some of the period’s most influential writers, including W. E. B. Dubois and Booker T. Washington, while dancing and singing to the musical backdrop of Sharpe’s trio.Director of Special Events, Richard Baxter said the community is incredibly fortunate to welcome the traveling production to campus.“This production is a rare opportunity for our students and community to experience the Harlem Renaissance through the presence of these talented performers,” Baxter said.“Raisin’ Cane” celebrates and honors the legendary voices of the Harlem Renaissance through text, song, music, movement and imagery, O’Brien said in the event’s press release.Though right on the heels of the college’s successful Christian Culture Lecture series speaker Reza Aslan, “Raisin’ Cane” presents an opportunity for students to learn about the history of modern day music through theatre and not the classroom, Baxter said.“It’s a little early in the season, so it was a little harsh from that standpoint,” he said. “I thought it would be worthwhile. It’s a labor of love for all the artists working on this piece. It’s such a rich topic, that I thought, ‘Yeah, let’s bring it in September.’ People aren’t too tired. They don’t have semester fatigue. They might be excited about this type of activity. That’s what led me to do it.”The production’s backdrop is the Harlem Renaissance at its peak with a modern artistic explosion of music, dance and self-expression, Baxter said.“You get a history lesson where the music and the dance add to the fabric of what you’re seeing,” he said. “You don’t just get a dry lecture or you don’t just experience the book, but you get this real engaging and invigorating performance from jazz musicians. It’s the best way to experience that kind of history.”Baxter said he was excited to hear Guy took on the project with the jazz trio, and he couldn’t wait to make it come alive at Saint Mary’s.“I am very familiar with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, which is what she was in before she really developed her broader career,” he said. “That dance company is one of the best dance companies in the world. I was familiar with her work in television, and kind of followed it.”Students interested in experiencing the origins of current music genres such as pop, hip hop or rap were encouraged to participate in this one-of-a-kind event, Baxter said.“This was a time where jazz was just beginning to come alive,” he said. “I mean this is the music that inspired Ella Fitzgerald [and] Billie Holiday, and from that came Motown, and from that rock, and from that what we have today. If students want an experience in what the background of the music they are listening to now is, [this production] is full of life. It’s almost a religious experience.”An intercultural and historical event for the entire community, “Raisin’ Cane” especially applies to the mission of Saint Mary’s, Baxter said.“If you look at the fact that we are educating women to make a difference on the world, those performers made an impact and a difference through their courage and through their artistry and through their talent and ability in the world of entertainment,” he said.To better understand today’s music and culture, Baxter said students should educate and enjoy themselves with this display of rich music and dance.“This is such an opportunity,” he said. “Make it count. Believe it or not, this is going to be better than a football game. That’s a promise.”Tags: Harlem Renaissance, O’Laughlin Auditorium, Raisin’ Cane
Aaron Donald (Courier Photo/William McBride/File)DALLAS (AP) – Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald and Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley are among five finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy for national defensive player of the year.Also chosen as finalists by the Football Writers Association of America were Florida State defensive back Lamarcus Joyner, Missouri defensive end Michael Sam and Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard. The award will be presented Dec. 9.Donald leads the country in tackles for loss with 22½, including 10 sacks.Mosley leads No. 1 Alabama in tackles with 79 and has broken up five passes.Joyner has 51 tackles for No. 2 Florida State, including 6½ for loss, and had forced three fumbles.Sam has three three-sack games and scored a touchdown on a fumble return. Dennard has three interceptions and seven pass breakups.
Dead: Ramnarine EtwaruAs Police intensify their investigation into the execution of Ramnarine Etwaru, whose body was found on a dam in East Canje, Berbice, with a single gunshot wound, two men have been arrested.The two men – a 38-year-old and a 46-year-old – were arrested late Tuesday evening by detectives. The men are from the same village as the deceased.Guyana Times understands that one of the two suspects and the now dead man had been at loggerheads over the ownership of a plot of land in the village.The body of Etwaru, 38, also called “Bill”, of Lot 84 Gangaram Settlement, East Canje, Berbice, was found on a dam about 400 metres into the cane field at Speculation.It is believed that the livestock farmer went to the area to tend to his animals. The body was discovered by a fisherman who reported to residents at Gangaram that the man had an accident and was lying on the dam next to his motorcycle.It was later discovered that he was shot several times, including once to his head.Detectives have since recovered four .38mm spent shells and one live round of ammunition at the scene.The dead man’s sister-in-law told Guyana Times that Etwaru recently developed a portion of land which was gifted to him.According to the woman, other livestock owners in the village were banned from going onto the land since Etwaru developed it. Meanwhile, the fact that Etwaru’s motorcycle was found in an upright position next to where the body lay leaves some to believe that he might have been lured off of the bike before being shot.Etwaru leaves to mourn his wife and an 11-year-old son. Police are continuing their investigations and are hoping to get a confession from the suspects as soon as possible.