'Spirit of Uganda' tour to raise awareness of Uganda

March 16, 2012

Kailey Kluge
Philadelphia Daily News

THE EASTERN Africa nation of Uganda is suffering from a rampant AIDS crisis and the fallout of war. Now a live show, "Spirit of Uganda" is touring the U.S. to raise awareness of the country's plight. In the show, 22 Ugandan children between the ages of 8 and 18 perform traditional dances to music representing regions in and around the country.

All of the show's music is original, based on traditional Ugandan music. A variety of drums, harps, and a 15-foot xylophone help create an authentic sound. "Each costume, set, and accompanying music is representative of the culture where the dance comes from," said artistic director Peter Kasule. For example, in the Central Ugandan "king dance," performers imitate the king of Uganda. Each dancer wears a bright yellow, red, and green costume and sways his waist gracefully.

"Spirit of Uganda" is meant to inspire. According to Kasule, the music uplifts the performers, too. "Every African child is educated through music, so it becomes therapeutic for them in the face of war," Kasule said.

Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 3680 Walnut St., 7:30 tonight, $20-$60, 215-898-3900, empower

Philadelphia Daily News