Fanga song

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Fanga is a dance "interpretation of a traditional Liberian invocation to the earth and sky".[citation needed] The dance is derived from Liberia[1][2] or Sierra Leone.[2] The first performance of a version of Fanga in the United States may have been by Asadata Dafora in 1943;[2][3][4]; Marcia Ethel Heard believes that Primus hid Dafora's influence on her work.[5] The dance was written by Pearl Primus in 1959 in conjunction with the National Danche Company of Liberia.[citation needed] Fanga was one of the dances through which Primus sought to stylize and perpetuate African dance traditions by framing dance as a symbolic act, an everyday practice, and a ceremony.[6] It was then further popularized by Primus' students, sisters Merle Afida Derby and Joan Akwasiba Derby.[3][2] Babatunde Olatunji described Fanga as a dance of welcome from Liberia and he, and many others, used a song created by LaRouque Bey to go with the rhythm and dance, assisted by some of the students in his Harlem studio, during the early sixties. Bey used words from the Yoruba and Vai languages (alafia = welcome; ashe = so be it; fanga = drum) and an African American folk melody popularized by American minstrels (Li'l Liza Jane).[citation needed]<>



  • Heard, Marcia Ethel (1999). Asadata Dafora: African Concert Dance Traditions in American Concert Dance (Ph.D.). New York University, School of Education. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  • Olatunji, B.; Atkinson, R.; Akiwowo, A.A. (2005). The Beat of My Drum: An Autobiography. Temple University Press. ISBN 978-1-59213-354-3.
  • Schwartz, P.; Schwartz, M. (2011). The Dance Claimed Me: A Biography of Pearl Primus. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-15534-1.
  • Welsh-Asante, K.; D'Amboise, J.; Hanley, E.A. (2010). African Dance. World of dance. Chelsea House. ISBN 978-1-60413-477-3.

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