MONARCH — Orisirisi (pronounced O-re-she-re-she) is a Yoruba term meaning “different things” and the students and faculty of Monarch Elementary School recently enjoyed some different things courtesy of a visit by the Orisirisi African Folklore performing arts company.
In a statement released Thursday, Monarch Elementary School announced that it “had some very exciting visitors” at the school in December. The press release states that MES “is partnered with The Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg this year. The Chapel Cultural Center works closely with a program called the MUSE Machine. The MUSE Machine program visits elementary schools to share various cultures, customs and traditions with the students.”
Shortly before Christmas break, the MUSE Machine provided the school’s students and faculty with “the opportunity to experience an African Folklore group called Orisirisi. The group consisted of Adetutu Harrell and Don Harrell, a husband and wife team that travel to share African culture with surrounding schools. The two special visitors sang songs with the children, allowed them to play instruments, and captivated their audience with story telling.”
Orisirisi African Folklore is a performing arts company formed in 1986 with the expressed purpose of sharing the beauty and poignancy of African life and culture. Orisirisi African Folklore spins yarns of tales that none will soon forget! Audience participation.
Co-produced, directed, and performed by a husband and wife team comprised of Nigerian born folk-artist Adetutu Harrell and Don Harrell, a music scholar and performing artist who is a life-long veteran of stage and screen, Orisirisi utilizes varied artistic forms to impart folk-knowledge and experiences to and for their audiences.
Ilenbilu Adetutu, a graduate of Crown College, London England is an extraordinarily talented musician, dancer, singer, and storyteller with cultural specific background that spans decades. Tutu, as she is widely known, shares the rich cultural heritage of her ancestry with love that knows no boundaries.
Don holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies from Union College, Schenectady, New York, a Master of Arts degree in African Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles, and has completed additional studies, at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana. With full knowledge of the usefulness of the use arts as tools in positive social change, he has for many years worked tirelessly with this end in mind.
Nigerian born folk-artist Adetutu Harrell (right) and her husband, Don Harrell, (left) of the Orisirisi African Folklore performing arts company performed at Monarch Elementary School this past December. The couple shared African culture with the students and faculty at the school, singing songs with the children, allowing them to play their instruments, and captivating their audience with story telling. Here they pose for a picture with five children of Monarch Elementary’s 4K program.