April 9-13 is Chinook Music Week. This is an annual event organised by Chinook Music Curriculum Advisory Committee, with the support of Chinook School Division. The focus is different every year and has in the past featured drums, brass, percussion and choral. This year the focus is on classroom music and features artist Just Aissi who will visit 10 schools during the week introducing students to Gumboots, a traditional South African art that mixes percussion and dance.
Gumboots (referring to the rubber boots worn) was developed in South Africa, some 100 years ago. The workers of the mines endured extreme work conditions, which lead them to unknowingly create this major cultural movement by using things they had as a rallying cry: their voices, water puddles, the ground … and their rubber boots. Today it is one of the most important traditional dances of the African Continent.
Just Aissi leads his participants through a complete experience, sharing his knowledge about the cultural, historical, geographical, linguistic and physical aspects of gumboots and skillfully combining music, dance, language, art and culture. In these innovative workshops Chinook students will stomp, sing and dance, using their rubber boots and their voices to create complex rhythms.
Just will be working with students in Cabri, Fox valley, Maple Creek, Gull Lake, Eastend, and Shaunavon as well as city schools Central, Centennial, Irwin and Fairview. This will be a fantastic learning experience for both students and teachers.
This year marks the 12th annual Chinook Music Week which began in 2006, when Chinook music educators were looking for ways to collaborate and bring in first class performers, educators and clinicians to work with Chinook students.