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Live Music: The Sankofa Project

Painting by Jacob Lawrence

Jacob Lawrence, Migration, 1947. Egg tempera on hardboard. Museum purchase, American Art Trust Fund, Dr. Leland A. and Gladys K. Barber Fund and Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd, by exchange, 2010.1

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Koret Auditorium

The Sankofa Project, led by Keenan Weber, plays music of Africa and America, including traditional blues, jazz, and Americana.

The term sankofa originates from West Africa and means "go back and get it." The sankofa symbol is a bird flying forward while looking backward. The symbolism conveys the idea of going back to reclaim our past so that we can move forward, to understand why and how we came to be who we are today. The group's repertoire reflects on the meaning of the sankofa, sharing the melodic and rhythmic richness of the African diasporas in the Americas and the Caribbean along with African roots music. The musicians play percussion, string, and wind instruments and engage in various collaborations with talented musicians from around the globe.

About the Visions Series
The Visions Series began as a film program at the de Young last winter celebrating the significant contributions that the peoples of African descent have made and continue to make in art and culture. This year we have expanded this idea, and for five months continue to celebrate and explore various aspects of Black cultural expression. Many collection objects at the de Young inspire this series:  the collection of traditional African art; and the works of various African and African American artists, including Joshua Johnson, Horace Pippin, Jacob Lawrence, Elizabeth Catlett, Aaron Douglas, Claude Clarke, Robert Colescott, Mildred Howard, Oliver Jackson, El Anatsui, Raymond Saunders, Richard Mayhew, and Walter Hood.

Visual and performing artists from the Bay Area community participate with live music, spoken word, films, and artist-led conversations. Tours and lectures of related art at the de Young also will be included. Visions Series programs take place at the de Young, on select Sunday afternoons and Friday evenings. Upcoming programs include:

  • May, 9, 7–8:30 p.m. Spoken-word artists devorah major and Kim Shuck
  • June 20, 7–8:30 p.m. Live music by John Santos Sextet celebrating the African diaspora
Ticket Information

Limited free tickets are available at 5:30 pm in front of Koret Auditorium. Seating begins at 6:30 pm. No reservations.