Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Performing artist, author, and cultural preservationist Ronald Daise has been awarded a $5,000 grant by the SC Arts Commission for the 2014 fiscal year.
Daise is vice president for creative education at Brookgreen Gardens and the former chairman of the federal Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission.
This project is funded in part by the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts. The support of the One-Time Project Grant will allow Daise to record a CD of original songs and poems documented in his book Gullah Branches, West African Roots.
“I’ve titled the project, ‘Gullah Tings fa Tink Bout,’” said Daise. “It’s important because it will artistically document the importance of Gullah Geechee culture and its connection to West African heritage. The materials, written during my travels to Ghana and Sierra Leone, West Africa, tell about my experiences and are set to the tunes of Gullah spirituals from my childhood. The project will benefit persons interested in information about Gullah Geechee culture – residents, tourists, youths, and adults. The themes that are highlighted include: African Diaspora; the common cultural connections of food ways, language, rice heritage, crafts, music; the tragedy of enslavement, the importance of family, and the resilience of survival.”
Daise will collaborate withTravis Winbush, a musician, producer, and Gullah native of Savannah, Ga. The two previously collaborated on the recording of “Gullah Geechee Mean a Lot!,” a song that Daise composed following election to the chairmanship of the Gullah Geechee Commission in 2012. It will be included on the CD.
During the commission’s involvement in the 2013 presidential inaugural parade, the song was broadcast from the float as it passed the presidential review stand.
Daise presents a weekly Gullah Geechee Program Series at Brookgreen Gardens. The grant deadline for completion is June 1.
A CD release date will be announced.