Local kids learn to sing, dance, and do the haka

An exciting new project is underway in Pembrokeshire’s primary schools as part of Narberth A Cappella Voice Festival, and it’s all a bit of a song and dance!

Molara Awen is leading a series of workshops as part of an inter-cultural project in association with Narberth A Cappella Voice Festival, February 21 to 23, and Span Arts, Pembrokeshire’s live arts charity, funded by Creu Cymru, the development agency for arts venues in Wales.

Under Molara’s tuition, local children are learning how to sing and dance by studying the world’s diverse civilisations, and even performing the haka!

In the weeks leading up to the festival, Molara and festival committee member and musician Ellen Mason have been visiting local primary schools, including Maenclochog, Tavernspite and Ysgol Brynconin in Llandisilio, sharing music from the five continents and talking about environment, language, sound, songs and people.

Each group of children is tasked with composing music inspired by the rhythms and melodies of a particular continent, which will be transformed by Ellen into a ‘round song’, and the students will perform the piece on the festival’s opening day on February 21.

Molara says that the project will help pupils “explore their creativity, learn the rudiments of music, express themselves emotionally, and become confident enough to perform in front of their peers. It will encourage them to expand their knowledge of the world, while promoting respect for other countries, cultures and languages.”

Molara’s music career goes back to the ‘90s, including work with reggae legends Bim Sherman and Devon Russell, and free jazz vocal experimentalist Maggie Nichols, before she joined the seminal live dub-dance sound system Zion Train. For the next 15 years she toured from Tel Aviv to Los Angeles, Moscow to Naples inspiring audiences with her energy and positivity.

Since 2007 she has been working in schools, coordinating a series of workshops in primary, secondary, special needs schools and pupil referral units.

Students will perform the finished piece at Narberth A Cappella Voice Festival on February 21. For information about attending the festival, visit span-arts.org.uk or call 01834 869323.

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