New Orleans theater will be graced with yet another magnificent touring production this summer. The new show coming up in July features the touring performance group Africa Umoja, a troupe of 40 entertainers from the Republic of South Africa, who are coming to New Orleans to perform at the Mahalia Jackson Theater July 10 – 13. They tour in 26 countries around the world, and they have performed for royalty and world leaders, so it is quite a treat that they’ve made a theater in New Orleans a stop along their way.
Africa Umoja is truly a feast for the senses. In each performance, you are taken back through time to experience the indigenous music, costumes, tribal rituals, dances, songs, and chants of traditional Black South African culture, much of which was almost lost through the changes and strife in the region. The tribal drum beats tell a story of history through music that moves through the ages, even to the more recent infusion of jazz and hip-hop into the sounds of the culture. The colors, the drums, the movement, and soul that surge throughout the show are captivating and enchanting. Because of the difficult past that the people of South Africa have faced, the performance features moments of reflection and homage, but that doesn’t stop the wild and jubilant nature of the show from taking over the performance.
“Umoja” loosely translates to “the spirit of togetherness,” and you really get a sense of that joy and purpose in watching the group perform. Africa Umoja is a great opportunity to learn about this diverse nation, but more importantly, you’ll end up feeling it with your soul. With the love for celebration and history that New Orleanians are known for, this show is right up our alley. Mark your calendars for this special night of New Orleans theater, because you will not want to miss it.