Campus & Community

A joyful noise

2 min read

Harvard Rituals

The Kuumba Singers of Harvard College celebrate the African-American aural tradition, and have done so for almost 40 years. The singers held their annual winter concerts, a holiday tradition of songs and dances, in Memorial Hall in early December.

The group’s Web site says its name was chosen because it “allowed for all modes of diasporic expression. In Swahili, ‘kuumba’ roughly means creativity, though the literal meaning is more subtle: It is the creativity of leaving a space better than you found it.”

Kuumba singer Amber James ’11 added, “The songs we sing and the dances we do and the poems we read, they are all designed to bring people together in celebration of black creativity and spirituality. The concert is so moving because of the range of emotions that are represented in music from the black diaspora. Pain, sorrow, strength, resilience, peace, joy, love, and countless others are all intensely felt through the music and movements.”