Cheryl Thomas

Make and Play Shekere
Artistic Discipline: Folk Arts
Category: Brooklyn Arts Fund
Grant Year: 2020
Location: Bedford-Stuyvesant

Cheryl Thomas relishes presenting the unusual gourd music history in schools, libraries, museums, cultural organizations. She wishes to continue to document the history of the gourd, gourd instruments, performers, gourd items, and all things gourd. By giving lessons in the art and science of playing the shekere, and hands-on workshops in making various Gourd instruments, Thomas carries on the legacy of this storied instrument. She propagates the tradition of dedicating services to continue the cultural, educational, and musical traditions that will serve to re-create and enhance knowledge of the gourd.

Thomas will give twelve workshops, one being a final performance, in a Brooklyn neighborhood community space on the art, science, and techniques of playing and making the Shekere. Through these hands-on workshops, and making a shekere gourd instrument, participants will expand their knowledge of the sights, sounds, and feel of this traditional instrument. The project will encourage children and adults to come explore gourds by expanding the facts, regarding the origin, preparation, cultural, spiritual and historical significance.