a name to call: sekou sundiata
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in the name of Sekou Sundiata to the New York Organ Donor Network or to the National Kidney Foundation.
Cultural revolutionary and prose magician Sekou Sundiata has made his transition from this world. Our prayers for comfort and spiritual empowerment go up for his family.
An official statement from the family:
At 5:47 AM on Wednesday, July 28, 2007, my beloved Sekou Sundiata passed
On behalf of Sekou and his family, thank you all for your expressions of
love and support and for your prayers. Cards can be sent to 296 Stuyvesant
Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11221
(received from Akilah Worksongs’ Put on Blast!)
“Sekou is one of the most distinctive and original DJALI (Poet, Historian, Musician Signifier) doing it. Sekou is Pre-Griot, meaning in the ancient tradition of ‘The Gleeman.’ Serious as light overhead in darkness.” -Amiri Baraka
Sekou Sundiata was born in Harlem in 1948 and grew up there. His work is deeply influenced by the music, poetry, and oral traditions of African American culture. A self-proclaimed radical in the 1970s, for the past several decades he has used poetry to comment on the life and times of our culture. His work, which encompasses print, performance, music, and theater, has received praise for its fusion of soul, jazz, and hip-hop grooves with political insight, humor, and rhythmic speech. He regularly records and performs on tour with artists such as Craig Harris and Vernon Reid.
Sekou Sundiata is a poet who writes for print, performance, music and theater. Born in Harlem, Sundiata came of age as an artist during the Black Arts/Black Aesthetic movement of the 1960s and 1970s. He has been a Sundance Institute Screenwriting Fellow, a Columbia University Revson Fellow, a Master Artist-in-Residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts (Florida) and the first Writer-in-Residence at the New School University in New York. He was featured in the Bill Moyers’ PBS series on poetry, “The Language of Life,” and as part of Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry Jam on HBO. Sundiata is currently a professor at Eugene Lang College in New York City.
He has written and performed in the highly acclaimed performance theater works —The Circle Unbroken is a Hard Bop, which toured nationally and received three AUDELCO Awards and a BESSIE Award; The Mystery of Love, commissioned and produced by New Voices/New Visions at Aaron Davis Hall in New York City and the American Music Theater Festival in Philadelphia; and Udu, a music theater work produced by 651 ARTS in Brooklyn and presented by the International Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven, the Walker Art Center and Penumbra Theater in Minneapolis, Flynn Center in Burlington, VT, the Hopkins Center at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, and Miami-Dade Community College in Florida.
Sundiata’s most recent theatrical piece, blessing the boats, brings the story of five tumultuous years of his life into perspective as it relates his experience with the life threatening illness and recovery of kidney failure and organ transplant. This work opened in November 2002 and continues to tour nationally.
Sundiata has recorded and performed his poetry with a range of musicians, including Craig Harris, David Murray, Nona Hendryx and Vernon Reid. His first recording, The Blue Oneness of Dreams (Mouth Almighty/Mercury), and its successor, longstoryshort
(Righteous Babe Records), are both rich with the sounds of blues, funk, jazz and African and Afro-Caribbean percussion. He has toured internationally with his band; in 2001, they performed in 23 cities in the United States and Canada as part of Ani DiFranco’s “Rhythm and News Tour.”