Operation Unite NY

Saturday, December 16 at 5pm

Photo by David McIntyre

FREE; Open to All
Umoja Community Celebration

Presented in partnership with Operation Unite NY, come celebrate African-American culture and unity with friends and family. Join us for an afternoon of arts and crafts for children, dancing, drumming, a candle-lighting ceremony, and the sharing of Nguzo Saba; the seven principles of Kwanzaa.

This year’s Kwanzaa Umoja celebration features Ghanaian jazz percussionist Zorkie Nelson, his band Gballoi, and community dancers in collaboration with Elena Mosley.  


Gballoi West African Drum and Dance Company members include Artistic Director Zorkie Nelson, Felix Nelson, David Nunoo, Robert Nunoo, FoFo Neequaye. Joining Gballoi on stage are workshop dancers Sydney Allen, Marte Carey, Addison Geer, Elena Mosley, Donnay Edmund, Debbie Waithe, Donna Barrett, Anna Mayta, Petra Langer and the Kuumba Kids dancers.

Zorkie Nelson is a master percussionist, traditional flute player and vocalist specializing in the Ga cultural tradition. Born into a family of musicians in the West African city of Accra, Ghana, Zorkie has studied music since the age of seven. His accomplishments include performing as a part of Wynton Marsalis’ “Congo Square Tour” in 2006, and co-founding and conducting the Pan African Orchestra (PAO) in the 1990’s. Zorkie is the artistic director of West African Drummers and Dancers and a member of Yacup Addy’s “Oddada!”.

What is Kwanzaa?

Kwanzaa is a holiday observed by many African Americans. It is held on December 26th through January 1st. Doctor Maulana Karenga, Professor at California State University, Long Beach, California, started the celebration in 1966. This is a very informative and interactive program that is great for families wishing to learn about different cultural celebrations.
The seven-day Kwanzaa cultural holiday encourages people to think about their African roots as well as their life in present-day America. Kwanzaa is based on early African festivals and the word means “the first fruit”. The first night of Kwanzaa, Umoja (unity), represents striving for and maintaining unity in the family, community, nation, and race.

Hudson Hall’s programs are made possible with support from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.