what we do
Shidaa African Culture Project is a West African organization specializing in conducting workshops in schools and community organizations throughout Vermont and New England as well as the entire Northeast US to promote diversity through drumming, dance, fabric printing with Adinkra symbols, drum making, beading, and cooking. We believe in teaching traditional West African culture through drum/dance, fabric printing using Adinkra symbols, drum making, beading, and cooking. We specialize in conducting workshops and residencies for schools and community groups throughout Vermont, New England, and the Northeast.
In our 2019 Ghana Project, we expanded our services to shipping bicycles, toys, computers, and other household goods to distribute to needy children, families, and schools in Ghana.
Jordan Mensah, MBA
Jordan started traditional African Drumming at age 9 in Ghana. He grew up in Bukom, a suburb of Accra, a community where drum and dance played an integral part of all community activities.
He is a Juried Artist listed with the Vermont Arts Council, and has organized Onion River Arts and Community Connections sponsored residencies in elementary and high schools across Vermont, as well as workshops for adult community groups in Adamant, Barre and Plainfield. He is a resource person on African Traditional studies.
Heather Preis, MBA
Heather Preis is an accountant by profession, and the coordinator of the Ghana project. She ensures that shipments from Vermont to Ghana reach the needy.
Prosper is from La Côte D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast). A pioneering member of the Koteba National Dance Ensemble of La Cote D’Ivoire, he has performed all over the world. He has collaborated with Jeh Kulu drum/dance company. He is enthusiastic about teaching others African culture through dance and drums.
Julie Hunter, PhD
Julie, a native of Vermont, studied ethnomusicology at Brown University and completed her Ph.D. in 2011 with a specialization in the music of Africa.
She has studied a variety of West African drum and dance repertoire since 2001 and has performed with the Shidaa African Culture Project, Dromonaa Drum and Dance Group in Accra, Ghana, and Brown University’s Ghanaian Drumming and Dancing Ensemble. She has had the opportunity to work with expert performers including Martin Obeng, Gyane-Kwame Ahima, Daniel Atiso, Stephen Atiso, and Manavi Deku. Julie’s research focuses on the rise of women’s drumming in Africa, performance of gender in Ewe traditions, and use of music as a tool for community change. She is a lecturer of music at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, MA.