Soul Session Showcases Untapped Talent
By Nabilah Talib

Soul Session in “The House” (Afrikan Heritage House) is an event most people of color don’t miss. The first Soul Session of the year last Saturday in Lord’s lounge continued a 30-year-old Afrikan Heritage House tradition showcasing talent within the Africana community.
Soul Session is an artistic “safe space” where students recite poetry, perform interpretive dances, sing favorite songs –- from Billy Holiday to Jill Scott –- or simply make a group of people laugh and enjoy themselves.
Those performers volunteered by their friends are usually known for being talented and able to create a wonderful performance at a moment’s notice. So, originality, creativity, enthusiasm and soul are all that is required from those who wish to perform.

Soul Session can be compared to Showtime at the Apollo because it is a variety show where every type of talent gets displayed and appreciated. Booing and embarrassing performers are strictly prohibited – Soul Session is meant to uplift the souls of people through artistic expression and creativity.
This year’s first Session went extraordinarily well. Every seat was filled, leaving little standing room for latecomers.
“It was a wonderful display of talent,” sophomore Donnell Kelly said.
The MCs were senior James Anderson and sophomore Morgan Shelton. This particular Soul Session was titled “Unplugged” because, according to junior Deshaun Snead,“[The event] relied solely on quiet audience members and the room’s acoustics.”

Snead said that Soul Session — “Unplugged” was more intimate and communal than past Sessions with added amplification, reiterating the importance of call and response in the Africana community.
Call and response involves the performers as well as the audience – the act of call and response is usually called by the performer and responded to by the audience.
Trina and the Ohio Playas – senior LaTrina Jackson and sophomores Alesha Washington and Nicole Burford -- gave a memorable performance.

The group called in the form of poetry accompanied by an African drum and acoustic guitar, all of which evoked the response of smiles and handclaps, making the performance that much more dynamic.
While listening to the poem “In to mate” (intimate), one could hear the intermittent “ummm’s” and “uhuh’s” that expressed a communal understanding and appreciation for the group’s creativity.
Burford said she first got the idea for the group and performance while visiting her neighbors Jackson and Washington.
“Trina had some poetry that she wanted to share; I just started beating on her drum she had in her room, Alesha got her guitar and it was on!” Burford said.
A lot of the talent for Soul Session is discovered in spontaneous ways, bringing wood to the creative fire that has kept soul session burning 30 years strong.

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