The Joy Collaborative is about creating and sharing JOY.
This project is inspired by the joyful sounds of the music found on the continent of Africa. These sounds have been the “call” that three artists in the United States have created a “response” to. Their response is music that uplifts and refreshes the soul.
The music of Africa is expansive, expressive and transformational. It springs from a long history of voicing Spirit’s reality and power through sound. From tribal songs played on one-stringed instruments to intricate polyrythmic chants played on drums, or sung; to modern electronic music, cutting edge bands and choirs of stunning power… Africa has as large a range of music as Africa is herself.
It would be a mistake to stereotype and pigeonhole the music produced on this amazing continent, including the islands off the coasts of both sides of Africa; from Madagascar on the eastern side to Cape Verde on the western side. There are many tribes, cultures, customs, and religions within Africa… and within each country of Africa. Each country has distinct and varied styles of music and the people their own unique ways of how that music is expressed, derived from a vibrant history that courses through generations past.
In this interplay and unfolding of the rich cultures and history of Africa there is, in the music, a joy that can be heard and felt through it all. It seems to emanate from the continent as a whole; as a unified entity, no matter the human-made divisions. Perhaps it is the instruments themselves, hewn from the earth, sculpted with the heart, and played by the spirit. Perhaps it is Africa’s placement in the warmest area of the planet, or because of its role as the birthplace of humanity. Or, perhaps it comes from a deep commitment to make a joyful noise no matter what life brings… to celebrate that we are here, and here with each other, able to share the gift of life, laughter, family, friends and community.
It does not take much to create joy. It simply takes willingness. A metal can or glass bottle struck rhythmically with a stick will do. Voices chanting together in syncopated harmonies will suffice. Ululations that split the air, saying things no words can match, will work just fine. It is the creative, expressive soul that makes the difference; that uses what is available as an instrument… of joy.
It is this joy we want to hold within ourselves and share with you.
The music presented on this website is our combined effort to honor what Africa has given us. We hope it inspires you in whatever way is meant.
We call it…
THE JOY COLLABORATIVE.
The seeds that have inspired this project began with playwright and musician Dr. Jeannine Goode-Allen of Boulder, Colorado. Jeannine’s passion for the music of Africa fueled a vision to perform the music of this vast continent. Gravitating to its innate joy, she decided to make it happen; to take in as much knowledge as she could while experiencing the joy she felt through the singing, movement, and rhythms. She asked her husband, David Sharp, a writer and tap dancer, if he wanted to join her in this pursuit. He said yes. She then sought out composer and music educator Gary Grundei, who agreed to join Jeannine and David on this odyssey. Together, they dove into Africa.
Beginning in March of 2012 the three of them began taking African singing classes, learning many songs from different countries; from lullabies to songs that demanded movement while singing. David and Jeannine took African dance classes. Gary guided them weekly, looking at a different country each week; from the tribes and peoples to the politics, music, songs and dance that each country produced. They spent two and a half years touring Africa through whatever means they could find, including online tutorials, books, videos, going to see African Artists perform, and talking with artists that came to the Denver/Boulder area to teach. They experienced artists from Ghana to Zimbabwe, from Mali to South Africa. They have listened to thousands of songs, read about hundreds of artists, and looked at countless videos about the culture, wisdom and beauty of Africa. They have studied the ancient histories and present-day aesthetics that form the ground from which the music is created.
The goal is to experience for themselves the joy they witness in the people, hear through the music and songs… and to understand the spiritual nature and source of such joy. They believe music is a universal language – and the music of Africa speaks to them loudly. Their desire is to let what they have discovered influence their own creation of music, and the performance of that music. The Joy Collaborative is about sharing this JOY… a joy that has grown from musical seeds blown into their souls from the continent of Africa.
“There will ultimately be nine songs presented here, as the next few months unfold. We hope you enjoy the first one… WHERE DO YOU FIND JOY?”
(Jeannine, David and Gary)
Who We Are
Gary Grundei is a composer and musician who has worked with Meredith Monk, Bill Pullman, Barbara Dilley, Janet Feder, Ron Miles, and the Denver Broncos. His compositions have been heard at Kennedy Center, Denver Center Theatre Company, New York Stage and Film, the Magic Theatre and Boettcher Concert Hall. He has performed at Carnegie Hall and currently teaches at Naropa University in Boulder, CO.
Dr. Jeannine Goode-Allen is a playwright and performer, musician and teacher inspired by the use of sound, poetry and image to elevate and enlighten. Her mission is to help people reconnect to the arts in personal ways that become vehicles for transformation. (viriditasllc.com)
Dr. David Sharp is a poet, writer, performer and Presbyterian minister. He has written for numerous publications, performed on Broadway, in Hollywood film and tv productions, pastored churches in California’s Bay area, has released two CDs, and has a novel published. (powerforlifenow.com)