Item Details

They Are We

Unshackled Media ; The University of Sydney ; Australian Research Council ; a film by Emma Christopher ; director & producer, Dr. Emma Christopher
Format
Video; DVD
Summary
They are we is the story of a remarkable reunion that takes place 170 or so years after a family was driven apart by the ravages of the transatlantic slave trade. In Central Cuba, proud members of the Gangá-Longobá, a small Afro-Cuban ethnic group, have kept their unique heritage alive. Incredibly, through decades of brutal enslavement, independence wars, and then the denying of all religions after the revolution, they have retained a collection of distinct songs and dances that one of their ancestors brought from Africa as a slave. Each December 17th they still perform them at the San Lazaro ceremony. After a chance discovery while working in West Africa, director Emma Christopher spent two years showing a film of the Gangá-Longobá songs and dances to several thousand people across Sierra Leone. Eventually, in an isolated village with no road access, one man looked at another in joy and wonder as he watched a recording of the Gangá-Longobá songs and said, "They are we!" Then the villagers joined in with others of the Gangá-Longobá songs, still recognizing them clearly despite all the years of separation. Returning to Cuba, Emma showed her findings to the Gangá-Longobá. "We are not so alone anymore", said one of their number, woodcarver and artist Alfredo Duquesne. Later he would say that knowing where he came from "is divine". In early 2013, after the law changed allowing them to freely leave Cuba, a trip was at last made to visit Sierra Leone. It turned into a remarkable celebration, a rare recognition of the tenacity and resolve of one young girl who once made the awful journey from Africa to Cuba, but never let her memories of home die. They are we tells the story of the Gangá-Longobá and of the village their ancestor called home. It is the story of how, just very occasionally, a family separated by the slave trade can reunite for the good of all.
Director
Dr. Emma Christopher; Emma Christopher
Performers
Featuring: Joe Allie, Lucy Amara, Baggie Kpanabum, Solomon Musa, Chief Mabudu Pokawa, Humberto Casonova, Alfredo Duquesne, Elvira Fumero, Yandrys Izquierdo, Magdelena Mora (Piyuya).
Release Date
2013
Run Time
77 min.
Language
Narrated in English; Spanish, Mende, Krio and English spoken with English subtitles
Notes
  • Documentary.
  • DVD release of the 2013 documentary.
  • This disc is a recorded DVD and may not play on all DVD players or drives.
Local Notes
Public performance rights secured. PPR for non-commercial and educational exhibition when no admission fee is charged.
Credits
Directors of photography, Javier Labrador, Lansana Mansaray (Barmmy Boy) ; editor, Joanna Montero.
Published
Brooklyn, NY : Icarus Films, [2015]
Description
1 videodisc (77 minutes) : sound, color ; 4 3/4 in.
DVD-R; widescreen; monaural.
Technical Details
  • Access in Virgo Classic

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    a| They are we is the story of a remarkable reunion that takes place 170 or so years after a family was driven apart by the ravages of the transatlantic slave trade. In Central Cuba, proud members of the Gangá-Longobá, a small Afro-Cuban ethnic group, have kept their unique heritage alive. Incredibly, through decades of brutal enslavement, independence wars, and then the denying of all religions after the revolution, they have retained a collection of distinct songs and dances that one of their ancestors brought from Africa as a slave. Each December 17th they still perform them at the San Lazaro ceremony. After a chance discovery while working in West Africa, director Emma Christopher spent two years showing a film of the Gangá-Longobá songs and dances to several thousand people across Sierra Leone. Eventually, in an isolated village with no road access, one man looked at another in joy and wonder as he watched a recording of the Gangá-Longobá songs and said, "They are we!" Then the villagers joined in with others of the Gangá-Longobá songs, still recognizing them clearly despite all the years of separation. Returning to Cuba, Emma showed her findings to the Gangá-Longobá. "We are not so alone anymore", said one of their number, woodcarver and artist Alfredo Duquesne. Later he would say that knowing where he came from "is divine". In early 2013, after the law changed allowing them to freely leave Cuba, a trip was at last made to visit Sierra Leone. It turned into a remarkable celebration, a rare recognition of the tenacity and resolve of one young girl who once made the awful journey from Africa to Cuba, but never let her memories of home die. They are we tells the story of the Gangá-Longobá and of the village their ancestor called home. It is the story of how, just very occasionally, a family separated by the slave trade can reunite for the good of all.
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Library Location Map Availability Call Number
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