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Afro-Rock group comes to Ivy Tech

By Clay Winowiecki - cwinowiecki@chronicle-tribune.com

Ivy Tech Community College is welcoming the afro-rock band Jabali Afrika to its Marion Campus.

The afro-rock group, which hails from Kenya, is a multi-faceted band featuring a fusion of African rhythms. The performance, titled “Jabali Afrika: The Rock of Africa Comes to America,” will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 12 from noon to 1:30 p.m. inside the campus conference center. The university is bringing the group to campus to showcase diversity.

"I've been trying to do events that would promote diversity and cultural awareness," said Lonnie Peek, assistant director of Student Life. "It's what we try to do with all of our events."

Peek said the band provides a unique opportunity for students.

"It's important because it exposes our students and the community to a diversity and culture they've never been able to experience," Peek added. "It's a once in a lifetime thing."

The band is made up of former members of the Kenyan National Theater. Jabali Afrika has enjoyed a notable career, even performing at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. to celebrate President Obama's inauguration.

Their performance includes original compositions and traditional African rhythms, which showcase a variety of instruments and vocal harmonies.

The performance also features traditional dance and African tribal costumes.

Marion's Ivy Tech Chancellor, Alex Huskey, looks forward to the group coming to campus.

"We're excited to be able to have an opportunity to showcase diversity and talent," Huskey said. "(It's) an opportunity to invite our community in to experience our campus and our students."

Huskey said multicultural experiences are important to enrich the student body.

"Anytime you can provide an opportunity for students to be exposed to things they're not usually exposed to, it's an opportunity to learn and to understand," he said. "And with that, you get better relationships."

Jabali Afrika is free and open to the public.

"We're really trying to get a full house," Peek said. "Our students are a reflection of the community, and our community is a reflection of the students."