African drumming, belly dancing, interactive crafts and lots of music for the Ramble Arts & Music Fest



What do you call a fun, outdoor, multi-pronged event for adults, families, and kids of all ages?

This is of course the Batavia Ramble Explore Arts & Music Festival. Filled with a full day of live bands, African drumming, a larger-than-life puppet show, an interactive theater workshop, and Mexican, African, and belly dancers, this festival incorporates the best of images and sounds for the spectators, according to the organizers.

The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on July 2 in Jackson Square, nestled between Center and Jackson streets, Batavia.

Beginning the artistic end of the event at 10 a.m., there will be a children’s camp of art projects, face painting, temporary tattoos, caricatures, sidewalk chalk drawings, take-out crafts and other miscellaneous activities,” said GLOW Traditions Director Karen Canning. Camp will be at the Explore Art tent and will continue until 5 p.m.

Meanwhile, Artsapalooza has two sessions, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Aimed especially at families with young children, the palooza features the touring troupe from the Springville Center for the Arts centered around a theatrical performance by artists residents using large puppets. It’s an interactive theatrical experience that draws children into the fun as ukuleles and drums warm up the crowd, Canning said.

Walk-in visual arts stations encourage kids to make art while watching the show.

“It promises to be a fun and rewarding experience for all ages,” she said. “GO ART! is pleased to join the Ramble to add opportunities to explore dance, visual, theater and various musical arts. The Artsapalooza program that we are able to sponsor this year will definitely be something different and fun for everyone.


Later in the afternoon, the sounds of authentic traditional African drums, songs and dances from Ghana will be led by Quaye Odai of Womba Africa, a cultural drumming and dancing group who are part of the Ga Adangbe people in the greater Accra, Ghana.

Recognized as a tribe with a rich history and culture distinct from other major ethnic groups, these artists first came to the United States in 2019 to participate in America’s Got Talent. They settled in Rochester after the show and now give workshops and performances all over New York State at schools, libraries, community centers, festivals and parties.

“Wherever people are ready to move and renew their body and soul,” she said.

A workshop for families runs from 4-5pm with a performance from 5:30-6:15pm at the GO ART! arrange.


Womba Africa’s performances showcase their unique culture through costumes, instruments, rhythms, dances and songs, Canning said. The colorful Ghanaian fabrics of the costumes are inlaid with Adinkra symbols, each symbol having a special meaning.


Instruments include drums, xylophones, flutes, and a variety of shakers and bells. They are mostly handcrafted from wood, bamboo, gourds and seeds or beads, with goat, cow and antelope skins. Womba’s songs and beats “intertwine in a characteristically African polyphonic way, blending distinct voices into a tapestry of rhythm, harmony and color,” she said.

Next up is the Nisaa (pronounced Nee-Say) troupe, with many styles of belly dancing, from 6:30-7 p.m. ”


“The troupe strongly believes in the sisterhood bond of belly dancing, and supports and promotes female empowerment through their dance,” she said.

Alma de Mexico from 7:15 p.m. to 8 p.m. will crown this lively day on the theme of the arts.

karla_alcala.jpgKarla Slack Alcalá was born and raised in Mexico City and is in love with her country, its customs and traditions, Canning said. From an early age, Alcalá had a passion for dancing, and when she was 8, her mother “noticed her eagerness and happily enrolled her in Mexican folk dance lessons,” she said. declared.

“Karla has over 25 years of experience teaching at Casa de Cultura de Acolman, Grupo Mexicatlalli and other dance school programs in Mexico. She holds a Diploma in Art from CEDART Luis Spota and is an interdisciplinary artist and physical and wellness educator who focuses her efforts on Mexican traditions, Canning said.

“Karla has taught, performed and choreographed numerous dance programs in Mexican territory and in other countries such as Cuba, Belgium, Spain, the Basque Country and Guatemala,” she said. “She loves movement and has a degree in physical education. She believes that sport and dance are perfect tools for our abilities and the development of our motor skills. In her dance classes, there was always time to play and integrate the sport.

In 2013 Alcalá moved to the United States from Mexico and now makes the Rochester area his second home. With the aim of preserving the soul of Mexico, she leads the Alma de Mexico program as artistic director and is responsible for three different groups of children, young people and adults. The main goal of the program is to show its Mexican culture through music, costumes and folk dancing, Canning said.

“We are very excited to bring Womba Africa Drumming and Dance, master drummers and dancers from Ghana who have recently moved to the Rochester area. Along with Alma de Mexico and Nisaa Belly Dance, these artists engage audiences in their unique cultural traditions by sharing the pleasure of rhythm, movement, color and the pure joy of making music,” she said. . “There are many connections that audiences will find as they listen and watch – and move.”


Music-wise, event coordinator Paul Draper has a slew of bands to fill the day into the evening with tunes. The range includes:

  • The Ghost Riders
  • Groove
  • Warren Skye and Friends
  • Kiss the whiskey
  • Pilot
  • Trolls 2.0
  • lonely road
  • Marnie Kay and non-blonde people
  • Beethoven’s Dream Band
  • Sierra
  • Jostepa Trio
  • Noah Gokey
  • The Bluesway Group
  • Zackstreet Boys
  • Steve Kruppner
  • Tom Ryan and his friends
  • PD3
  • Knaudt and Chua
  • veted
  • midnight cruisers
  • Brick
  • Spare parts
  • High Pines
  • The repairers
  • Bad sign

Top photo: Womba Africa; a previous Batavia Ramble Arts & Music Fest; the drummers of Womba Africa; Nisaa Troop; Batavia walk. Artistic photos submitted by Karen Canning. Batavia Ramble 2018 archive photos. Photos by Howard Owens.


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