Two Oakland artists take on a massive mural in the city's downtown, only to find themselves at the center of the debate over gentrification and cultural resiliency.
C.K Ladzekpo is the director of the African music program at the University of California at Berkeley. He has combined a brilliant career as a performer, choreographer and composer with teaching and extensive scholarly research into African performing arts. He is a member of a famous family of African musicians and dancers who traditionally serve as lead drummers and composers among the Anlo-Ewe people of southeastern Ghana in West Africa. C.K. Ladzekpo has been a lead drummer and instructor with the Ghana National Dance Ensemble, the University of Ghana's Institute of African Studies, and the Arts Council of Ghana. He joined the music faculty of the University of California at Berkeley in 1973 and remains an influential catalyst of the African perspective in the performing arts. In 1973 he founded the critically acclaimed African Music and Dance Ensemble. As the company's artistic director, choreographer, and master drummer, he has led in many pioneering African dance and polyrhythmic percussion ensemble music presentations at major venues in the United States, Canada, and Europe. He has been artistic director of the Mandeleo Institute in Oakland since 1986. C.K. Ladzekpo's modern concert stage rendition of Atsiagbeko, a traditional war dance drumming suite of the Anlo-Ewe is one of the features in the television documentary "African Dance at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival" which continues to be a popular broadcast since its national premiere in 1988 on PBS. CK has received a number of awards for his work including: National Endowment for the Arts Choreographer's Fellowship (1988-1989); Irvine Choreographer's Fellowship (1999); and Ruth Beckford Extraordinary People In Dance Award (1999). CK has been a member of the faculty council of the East Bay Center for Performing Arts (Richmond CA) since 1974.