Jacqueline Godden | Invocations For Kwanzaa

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Invocations for Kwanzaa

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Spoken Word: With Music Kids/Family: Children's Storytelling Moods: Mood: Seasonal
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Invocations For Kwanzaa

by Jacqueline Godden

A 2-CD Set of Original stories and music about the principles of the 7 days of Kwanzaa that you and your family will want to hear - year after year - again and again.(2 Hrs.)
Genre: Spoken Word: With Music
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Seven Days of Kwanzaa
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4:28 album only
2. Umoja (Music & Story)
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18:06 album only
3. Kuchichagulia (Music & Story)
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8:22 album only
4. Ujima (Music & Story)
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5:16 album only
5. Ujamaa (Music & Story)
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17:18 album only
6. Nia (Music & Story) (disc 2)
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9:53 album only
7. Kuumba (Music & Story)
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12:21 album only
8. Imani (Music & Story)
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8:47 album only
9. 7 Days of Kwanzaa (Music Only)
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4:33 album only
10. Umoja (Music Only)
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5:00 album only
11. Kuchichagulia (Music Only)
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2:51 album only
12. Ujima (Music Only)
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2:39 album only
13. Ujamaa (Music Only)
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3:36 album only
14. Nia (Music Only)
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4:44 album only
15. Kuumba (Music Only)
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4:31 album only
16. Imani (Music Only)
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3:30 album only


Album Notes
INVOCATIONS FOR KWANZAA: Suite I - Seven Nights with Nana & Achebe

COME CELEBRATE Kwanzaa! an African American Harvest Festival Holiday with this 2-CD set of original music and stories for the Seven Days of Kwanzaa (Dec.26th through Jan. 1st of the new year). These captivating tales and songs will bring you back again and again to listen to this timeless work of art.

A Perfect gift for you, your family, and your whole community for the holidays ' Inspirational and educational for the classroom or wherever or whenever children ' young and old - come together to learn, to play and to celebrate in joyful creativity.

Story Line of: Seven Nights with Nana & Achebe

It is the time of the celebration of Kwanzaa in the African American Community.
10-year old Achebe's beloved Nana has recently joined the ancestors. Each night of Kwanzaa she visits him in his dreams and brings her Book of Life, filled with living pictures of the Spirit of the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa. Revelations appear and stories unfold with music and dance.

Chanting voices
interweaving and overlapping.
ancestral and ever present
Calling forth
The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa
the Nguzo Saba

Story and Music are written, sung and spoken by Jacquie Godden. Percussion is arranged and performed James Imani Henry with added percussion by Rondo Raja.


Kwanzaa is an African American holiday of seven days, beginning December 26th and ending January 1st of the new year. The word Kwanzaa is Swahili for the' first fruits of the harvest'. Our African American celebration, created by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966, has joined an ancient tradition of harvest festivals which happened throughout Africa.

Kwanzaa is a time when African Americans come together to give thanks to our Creator for our lives. We honor the memory of our ancestors and our past, we reaffirm the values that have kept us strong and we celebrate our heritage, our accomplishments and all the good in our lives.


At the heart of this celebration are the seven universal principles or the Nguzo Saba:
1.Umoja ' for unity
2.Kuchichagulia ' for Self determination
3.Ujima ' for collective responsibility
4.Ujamaa ' for Prosperity in our communities' economic lives
5.Nia ' for purpose
6.Kuumba - for creativity
7.Imani ' for Faith

Each Night of Kwanzaa, a candle on the kinara (candleholder) is lit on the Kwanzaa altar to symbolize the principle of that day.

Kwanzaa has joined the Festivals of Lights celebrated by mankind in the latter part of the year during the time of the longest nights in the northern hemisphere Duvali of the Hindus, Channuka of the Jews, Christmas from European cultures and now Kwanzaa of the African Diaspora. It is estimated that more than 50,000,000 people throughout the world celebrate Kwanzaa, with more celebrants added each year.


Jacquie Bratcher Godden's work is inspired by her love of nature, music and world cultures. Her musicial background includes Western classical music, North Indian classical music, jazz, gospel, and folk. She has been a professional dancer with a background in modern, jazz ballet, African and Kathak dance. In 1998 she was recipient of the Marin Arts Councils Individual Arts Grants in the category of Music Composition for Invocations for Kwanzaa ' Suite 1 (the soundtrack of Seven Nights with Nana and Achebe).


to write a review

Michael Irvine - Music Librarian - College of Marin

imaginative, informative and masterfully-told story with eight beautifully compo
Invocations For Kwanzaa (Seven Nights with Nana & Achebe)
-Original Story and Music by Jacqueline Godden

In this imaginative, informative and touching story, created and performed by Ms. Godden, we are immersed in the magic of Kwanzaa, an African-American celebration of the harvest and the New Year that honors God and ancestors while teaching the history and traditions of Africans in this country. Originated in 1966 by Dr. Karenga, Kwanzaa is observed by more than 18 million people worldwide. Kwanzaa, meaning “beginning” or “first fruits of the harvest” in the African language Kiswahili, lasts for seven days, each day honoring a different principle: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, community prosperity, purpose, creativity, and faith.
“Seven Nights with Nana & Achebe” tells the story of Kwanzaa as related in dreams to a small boy (Achebe) by his grandmother (Nana), who has recently passed away. Achebe is visited in dreams by Nana, whom Achebe misses dearly and whom he trusted as much as anyone in this world. Nana, as Achebe’s closest ancestor, is there to educate him about Kwanzaa. The history of the African-American struggle is related to Achebe through Nana’s homespun stories. Every night, in each of Nana’s tales, she relates to Achebe’s young mind a different cultural and moral value expressed as the seven precepts of Kwanzaa. Nana represents the best and wisest of the culture and Achebe exhibits the faith and later the integrity and generous nature that is the integral spirit of Kwanzaa. At one point, when Achebe becomes distressed at the unfairness of the world, Nana says, “Honey, if we just dwell on the miseries of life, we never would get outa bed. You can’t pretend it’s not happening. You gotta recognize it to make sure ya don’t add on to it. And you gotta have compassion for suffering, but you also gotta get actively involved in doing something about it, to change if for the good. Child, we have the power of God in us and there’s nothing we can’t do if we put our minds to it.”
Nana’s stories portray realism, the pain, struggles, and hardships of her people, but finally acquiesce to strength, fortitude, moral courage, family and community involvement, responsibility, and personal enrichment.
Ms. Godden punctuates her masterfully-told story with eight beautifully composed and performed songs that educate us about Kwanzaa and its seven principles. These songs create a mood and a cultural atmosphere that bring this performance to life. Kwanzaa is a product of a culture that supports an oral tradition where cultural artifacts are traditionally passed on through stories and song. Each night of Kwanzaa, with each principle, there is a new song. The author/composer/performer has carefully matched Nana’s stories to the accompanying music to weave a seamless tapestry that allows the listener moments of reflection and provides continuity.
We feel that we are experiencing each of the stories with Achebe, through the big, imaginative eyes of a small boy who has a determination and maturity that reflect his grandmother’s influence. The interplay between an elderly adult and child, used so often to relate great tales, reminds us that we can learn much from both of these groups. That she is now departed serves to illustrate that help is indeed available from the “ancestors”; respect for the same being a concept basic to Kwanzaa.
Nana has learned through experience to concentrate on the moment. The transformation in Achebe, who may be truly experiencing his culture for the first time, is perhaps Nana’s great achievement. Nana acts as a bridge between the ancestral realm and Achebe, representing the African-American children of today. By the end of seven nights, Achebe has inwardly shared many things that invoke in him a new sense of excitement and wonder, as well as a more grounded view of his world. He has a renewed faith in his culture and in himself. His place in the world has been defined and given meaning through Nana’s efforts.
I would recommend this CD to anyone seeking knowledge of Kwanzaa and its cultural background. The music alone makes this CD a good choice for any collection. Moreover, I would recommend this performance to anyone who, like myself, likes a good story. Kids and adults alike will love this CD. This is an especially good source for classrooms, schools and libraries seeking learning materials about important holiday celebrations of the world. A re-telling of an old but ever-new tale, it should be part of all folklore collections. Nana’s connection to Achebe brings the magic to this story. We can all learn from their affectionate connection, their belief in each other, and their shared conviction.

Review submitted by:
Michael Irvine
College of Marin Music Library
Kentfield, CA