About: Mama & Baba Shabu

The Shabus first met in the ‘60’s in Detroit, Michigan where they both trained in their art disciplines. After spending a year travelling from the east to the west coast in the U.S., they crossed the Atlantic Ocean and spent 20 years travelling from the east to the west coast on the continent of Africa. Baba and Mama Shabu began collaborating as soon as they built their music and art studios adjacent to each other. This was in Liberia, West Africa in the early 1970’s. There was only a short, half-wall between their studios. Inevitably, Baba’s paintings and Mama’s music began inspiring each other. Some great collaborative art works were born in that house. Their new book collaboration, Kpawo, The Bridge: Finding Your Ancestral Connection in Africa is a result of their 40 years of bi-continental travel. Whether in Durham, NC, Mwanza, Tanzania, or Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, the Shabus have been connecting art to the people. The revelation of the concept of “Ngoma”, the unity of all the arts in life experience as it was taught to them in Tanzania, was a defining moment in their lives and came to define their art and philosophy of life. The greatest gift to them from the creator is their family, their children. A recent comment from an arts presenter: “Rest assured that your children are carrying on your music legacy in a wonderful way!” is the ultimate affirmation. Baba and Mama are now establishing site destinations for the African side of the bridge – a farm and cultural center in West Africa.

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