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Lyric Performing Arts Academy

Mrs. Taiwo Kujichagulia-Seitu is a coloratura soprano, dancer, educator and griot (historian, storyteller, entertainer, musician, praise singer). With a performance history spanning over 2 decades, Taiwo has performed for such legends as Kathrine Dunham, Geronimo Ji Jaga Pratt, Nelson Mandela, Regina Bell, Pharaoh Sanders, and Dizzy Gillespie. She has performed with Phavia Kujichagulia and Ma’at, E.W. Wainwright’s African Roots of Jazz, Omega, Imhotep Dance Ensemble, the Houston Ebony Opera Guild, Oakland Opera Theater, Lyric Theater of San Jose and N’Soromma African Drummers and Dancers (an ensemble she co-founded).

 

Functionally using the arts to tell the history of African Americans, Taiwo weaves inspiring and uplifting tales for audiences of all ages utilizing a combination of Spirituals, Gospel, Praise Dance and traditional West African dance and drumming. Taiwo’s annual production entitled “Go Tell It! – A Harriet Tubman Christmas Story” premiered in December 2012. Receiving rave reviews for its 2012 and 2013 productions, “Go Tell It!” has become a Bay Area Holiday tradition and a Black History Month staple.   “Go Tell It!” tells the story of Harriet Tubman’s first escape with passengers on the Underground Railroad. Told through music and dance, a highlight of “Go Tell It!” is the cast’s moving performances of Taiwo’s original arrangements of many well-known and loved Spirituals. Honored by the Friends of Negro Spirituals as a Negro Spirituals Heritage Keeper, in addition to arranging Spirituals, Taiwo lectures on their development, correct historical context and the coding found within.

 

A passionate educator of 15 years, Taiwo has taught West Aftican dance at Prairie View A&M University; Hip-hop, Stepping, West African and Liturgical dance for Stanford University; and dance and musical theater at Kids N’ Dance. Currently, Taiwo teaches music for Berkeley City College, and is the dance and 2nd grade teacher at Ile Omode School. Taiwo has a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance and a Master of Business Administration in marketing. She is the co-founder of Lyric Dance and Vocal Ensemble (LDVE) and Lyric Performing Arts Academy (LPAA) and currently serves as LDVE Business Manager and LPAA Chief Executive Officer.

 

In addition to this all, Taiwo is a wife and mother and enjoys spending time with her loving husband, Obara ‘Six’ Awoyefa, and daughters, Sassafras Rose and Saije Orisa-Damilola Awoyefa.

 

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