The Rhythm ‘N’ Soul Collective wows crowds during Black History Month Concert Series

Felipe Larrocha said he wants audiences to see there are multiple ways to worship God. The Rhythm ‘N’ Soul Collective is a student run choir at Brigham Young University. (Alice Gubler)

The Rhythm ‘N’ Soul Collective energized BYU crowds with African cultural dances and gospel music at this year’s annual Black History Month Concert Series. The concert was held at the Harold B. Lee Library Reynolds Auditorium on Feb. 21.

The Rhythm ‘N’ Soul Collective is a student-run group that seeks to celebrate, explore and communicate the diverse traditions of African culture as it has spread around the world. Some of the dances and hymns included in the concert stem from older African traditions, Jray Khun, one of the collective’s co-founders, said.

The Rhythm ‘N’ Soul Collective seeks to foster unity and a sense of identity for different cultural groups on campus. The collective performed at the Harold B. Lee Library as part of the Black History Month Concert Series (Alice Gubler).

In his closing remarks, Khun said, “At RSC we really strive to make those connections … and really help those Black students on campus find a sense of identity.”

Felipe Larrocha energizes the crowd by encouraging them to stand and clap during the song: “Bless the Lord.” The Rhythm ‘N’ Soul Collective is a BYU student-run choir.

One of the Step Demonstrations dates back to times of gold mining in South Africa, where the rhythm and dance was used to communicate to those deep in gold mines and tunnels. The African sense of unity is what the choir hopes to communicate.

Fatwa Luka, another one of the collective’s co-founders, said African Americans used hymns and dance to “organize, mourn, challenge” and celebrate each other and their people throughout history.

“We are grateful to stand on their shoulders,” Luka said, referring to the great sacrifices and rich culture the African communities offer to the worlds they have touched through “African Diaspora.”

Another hymn, titled “More Like Him” has lyrics related to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ primary song “I’m trying to be like Jesus,” choir member and BYU sophomore Janelle Dadson said. She said the lyrics talk about how people are imperfect but that they are all trying to be like Jesus Christ in how they live and speak.

“I hope the audience sees that there are multiple ways to experience the spirit and celebrate our gospel,” choir member Felipe Larrocha said. Larrocha joined the Rhythm ‘N’ Soul Collective for its sense of community and to help amplify and provide a community for Black voices on BYU campus.

During the concert, Larrocha cheerfully marched along the aisles of the crowds, encouraging them to stand, clap and sing along to the songs.

“When I get to embrace and embody my culture and what my other friends at BYU experience, there is no stopping the joy that fills your soul,” Khun said.

The Black Student Union hoped to communicate the multiple ways to worship and feel God’s love.

The Rhythm ‘N’ Soul Collective performs a variety of African worship hymns and dances to BYU crowds. The Black History Month Concert Series has its next performance Feb. 28 at 12 p.m. (Alice Gubler)
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