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Sankofa Concert: Healing, Reflection, and Renewal

Sunday October 10th 2021, 7:00 - 8:30PM
Event Sponsor
Office for Religious & Spiritual Life, The Ho Center for Buddhist Studies at Stanford
Stanford Memorial Church
Sankofa Concert: Healing, Reflection, and Renewal


Let us look into the past to forge forward with what is life-giving.

Featuring: Finalists of the students’ Sankofa World Music Contest, award-winning professional musicians, and augmented-reality sacred art.

Covid-19 Safety: The Sankofa Concert will comply with the state, county, and university guidance for COVID-19 safety at the event’s time.

We Are Stanford logo


Sankofa is a word in the Twii language of Ghana, and it literally means to “go back and fetch it.” Sankofa also implies an active forward hope in the face of remembrance and history. Sankofa also is a way to heal and renew will forging forward with resilience.

The events of the recent year and a half –– starting with Covid-19, continuing with the renewed energy for racial justice in the wake of the deaths of many Black men and women at the hands of police and the spike in anti-Asian violence, and extending through the tumultuous events surrounding the election and presidential transition –– have shaken the Stanford Community and global community alike. All this ignited a shared urgency and renewed commitment to transformation.

We also cherish how far we have come so that we can begin healing the immediate wounds and start reimagining how to rebuild a more just and resilient global society. Now more than ever, we need to honor the past while mustering our resilience beyond self-determination to renew our community in healing and life-giving ways. We must go forward, but we also must honor what we have experienced in the past 19 months and counting. Our work is in the here and now. We are forging a future that respects the past but carves something new.

Please join us at the Sankofa World Music Concert, the closing ceremony of We Are Stanford: A Festival of Reflection and Renewal.


This event is free and only open to the Stanford community and affiliates. Please note masks are required to attend this indoor event. Reserve your ticket here.


Jiayue Cecilia Wu

Concert Curator and Featured Musician/Director – Jiayue Cecilia Wu. Dr. Wu is an award-winning scholar, musician, and audio engineer. She has 10 years of diversified work experience in music and media technology companies such as Universal Music Group, EMI, and Shazam. She holds a Master of Arts degree from Stanford University and a Ph.D. degree from the University of California Santa Barbara. Her research focuses on how music technology can augment the healing power of music. Her music has been performed in Asia, the U.S., Canada, Australia, South Africa, Brazil, and Europe. Currently, Dr. Wu is an assistant professor at the University of Colorado’s College of Arts and Media. She is the chairperson of the Diversity & Inclusion Committees at both Audio Engineering Society (AES) and Colorado MahlerFest. She also serves as a voting member of the Recording Academy and the Editor-in-Chief of the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the US (SEAMUS).

Rev. Sakena Young-Scaggs

Spiritual Director and Advisor – The Rev. Dr. Sakena Young-Scaggs





Michael Hodgson

Technical Director – Michael J. Hodgson. Michael Hodgson has been working with ORSL since mid-2012.  While completing his BS in Business, Mgt. Information Systems from California State University, San Jose; Michael would regularly volunteer sound reinforcement support to local theaters, live events, and churches as a hobby.  This would continue while working full-time in tech until this passion transitioned to become his occupation.  Michael also works within the Department of Music as a Recording Engineer.



Rebecca Nie

Visual Director and Featured Algorithm/Video Artist – Z.M. Rebecca Nie. Z.M. Rebecca Nie is the Buddhist Chaplain-Affiliate at Stanford. She is also a Stanford alum, Zen Master of the Korean Jogye Order, and an established Bay Area visual artist. California. As an heir of one of the oldest living mystic orders, she creates to artistically invite the audience into Zen encounters that are direct experiences of the transcendental. The inspiration for Z.M. Nie’s art comes from her introspection, global adventures, and attainment in diverse disciplines.


Claudia V. Dorn

Manager of Resources and Community – Claudia V Dorn






Diane Abundabar

Stage Manager – Diane Abundabar







The Rev. Dr. Sakena Young-Scaggs, Prof. Jiayue Cecilia Wu, Z.M. Rebecca Nie, Michael J. Hodgson, Claudia V Dorn.


Rebecca Nie, Concert visual director and featured video/algorithm artist (bio and photo are under Concert Leadership)

Jiayue Cecilia Wu, Concert music curator and featured musician/composer (bio and photo are under Concert Leadership)

Scott Miller

Scott L. Miller, Featured musician. Dr. Miller is a Professor of Music at St. Cloud State University, Minnesota. Best known for his electroacoustic chamber music and ecosystemic performance pieces, his music is characterized by collaborative approaches to composition and the use of electronics, exploring performer/computer improvisation and reimagining ancient compositional processes through the lens of 21st-century technology. He is Past-President of the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the US (SEAMUS) and presently the Director of SEAMUS Records.



Dr. Jane Rigler

Jane Rigler, Featured musician. Dr. Rigler is a flutist, composer, educator, and producer. She is known for her innovations in new flute performance, techniques, and unique musical vocabulary. Dr.Rigler is an associate professor in the Music Program within the Visual and Performing Arts Department at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs




 Stanford Middle East Ensemble

Stanford Middle East Ensemble, Featured musician. Stanford Middle East Ensemble plays music from across the Middle East region, with a focus on Arabic, Turkish, and Persian music. The group performs regularly both on and off-campus.





Akimiya Transfer
Akimiya Transfer

Alkimiya Transfer, Featured musician. Stanford-based Alkimiya Transfer (Barbara Nerness and Stephanie Sherriff) is an ambient noise duo that formed out of shared interests in policed systems and surveillance in January 2019. Their electroacoustic compositions incorporate found objects, field recordings, archival media, custom interfaces, multichannel speaker systems, and experimental engagement with traditional instruments.



Bonnie Wai-Lee Kwong

Bonnie Wai-Lee Kwong, Featured musician. Bonnie Wai-Lee Kwong is a poet, musician, multidisciplinary artist, engineer, and mother of two children. Her first book of poetry, ravel, was a finalist for prizes by White Pine Press and New Rivers Press.  Her dance, music and poetry performance Liriope was staged at Stanford University’s Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve with Chris Chafe as music director.  Her play There’s No Stopping to My Thoughts was staged at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center with a grant from the California Arts Council (CAC).



Chris Chafe

Chris Chafe, Featured musician. Professor Chris Chafe is a composer, improviser, and cellist, developing much of his music alongside computer-based research. He is the Director of Stanford University’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). An active performer either on the net or physically present, his music reaches audiences in sometimes novel venues. Chafe’s works include gallery and museum music installations which are now into their second decade with “musifications” resulting from collaborations with artists, scientists, and MD’s




Stanford Raagapella

Stanford Raagapella. We are Stanford Raagapella, Stanford's South Asian fusion a cappella group. We are presenting the piece "Uyire", an iconic Tamil ballad composed in 1995 by A.R. Rahman. The song captures a profound love between two people, who call each other "Uyire" or "my life!". In many ways, "Uyire" represents feelings of longing, love, and reunion that many of have experienced over the last year.




Stanford Counterpoint

Stanford Counterpoint. Stanford Counterpoint is the university’s second oldest and only Soprano/Alto group. Our entry is Jupiter's Moons (originally performed by Rachel Mazer) highlights the strengths in every voice, and each part contributes to a powerful blend of otherworldly harmonies.






Stanford Everyday People

Everyday People. Everyday People is an R&B a cappella that seeks to uplift the music created by Black artists. Cranes in the Sky by Solange is a reflection on the many ways we try to cope when difficult things happen. We are inspired to reflect this experience in our performance.





Stanford Fleet Street Singers

The Stanford Fleet Street Singers. The Stanford Fleet Street Singers, or simply "Fleet Street," was founded in 1981 with barbershop roots. The group is known for performing an incredible number of songs entirely written by members of the group. Most songs are funny. Really funny, that is. And in case the songs aren't funny, Fleet Street strives to create a multimedia experience for audiences with original sketch comedy and short films during its shows.


We Are Stanford: A Festival of Reflection and Renewal  marks the return of the full Stanford community to campus, offering a diverse range of ritual, artistic, commemorative and celebratory programs to express and hold all that we have been through, individually and collectively, over the last 18 months. Two dozen campus departments and programs have partnered to present events that are authentic to their communities and open to broad student, staff, and faculty participation, engaging themes of grief, loss and remembrance, community and gratitude, and hope and joy. All together, the festival is an active invitation to care for ourselves and each other as we rebuild the Stanford community. For the full schedule, visit 



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