What: Kwanzaa Umoja Celebration
Where: Hudson Hall, 237 Warren Street, Hudson, NY
When: Saturday, December 16 from 5pm
Why: An annual celebration of African American culture and unity
Who:  Zorkie Nelson & Gballoi (Artistic Director Zorkie Nelson,  Felix Nelson, David Nunoo, Robert Nunoo, FoFo Neequaye). Dancers Sydney Allen, Marte Carey, Addison Geer, Elena Mosley, Donnay Edmund, Debbie Waithe, Donna Barrett, Anna Mayta, Petra Langer and the Kuumba Kids dancers.

Hudson, NY — December 6, 2023: Hudson Hall at the historic Hudson Opera House and Operation Unite NY celebrate African American culture and unity at the 2023 Kwanzaa Umoja Celebration on Saturday, December 16 from 5pm. The event features arts and crafts for children, dancing, drumming, a candle-lighting ceremony, and the sharing of Nguzo Saba; the seven principles of Kwanzaa.  Returning to Kwanzaa following much acclaim in 2022 is master Ghanian percussionist Zorkie Nelson and his ensemble Gballoi. Kwanzaa is a free event and reservations are not required. For more information, visit

Kwanzaa is an African American and Pan-African holiday created in 1966 by Maulana Ron Karenga. It celebrates history, values, family, community, and culture, focusing on seven principles drawn from communitarian values found throughout the African continent: Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith). The word Kwanzaa is derived from the Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza” meaning “first fruits” and is rooted in first fruits or harvest festivals found in cultures throughout Africa.

Elena Mosley, Director of Operation Unite, NY says: “Kwanzaa continues to be my favorite cultural event of the year. Kwanzaa exemplifies the sharing of African and African American culture and values. It is meant to unify all people who recognize their heritage and are welcoming to others to learn and feast together. To come together at Hudson Hall with the State Street AME Zion Food Ministry is a gift to the community. “

“Kwanzaa is always a highlight of the holiday season at Hudson Hall,” says Executive Director, Tambra Dillon. “Together with longtime collaborator Operation Unite NY, we are honored to celebrate African American culture and the richness it brings to our community not just during this special event, but throughout the year.”

Zorkie Nelson is a master percussionist, traditional flute player and vocalist specializing in the Ga cultural tradition. Born into a family of musicians in the West African city of Accra, Ghana, Nelson’s accomplishments include performing as a part of Wynton Marsalis’ “Congo Square Tour” in 2006, and co-founding and conducting the Pan African Orchestra (PAO) in the 1990’s.

He has been a member of the We Su Ma, Ebaahi-Gbi Ko, his current band Gballoi, Lumei, Eshi Nyomor Mo and Tsui Anaa traditional African music and dance groups touring Denmark, France, Ghana and Japan. He donates his talent for a weekly drumming and dance program at Howe Library in Albany and he is active as a teaching artist at the Hamilton Hill Arts Center, Schenectady.

Gballoi members include Artistic Director Zorkie Nelson, Felix Nelson, David Nunoo, Robert Nunoo, FoFo Neequaye. Joining Gballoi on stage are workshop dancers Sydney Allen, Marte Carey, Addison Geer, Elena Mosley, Donnay Edmund, Debbie Waithe, Donna Barrett, Anna Mayta, Petra Langer and the Kuumba Kids dancers.


Dec 16 2023


5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

More Info

More Information


Hudson Hall
Hudson Hall
327 Warren Street, Hudson NY
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