Karida and Derrell held their Bahai Wedding at the Bahai Faith Center in Portland where they were both born and raised. Karida still travels back and forth frequently to NYC where she’s a tap dancer in the dance company headed by 2015 MacArthur Fellow, Michelle Dorrance. Derrell is a knowledge barer and teacher of west African culture in the Portland area, and specifically, drum and dance traditions. Derrell founded a west African drum school in Portland, and teaches and choreographs for a variety of classes and performing dance companies. He travels often to Guinea to learn and connect with other drummers and dancers.
Karida and Derrell incorporated a lot of west African traditions into their wedding day. They felt the importance of including a deeper sense of heritage and respect for their roots. The precessional and processional featured traditional west African drumming, flutes and singing. The last couple hours of the reception featured strictly acoustic drumming on Dununbas performed by a rotating cast of Derrell and their friends, as their guests danced in celebration, both solo and in groups.
Many family members contributed in important ways to their wedding day. Karida entered the reception wearing a gorgeous white winter cape that her grandmother and aunt had especially made for her and that they had surprised her with as a gift at her bridal shower.
I’ve participated in one of Derrell’s west African dance classes for the last three years and the value and knowledge that he provides to his community is tremendous. I’m so grateful to know these two people and to be able to photograph their wedding.