"They Are We": The story of an astonishing cultural reunion across the Atlantic Ocean

"This is the story of a remarkable reunion, 170 or so years after a family was driven apart by the ravages of the transatlantic slave trade." - They Are We website  

They Are We traces the meeting between a proud community of Cubans of African descent living in Central Cuba (the Gangá-Longobá ethnic group) with a community in Sierra Leone, where the traditional songs and dances kept alive thousands of miles away in Cuba are as familiar to them as their own culture and traditions. 

While working in West Africa, director Emma Christopher showed footage of the Cuban Gangá-Longobá songs and dances to people living in an isolated village in Sierra Leone. The villagers immediately recognized the songs, despite the physical separation and "decades of brutal enslavement, independence wars, and then the denying of all religions after the [Cuban] revolution."

In early 2013, once the law was changed in Cuba to allow people to travel abroad more freely, a trip was made to visit this village in Sierra Leone. This film beautifully documents both the accidental discovery and the astonishing reunion visit. 

 Goboi, the Poro society mask, dances for the Cubans at the welcome ceremony. Mokpangumba, Upper Banta Chiefdom, Sierra Leone. April 2013. Photo from film's website. 

Goboi, the Poro society mask, dances for the Cubans at the welcome ceremony. Mokpangumba, Upper Banta Chiefdom, Sierra Leone. April 2013. Photo from film's website. 

Watch the trailer below and follow the continuing story of this film via its website and Facebook page.