By Kimasi Browne
Published: April 1, 2013

DjeDje accepting Resiliency and Distinction,
the festschrift prepared in her honor.
L-R: Kimasi L. Browne, Jacqueline Cogdell
DjeDje, and Jean N. Kidula.
Students and colleagues of Jacqueline Cogdell DjeDje honored her on March 6, 2013, at an event at Azusa Pacific University (APU) titled “Resiliency and Distinction: An Inspired Professor’s Yield—Students Who Think Deeply.”  The highlight of the event was the presentation of a festschrift to Professor DjeDje, edited by former students Kimasi L. Browne and Jean N. Kidula, entitled Resiliency and Distinction: Beliefs, Endurance and Creativity in the Musical Arts of Continental and Diasporic Africa. A Festschrift in Honor of Jacqueline Cogdell DjeDje, MRI Press, 2013.

Browne and three of his APU students (Anthony Caldarella, Lauren Echols-Johnson, and Hope Florenzie) summarized each of the book’s essays and quoted excerpts relevant to the conference theme. Statements from the many testimonies included in the festschrift confirmed the extent to which Professor DjeDje has inspired her doctoral students and colleagues during her long and productive career at UCLA.

The tribute, organized by APU professor Browne, was held as a special session of the university’s annual Common Day of Learning, an all-day campus-wide academic conference involving faculty, students, staff, and the administration. Professor Browne was the guest speaker for the session.

After the presentation, DjeDje with her students and colleagues.
L-R: Front row: Lara Rann with A. J. Smith, Ty-Juana Taylor,
Eddie S. Meadows, Jacqueline C. DjeDje, Jean N. Kidula, Kimasi
L. Browne, Cynthia Tse Kimberlin. Back row: Karin Patterson,
Ray A. Briggs, Wanda Bryant, Roberto Catalano, Kevin M. Delgado,
Ric Alviso.

The festschrift embraces a diversity of recent ethnographies that intersect geographically and topically with DjeDje’s research interests—traditional and popular African music, Caribbean music, and African-American gospel music. Essay topics range from indigenous African lithophone music to 20th century African-American gospel and 21st century African hip-hop music. In addition to a foreword and preface by J. H. Kwabena Nketia and Akin Euba, respectively, the festschrift includes testimonials and/or essays by several of DjeDje’s colleagues and students, including Kofi Agawu, Andrews K. Agyemfra-Tettey, Ray A. Briggs, Kimasi L. Browne, Abimbola Cole, Kevin M. Delgado, Valerie Dickerson Cordero, George Worlasi Kwasi Dor, Clarence Bernard Henry, Michael Holmes, Birgitta J. Johnson, Jean N. Kidula, Cynthia Tse Kimberlin, James K. Makubuya, Eddie S. Meadows, Brian Schrag, and Kathleen Van Buren. In addition to Browne and Kidula, festschrift contributors present at the APU event included Ric Alviso, Ray A. Briggs, Wanda Bryant, Roberto Catalano, Kevin M. Delgado, Cynthia Tse Kimberlin, Eddie S. Meadows, and cover designer Karin Patterson.

The festivities included the Azusa Pacific University Gospel Choir performing an unaccompanied surprise rendition of Andrae Crouch’s “Through It All,” DjeDje’s favorite gospel song, a reception, and a Mediterranean dinner at Dandana Restaurant and Café in nearby Glendora, California, hosted by the APU School of Music.