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Grief and remembrance

Ancestral Connections with Nyttu Chongo – November 12

November 12 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Lakewood Cemetery
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Ancestral Connections awakens the connections of people to their ancestral roots through the power of traditional African music, rhythm, sound, and cultural experience. This series of three powerful sessions offer individuals who have been disconnected from their forefathers—either forcibly or by culture, distance, and time—a safe and inviting space in which they can rediscover and reground their deepest identities. Nyttu Chongo creates a reflective, meditative space utilizing a number of traditional African instruments native to Sub-Saharan Africa as the centerpiece of the auditory experience of Ancestral Connections: Mbira Nyunga Nyunga, Mbira Dzava Dzimu, Xitende, and the Chopi Timbila—a UNESCO Intangible Heritage of Humanity instrument native to Mozambique. As a musician, culture bearer, and teacher, Chongo invites individuals into the experiences of their own bodies in response to sound and mindful relaxation, and creates space for exploration of self and identity in connection to those who came before. Please feel welcome to join for one, two, or all three sessions of Ancestral Connections.

What to expect

The majority of this event spent will be in meditative introspection and ancestral connection guided through acoustic traditional African instruments. Participants will be welcomed to make themselves comfortable, move, or play along with the music, responding as the music and experience guides. To close each session, the group will be guided in focused conversation to unpack the experience individually and as a collective.

About this series

This event takes place over 3 separate sessions. Each offering is similar but may differ slightly based on participants, but it is not required that you attend all 3 sessions. You are welcome to attend as many sessions as you would like!

November 7 Session

November 14 Session

About the artist

Nyttu Chongo is a Machangana African musician and composer from Maputo, Mozambique, now residing in Fridley. He builds, repairs, and plays a wide range of traditional African instruments and serves the community with his unique Ancestral Connections program. A 2020 MN State Arts Board Initiative grantee and 2024 MN State Arts Board Creative Individuals grantee, Nyttu’s mission in life is to make the voices of the ancestors heard through music and spark discovery of African cultural roots. His music transcends the performative and creates space for individuals and groups to connect authentically with their ancestral past and individual identities. Nyttu founded Ancestral Connections in 2023 to introduce Minnesotans to the power of music to open one’s awareness of their ancestral roots.

Minnesota State Arts Board

Nyttu Chongo is a fiscal year 2024 recipient of a Creative Individuals grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

The Historic Lakewood Memorial Chapel

This event will take place in the beautiful and historic Lakewood Memorial Chapel. This stunning building was built in 1910 by architect Harry Wild Jones, and is modeled after the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul. It is one of the only examples of Byzantine style chapels in the US, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Click here for more information on the Lakewood Memorial Chapel.

Chapel Accessibility Notice

Due to the historic nature of this venue, there are limited accessibility accommodations that can be made. Accessibility notices are below:

  • Handicap accessible parking will be available near the entrance of the chapel
  • A ramp is available leading into the chapel
  • All seating is in fixed pews – there is some room in the back of the venue for a wheelchair but it is limited
  • Two single stall restrooms are available on the main level but cannot accommodate a wheelchair.

We apologize for these inconveniences. While we strive to be welcoming to all, there are limitations within this historic space. If you have any questions about accommodations or accessibility needs please contact us at 612-540-5165 or

Parking and Transportation

Driving Directions

This event takes place in the historic Lakewood Memorial Chapel. Signs will be posted directing you to the event location. Click here for GPS directions (this will open Google maps).

You may park along roads in the cemetery, except where there are “no parking” signs. A limited number of handicap spots will be available near the chapel.

Bus Directions

A bus stop is located right outside of Lakewood at 36th and Hennepin, from there it is a short walk to Lakewood’s chapel.

Bike Directions

Lakewood has a small bike rack near the front gates, which is a short walk to the chapel. Please do not lock bikes to any of our signs or trees. We strongly encourage bike riders to park their bike and walk.


What is the seating arrangement at this event?

The seating in the chapel is in pews. Folding chairs can be available if requested.

Can children attend?

Of course! All ages are welcome to join us for this event. However all children must be monitored or supervised by an adult throughout the event.

Are pets or dogs allowed?

Unfortunately, Lakewood does not allow dogs or other pets onsite, please leave your pets at home. Service animals are permitted.

Are food and drink permitted?

Food and drink (with the exception of water) are not permitted in the chapel.

How can I contact the organizer with questions?

We’d love to hear from you! Email us at or call 612-540-5165.

Questions? Call the Lakewood events line at 612-540-5165 or email to

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