News 2011: UMass Dartmouth Kekeli African Drum and Dance ensemble in concert May 3

News 2011: UMass Dartmouth Kekeli African Drum and Dance ensemble in concert May 3
UMass Dartmouth Kekeli African Drum and Dance ensemble in concert May 3

Featuring African drum, dance, and song

The UMass Dartmouth Music Department and the College of Visual and Performing Arts are sponsoring a concert of African dance, drumming, and song directed by world renowned artist Kwabena Boateng. Guest artists include Master Drummer Abraham Kobena Adzenyah, Jamie Eckert, Wes Brown, and Scott Kessel. The Kekeli African drum and dance ensemble perform the traditional music and dance of West Africa, including processional, warrior, court, social, harvest, and recreational styles. 

The event is May 3 at 7:30 p.m. at the UMass Dartmouth auditorium, 285 Old Westport Road. North Dartmouth, MA. Parking is available in lots 4 and 5. 

Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for students, free for senior citizens and will be used to support the Kekeli club's trip to Ghana, West Africa this summer. CD sale proceeds will go to  the Save Darfur fund. 

For more information contact professor royal hartigan at 508 999.8572. 

About the performers 

Kwabena Boateng is a dancer, dramatist, and musician. He has toured the world extensively, recording, teaching master classes, and appearing in films about African Culture. Kwabena is a founding member of the African jazz-highlife ensemble, Talking Drums. An authority on African dance, language, culture, and drama, Kwabena continues to perform, direct, consult, and lead dance groups throughout the United States both individually and with Talking Drums. 

Abraham Kobena Adzenyah is a master drummer, dancer, and authority on African music, song, dance, and culture. He is the originator and leader of the African jazz-highlife ensemble Talking Drums. Kobena founded the world-renown African music and dance program at Wesleyan University and continues as its director. He has authored numerous books, DVDs and CDs, toured, given clinics, and lectures throughout the U.S. and across the world. 

Jamie Eckert is professor of percussion and world music in the UMass Dartmouth Music Department. He performs across the U.S. as a classical percussionist, steel drum artist, and clinician in all areas of percussion, including music of the African Diaspora. His UMass Dartmouth El Caribe steel pan ensemble is widely known throughout New England for its unique performances. 

Scott Kessel is a drummer, visual artist and gymnast who performs across the country and world with numerous ensembles. He has performed traditional African music as well as drummed in highlife, jazz, reggae, string ensemble, funk, Afro-Latin, and many other styles. In addition to a regular drum set Scott has also created a drum set with unique materials that give distinctive sounds. 

Wes Brown is a bassist, flutist, pianist, drummer, and dancer.  He has toured the world with many groups, including the legendary pianist Earl 'Fatha' Hines, Talking Drums, Fred Ho's Afro-Asian Music Ensemble, the blood drum spirit ensemble, and the Black Rebels reggae ensemble. 

royal hartigan is a Professor at UMass Dartmouth. He is a student of the late Freeman Kwadzo Donkor, Adzenyah, Helen Mensah, and Boateng and has performed with Talking Drums, Fred Ho's Afro-Asian Music Ensemble, Hafez Modirzadeh's Paradox, and his own group. royal lives in Ghana each summer to learn drumming and dance styles, to share as part of the UMass Dartmouth Music Department's African Drum and Dance Ensemble. 

About African music 

We will be performing the traditional instrumental music, dance, and song of the coastal rainforest cultures of West Africa, including peoples from the present day countries of Cote D'Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin, and Nigeria. The dance drama, which includes the three dimensions of instrumental music, dance, and song, is an expression of events in the life, agricultural, and seasonal cycles. The music and dance connects people as members of a community and strategizes for success in the individual and  the collective struggle for survival and the transcendence of physical, economic, and political limitations. Drumming, dance, and song are highly sophisticated, complex, and powerful means in oral tradition in which people remember genealogies, recall group history, and maintain personal connections with each other, ancestors, a spiritual realm, and the creator. 

The historic global movement of African peoples since the 1500s has brought this African sense of community, transcendence, and spirit to many parts of the globe, resulting in new forms of expression shared by people of all cultural backgrounds. These include Blues, Shouts, Clapping Plays such as Pattin' Juba, Gospel, Rhythm and Blues, Jazz, Reggae, Rumba, Samba, Candomble, Lucumi, Vodun, and numerous other styles, including much of the world's popular music since the dawn of the 20th century. The music and dance of Africa is an ancient and contemporary expression that is a humanizing force in our paths through life. 

For more information call Michelle Dupre Cieto, 508-999-8568.