Dressed in traditional African garb, the ZUMIX African Drumming Ensemble performs ‘Gahu,’ a style of music from Ghana, for the crowd gathered at Fenway Park.
Had a blast performing with the ZUMIX Youth African Drumming Ensemble at Fenway Park this past Saturday. We were invited by Northeastern University to perform as part of their annual Family Day.
ZUMIX’s unique approach to youth development is evident in its Mission: Empowered youth who use music to make strong positive change in their lives, their communities, and the world. With kids like these, is it any wonder that ZUMIX won a 2011 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from the White House? READ MORE →
Would a young Etta James make it in today’s music industry?
With the sad news last week of Etta James’ passing, I found myself looking through early photos of this great lady and wondering: “Would a young Etta make it in today’s music industry?” Or, put another way, could an average looking woman in 2012 become a pop icon and sex symbol based on the strength of her voice alone? And since my post on Justin Bieber and Esperanza Spalding garnered so many fervent responses, I figured this time around I would use as my foil Beyoncé—an iconic black female R&B singer if ever there was one—who played Etta in 2008’s Cadillac Records.
The problem, of course, is that ‘B,’ as Beyoncé is known to fans like me, is both good looking and good sounding. Or is she? The truth is that, in our era of sci-fi-like post production sound processing, most pop recordings have become so sanitized that it is nearly impossible to know the true, intimate sound of a singer’s voice. READ MORE →
Had a great time performing with my student African Drumming ensembles last week at ZUMIX, the community music school in inner city East Boston where I started the African Drumming program in 2007. ZUMIX has grown a lot since then, recently winning the 2011 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from the White House.
Check out these three videos, the first featuring the ZUMIX beginning African Drumming Ensemble performing an adapted version of Gahu, a recreational style of music from the Ewe people of Ghana, West Africa:
And here’s the ZUMIX intermediate African Drumming Ensemble performing Atsiagbekor (a k a Agbekor), an Ewe war piece: READ MORE →
This Sunday I’ll be donning my bib and ear plugs (I’m a drummer — doctor’s orders) and heading over to Paradise Rock Club in Boston for Eat Your Heart Out 2010, a one-of-a-kind event that pairs the mouth-watering creations of local star chefs with the fine whines of top-flight Boston bands.