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Bobby McFerrin: Bobby Meets Africa in New York
Nov 1, 2014 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm| $36-$60
Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College will open its 60th Anniversary Season with a concert by 10-time Grammy winner Bobby McFerrin on Saturday, November 1, 2014 at 8pm. Titled “Bobby Meets Africa in New York”, this one-of-a-kind event will feature Bobby’s extraordinary improvisational skills as he is joined by several New York City-based African musicians. These artists will come together, meeting for the first time ever on the Whitman Theatre stage to create a totally original and unique concert. Only those present can know what will happen. “Bobby Meets Africa in New York” is produced by Linda Goldstein/Original Artists. The concert is curated by Sean Barlow and Banning Eyre of public radio’s Afropop Worldwide (heard locally on WNYE 91.5 FM and on afropop.org). Tickets for this one-night-only event are $36-$60 and can be purchased at BrooklynCenter.org or by calling the box office at 718-951-4500 (Tues-Sat, 1pm-6pm).
Ten time Grammy-winning vocalist Bobby McFerrin has been shattering audience preconceptions for more than three decades. His solo concerts are legendary, and his collaborations with jazz ensembles, symphony orchestras, dancers, singers, and pop stars have won him accolades around the world. More information is available at BobbyMcFerrin.com.
Bobby is an improviser who loves to embrace the moment. He loves to make purely spontaneous, unrehearsed music, and to bring audiences into the joyful experience of creation and collaboration between artists with different backgrounds and expectations. The “Bobby Meets…” series has given him a chance to work with spectacular musicians from Ireland, Indonesia, Israel, Prague, Cleveland, Shanghai, and more. “Bobby Meets Africa in New York” will feature Bobby along with an ensemble of some of the greatest African musicians residing in New York City.
New York has long been a haven for African musical talent. This polyglot city of opportunity is now home to significant African communities, particularly from West African countries like Mali, Guinea, Ivory Coast, and Senegal. But the scene is competitive, and the artists who have succeeded here must be excellent and adaptable. They must be accomplished enough to satisfy connoisseurs within their community and savvy enough to make alliances and collaborate with other accomplished artists in genres like jazz, classical, and pop.
The artists in this program more than meet that challenge. They come from two distinct traditions, both of which strongly emphasize improvisation. The first is an ensemble of Mande griots—praise musicians and oral historians whose tradition dates back to the vast Mande Empire of the 12th and 13th centuries. Abdoulaye Diabaté (Mali) and Bébé Camara (Guinea) are supremely talented vocalists, whose mastery of the Mande repertoire, and capacity to shape their words and musical choices to inspire and excite whatever audience is before them, has to be seen to be believed. Accompanying them are Malians Yacouba Sissoko (on the 21-string kora), Mafa Diabaté (on the spike lute called ngoni), Toumani Diabaté (Abdoulaye’s prodigy son, on the wooden slatted balafon), and Idrissa Koné (on the talking drum known as tama). Each of these artists has his own impressive resume, including collaborations with Yo Yo Ma, Regina Carter, Paul Simon, and many popular, jazz, classical, and experimental artists around the country and the world.
Jomion and the Uklos are three brothers from Benin. They grew up in the coastal city of Cotonou at the crossroads of ancient African religion—with its repertoire of transcendently beautiful rhythms and vocal melodies—and Western modernity—a world of brass bands, Latin music, jazz, and American pop. In 1992, they became part of the renowned Gangbé Brass Band, which toured the world with their profound and joyful blend of African spirituality and jazz inventiveness. In 2007, multi-instrumentalist Samuel “Jomion” Gnonlonfoun formed the Uklos with his brothers Mathieu and Jean-Eudes. The group, now residing in New York, extends the Gangbé formula with new intimacy and freedom.
Afropop Worldwide is the U.S.A.’s first and longest-lived national media series celebrating the contemporary music cultures of Africa and the African Diaspora. Hosted by radio personality Georges Collinet from Cameroon, distributed by PRI to 100 stations and available online at afropop.org, the series introduces music fans to world class artists and takes people to exciting musical destinations such as Ghana, Morocco, Mali, Madagascar, Congo, Cuba, Brazil, and beyond. Afropop.org offers an inspiring mix of daily blog posts, podcasts, original videos, features, reviews, NYC Afropop concert listings, and more. The not-for-profit Afropop Worldwide organization has been based in Brooklyn since 1989.
For more information on Afropop Worldwide’s two-part radio series of Mande artists in New York City including several musicians to be featured in “Bobby Meets Africa in New York,” visit http://www.afropop.org/wp/6320/the-mande-diaspora-in-new-york-city-part-1/ and http://www.afropop.org/wp/6320/the-mande-diaspora-in-new-york-city-part-2/.
Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College’s presentation of “Bobby Meets Africa in New York” is made possible, in part, by Con Edison and WFUV Radio.
Multibuy discounts (four or more shows) save 15% off individual ticket prices (not applicable for all 60th Anniversary Season performances). Discounts also available for seniors, students, children ages 12 and under, Brooklyn College faculty/staff/alumni, and groups. $10 student rush tickets available day-of-show.
Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts
Walt Whitman Theatre at Brooklyn College
2/5 trains to Brooklyn College/Flatbush Avenue
Online orders: BrooklynCenter.org
Box Office: 718-951-4500 (Tues-Sat, 1pm-6pm)
Groups of 15 or more: 718-951-4600 ext. 3331
About Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts
Founded in 1954, Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College presents outstanding performing arts and arts education programs, reflective of Brooklyn’s diverse communities, at affordable prices. Each season, Brooklyn Center welcomes over 65,000 people to the 2,400 seat Walt Whitman Theatre, including up to 45,000 schoolchildren from over 300 schools who attend their SchoolTime series, one of the largest arts-in-education programs in the borough.
In 2014-15, Brooklyn Center celebrates its 60th Anniversary Season of presenting world-class performances on the Brooklyn College campus.
Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts’ programs are supported, in part, by public funding from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Major support for the 2014-15 season is provided by: Brooklyn College, Target, Con Edison, TD Bank, National Grid, the Macy’s Foundation, the Herman Goldman Foundation, The Harkness Foundation for Dance, the Jazz Touring Network, the Alice Lawrence Foundation, the Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, the Henry and Lucy Moses Fund, Inc., and the TD Charitable Foundation. Additional support provided by CNG Publications, The Brooklyn Eagle, WFUV, and WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM. The Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott New York Brooklyn is the official hotel of Brooklyn Center’s 60th Anniversary Season. Backstage catering is graciously provided by Applebee’s.
Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts gratefully acknowledges generous support from New York State Assemblymembers Rhoda Jacobs, Alan Maisel, Félix Ortiz, Annette Robinson, and Helene Weinstein, New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Tom Finkelpearl.