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African Music

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ENTERTAINMENT
September 27, 1991 | By Jack Lloyd, Inquirer Staff Writer
Jean Luc Ponty, the French violinist who established himself as a major force in fusion jazz and rock circles during the early '70s, is back with his most interesting project in years. It cannot be said that this is an especially innovative project. Ponty, you see, jumped on the world-music trend, surrounded himself with a delegation of West African musicians and came up with this new album, Tchokola. Not an original idea, to be sure, but the music is generally quite delightful.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 22, 1994 | By Tom Moon, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Of all the music festivals crowding the schedule this summer, Africa Fete - which begins its second annual summer invasion of the United States with a free extravaganza tonight at Camden's Wiggins Waterfront Park - is the most focused. There are the mega-fetes such as Woodstock that attempt to reflect the interests of a huge mass of people by booking rap acts and grunge rockers and sensitive balladeers. There are more esoteric gatherings, such as WOMAD (World of Music Arts and Dance)
ENTERTAINMENT
April 13, 2000 | By David Patrick Stearns, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Most people who fall in love with lands far from home are content to take snapshots. But while in Africa, British composer David Fanshawe brought back the sounds around him as he recorded his journeys, tribe by tribe, chant by chant, rainstorm by rainstorm, in music now heard on tape in conjunction with his singular setting of the Latin Mass, African Sanctus. It's a far cry from Handel's Messiah. The Choral Society of Montgomery County is braving the rhythmically and technologically complex work - coordinating Fanshawe's African tapes, slides and ethnic instruments - in performances at three venues tonight through Saturday.
NEWS
December 29, 1997 | For The Inquirer / JOAN FAIRMAN KANES
Storyteller Pat Butler (left) performs with other cast members in Kwanzaa-Fest '97. Saturday's performance at the Keswick Theatre in Glenside featured African music, dance and storytelling. The cultural celebration of Kwanzaa focuses on the family and community.
NEWS
November 25, 2004 | By Annette John-Hall INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Sometimes all it takes is vision, passion, and a connection to Ben & Jerry's ice cream to do some good in the world. That's really all it came down to for Jesse Brenner, a 23-year-old from Wayne who has merged his interests in world music and social justice to aid the refugees of war-torn Sudan. Brenner, a senior at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, along with classmate Eric Herman, founded Modiba Productions, a nonprofit that produces and promotes African music. And in a huge coup this week, Modiba released its first album - ASAP: The Afrobeat Sudan Aid Project, an all-star compilation of Afrobeat artists - as a digital download through iTunes.
NEWS
March 19, 2013 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Inquirer Staff Writer
William J. Ridenhour, 71, of Ambler, a gifted singer of African American spirituals and gospel music, died in his sleep Monday, March 11, at home. He was a heart patient, his family said. Mr. Ridenhour ran his own business, Celebrity Caterers, from home. Dapper and distinguished looking, he liked to move among people and make them feel welcome. He did that with his gift of gab, his cooking, and his singing. "There is a biblical term called 'given to hospitality,' and he was that," said his wife, Ann. "He loved people, and to chitchat.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 5, 1992 | By Lesley Valdes, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Experimental and world music are the order of the afternoon at the Yellow Springs Institute, an international center for arts and ideas that begins its summer performances on Saturday. Featured artists include Russell Frehling, who calls himself a "sound artist" because he works with the acoustical properties of outdoor sites; Irish flutist Seamus Egan; composer Matt Darriau, and the West African percussionist Epizo. Frehling's piece, "Terrain Line," explores the acoustical properties of outdoor locations by recording noises onto a tape loop, which he then processes.
NEWS
May 8, 2012 | By Kevin L. Carter, FOR THE INQUIRER
Vieux Farka Toure is a second-generation guitar luminary who has made a career successfully merging Africa and the diaspora. When he appeared at the Annenberg Center's Prince Theatre for the first of two sets Friday night, he showed the world he is not blending the music of his native Mali with that of other places. With an array of songs that ranged from African chamber music to Maghreb-Andaluz romps to slashing, incisive blues to joyous, rocking dance tunes, the guitarist showed the world that it's all been in Africa since the beginning.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 17, 2000 | By Kevin L. Carter, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
There are a lot of questions you could ask Russ Gershon, leader of the Either/Orchestra, a decidedly nontraditional-jazz big band from Cambridge, Mass., that has been around for about 15 years and is performing Saturday at the Painted Bride Art Center. But one question just begs to be asked: What's up with the Ethiopian pop music? "I can't say that it came from any serious study of ethnomusicology," he said. "I have loved African music of all kinds since the 1970s. . . . A friend, Mark Sandman, gave me this CD called Ethiopian Groove, and it is just a really great album.
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NEWS
March 19, 2013 | By Bonnie L. Cook, Inquirer Staff Writer
William J. Ridenhour, 71, of Ambler, a gifted singer of African American spirituals and gospel music, died in his sleep Monday, March 11, at home. He was a heart patient, his family said. Mr. Ridenhour ran his own business, Celebrity Caterers, from home. Dapper and distinguished looking, he liked to move among people and make them feel welcome. He did that with his gift of gab, his cooking, and his singing. "There is a biblical term called 'given to hospitality,' and he was that," said his wife, Ann. "He loved people, and to chitchat.
NEWS
January 14, 2013 | By Kevin L. Carter, For The Inquirer
Hard-driving African music held court Saturday night at World Cafe Live. And though rhythms of Africa and its diaspora dominated the proceedings, drums had very little to do with this domination. Debo Band, from Boston, has gone all in on the Ethiopian pop music of the 1970s, a veritable golden age of creativity in that venerable land. Though other groups, including Either/Orchestra, Debo's Hub homeboys, have done homage to this music, none is as adventurous or unabashedly traditional as Debo.
NEWS
May 8, 2012 | By Kevin L. Carter, FOR THE INQUIRER
Vieux Farka Toure is a second-generation guitar luminary who has made a career successfully merging Africa and the diaspora. When he appeared at the Annenberg Center's Prince Theatre for the first of two sets Friday night, he showed the world he is not blending the music of his native Mali with that of other places. With an array of songs that ranged from African chamber music to Maghreb-Andaluz romps to slashing, incisive blues to joyous, rocking dance tunes, the guitarist showed the world that it's all been in Africa since the beginning.
NEWS
March 25, 2012 | By Dan DeLuca, Inquirer Music Critic
Fela Anikulapo Kuti, the Nigerian bandleader and political firebrand whose life and legacy are celebrated in Fela! , the Broadway musical that completes its eight-show run at the Academy of Music with two performances Sunday, is a singular figure in pop-music history. As an artist, Fela - who's best known mononymously, like Madonna or Adele - continually expressed his contempt for the military dictatorship of his own country, as well for what he saw as the rapacious colonialism of Western business interests.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 28, 2012
Theater The Scottsboro Boys is not a minstrel show. It's a musical, yes, the last by John Kander and the late Fred Ebb (book by David Thompson). It revives the characters and conventions of minstrelsy and it's plenty entertaining. But this tale about a very real miscarriage of justice uses every element of the minstrel form to highlight the viciousness and humiliations of racism. Philadelphia Theatre Company, producing the show's first post-Broadway incarnation, features some homegrown talent, including Eric Ebbenga, who provides sharp musical direction, and several Philly-based actors, including Forrest McClendon.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 27, 2012
Stephane Wrembel's 2012 Django a Go-Go Festival The song and sound of Parisian hot jazz come to the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Friday night; more specifically, for Stephane Wrembel's 2012 Django a Go-Go Festival. The festival, a six-year-old tradition of New York jazz cafe society, celebrates the life and sweet-and-lowdown music of gypsy jiving guitarist Django Reinhardt and his lusty shuffling rhythms. Wrembel, too, is no slouch when it comes to the six strings and pulsating grooves.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 21, 2011 | By Steve Klinge, For The Inquirer
Senegal's Baaba Maal is respected as both a musician and an ambassador of African culture, and his "Tales From the Sahel" pays equal attention to both roles. Typical of all of Maal's work, it's a hybrid. The 57-year-old has recorded with Brian Eno and with New York electronic artists Brazilian Girls, and he's long mixed traditional Senegalese styles with Jamaican reggae, American blues, and other genres. He studied music formally in Paris, and he's an international star who between tours returns to his native fishermen's village of Podor.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 22, 2011 | By Dante Anthony Fuoco
Friday-Sunday Exponential Experience A slew of artists from various backgrounds will play at the XPoNential Music Festival, sponsored by WXPN. Performers include Emmylou Harris, the Smithereens, Ben Folds, Ra Ra Riot, and Johnny Miles and the Waywards. Doors open at 4 p.m. Friday and noon Saturday and Sunday at Wiggins Park Marina in Camden along the waterfront at Mickle Boulevard. A three-day festival pass is $65, $45 for WXPN members. Daily tickets are $30, $20 for WXPN members, $5 per child each day. Information: 215-222-1400; www.xpn.org/concerts-events/festival11 . Saturday Music from the world The 40th Street Summer Series will continue this weekend with a free outdoor concert including Brazilian, Middle Eastern, and African music.
NEWS
April 14, 2010 | By Sam Adams FOR THE INQUIRER
For the members of Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars, "African music" isn't just a phrase; it's a sentence. Or at least that's how they used it at World Cafe Live Monday night, as if the music needed no subject or object to be complete. For a time, music was the closest to a home the group's eight members had. As chronicled in the 2005 documentary named for the band, they came together in refugee camps after being displaced by the civil war in Sierra Leone, a grisly affair in which tens of thousands died and many more suffered amputations at the rebels' hands.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 19, 2010 | By Steve Klinge FOR THE INQUIRER
'Every time I pick up my banjo it seems like there's something new waiting there for me to figure out," says Bela Fleck. Although he's best known for his work in bluegrass, with New Grass Revival and his own fusion group, the Flecktones, Fleck is a restless explorer. He's played jazz with pianist Chick Corea, composed classical concertos with bassist Edgar Meyer and Indian percussionist Zakir Hussain, and released a version of "Jingle Bells" with Tuvan throat singers. And that's just in the five years that have followed Fleck's three-month sojourn in Africa, exploring the origins of the banjo and collaborating with musicians from Mali, Tanzania, South Africa, Uganda, Senegal, and elsewhere.
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