Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Afro-Beats! LIVE Multicultural Music Fun Feb 25th at Harris Theater


*Tickets are available for only $10*

Fulcrum Point New Music Project, the city’s leader in new art music and inventive collaborations between traditional music and popular culture, commemorates Black History Month with Afro-Beats! Fela, Monk, and the Roots of American Music in one performance only at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph Drive, Saturday, February 25, at 2 p.m. This performance is presented by the Harris Theater Family Series.

All tickets for Afro-Beats! Fela, Monk, and the Roots of American Music are available for only $10. To purchase tickets, please visit www.harristheaterchicago.org or call 312-334-7777.

The concert program, which includes works by Fela Kuti, Thelonius Monk, Paquito D’Rivera, John Coltrane and more, explores West African music and dance, which still dramatically influences American culture today. Recognized for its percussive beat, the West African rhythms and dance are used to show the interconnectedness of different cultures through music. Children of all ages are invited to participate in drumming circles, traditional African dances, and soulful songs in this spirited one-time-only event.

Guest musicians and dancers for Afro-Beats! include Idy Ciss (dancer and former member of the National Ballet), Jim Gailloreto (accomplished jazz saxophonist, arranger and composer), John Knecht (a master drum player), Morikeba Kouyate (master of the kora and West African oral tradition), and students from the Woodlawn Elementary Band and Djemble Ensemble, who participate in Fulcrum Point’s Sound Tracks PLUS Chicago Public School program.

Idy Ciss is a teaching artist from Senegal, a former member of the National Ballet and current member of the Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago. In addition, Ciss teaches West African Dance classes at the Old Town School of Folk Music, Lycee Francais de Chicago, Soulistic Studio & Spa and Joel Hall Dance Center. He was recently awarded the Joseph Holmes Award for Best Choreography in a Music/Dance Program for his choreography of “Dekkal Thiossane” (Rebirth of Culture) by the Black Theater Alliance Awards.

A griot (“carrier of the oral tradition”) and kora master, Morikeba Kouyate is known throughout West Africa for his electrifying performances and virtuosity with the kora, a 21- string instrument from the West African countries of the Gambia, Senegal, and Mali. Kouyate, who has received grants from the Illinois Arts Council the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs Community Arts Assistance Program, has given workshops around the country and has taught at Harvard, DePaul, Northwestern, Xavier, and many other universities.

Jim Gailloreto is an accomplished jazz saxophonist, arranger and composer.  He has performed with Bill Russo's Chicago Jazz Ensemble, Chicago Chamber Musicians along with Fulcrum Point. His string quartet arrangements can be heard on Kurt Elling's CD "Dedicated To You."  Also, he recently performed a Chicago premiere of Marc Anthony Turnage's "Scorched" with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and John Scofield.

John Knecht is a professional percussionist who has traveled to over 25 countries to master the art of drumming. He has studied and performed with legends in jazz, rock, funk, classical and African styles, with an emphasis on drum set and African percussion. Knecht, and the fellow drummers in his company Pulse Beat Music, believe in the power of teamwork and leadership to bring student groups closer together.

Also joining the performance are members from the Woodlawn Community Elementary School Band as part of Fulcrum Point’s Sound Tracks PLUS program which is an advanced, 100% participatory program for 5th & 6th graders who learn to make music using drums, keyboard percussion, traditional dance, and song.  At the end of their five workshops, all the students are required to demonstrate their skills through a final performance together with Fulcrum Point musicians--and this concert marks the students’ final performance!

Formed by trumpet virtuoso and conductor Stephen Burns in 1998, Fulcrum Point New Music Project champions new classical music and highlights contemporary composers who are inspired and influenced by popular culture, including literature, film, dance, folk, rock, jazz, blues, Latin and world music.  Through multi-disciplinary concert performances and educational programs, the Fulcrum Point ensemble seeks to encourage audiences to make cross-cultural connections between new music, art, technology and literature, gaining greater insight into today’s diverse world.  Burns, himself, has been acclaimed on four continents for his widely varied performances encompassing recitals, orchestral appearances, chamber ensemble engagements, and innovative multi-media presentations involving video, dance theatre, and sculpture.

Fulcrum Point New Music Project's year round programs are supported in part by: the Chicago Tribune, a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, Columbia College Chicago, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Inc., The Earl and Brenda Shapiro Foundation, The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, The Irving Harris Foundation, Heitman, LLC., The Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, JNL Graphic Design, The Anne & Burton B. Kaplan Fund of The Mayer & Morris Kaplan Family Foundation, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Neisser Family Fund, public funds from the Netherlands Cultural Services, The Polk Brothers Foundation, The Daniel and Genevieve Ratner Foundation, The Seneca, The STEP Foundation, and The Zuckerman Family Foundation.

For more information on Afro-Beats! or the Fulcrum Point New Music Project, please visit www.fulcrumpoint.org.

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