World Music Percussion Ensemble performs on Wednesday

by Maya Poddar | 11/2/15 6:30pm

With a program ranging from Coldplay’s “Clocks” (2002) to recreational Malian dance music, the World Music Percussion Ensemble’s fall show will cover a breadth of styles.

The show will combine West African and South American traditional music styles, Hopkins Center media relations coordinator Rebecca Bailey said.

The group is directed by ethnomusicologist and music professor Hafiz Shabazz, who is a “master West African drummer,” Bailey said. Shabazz has played with various improvisational jazz groups, most notably Wind and Thunder.

The program will showcase music from a range of non-Western cultures and will be an engaging performance, Bailey said.

The ensemble performance will feature members of Viva Quetzal, an Andean-influenced world music group. Viva Quetzal uses a variety of North and South American instruments including Peruvian panpipes and Venezuelan cuatros, an instrument from the guitar family. The ensemble has not yet practiced with the members of Viva Quetzal, but will do so on Tuesday night, Andrew Siegel ’19 said.

“We are going to have our dress rehearsal [Tuesday] night, which will be the first time we’re working with Viva Quetzal,” he said.

The show is Seigel’s first, he said, and he’s excited about the range of music covered in the program. The program order will be announced from the stage and will include the pieces “Mazacote” (1959) by Mongo Santamaria, Afro-Cuban traditional “Abakwa,” “Pampa Lirima” by Jose Miguel Marquez, Venezuelan traditional “Montilla,” “El Cumbanchero” (1946) by Rafael Hernandez and “Pagode Jazz Sardinha’s Club.”

Mongo Santamaria was a rumba quinto leader most well-known for his standard “Afro Blue” (1959), which was recorded by John Coltrane in 1963. “Abakwa” and “Montilla” are both traditional pieces from Cuba and Venezuela, respectively. “El Cumbanchero” was created by Rafael Hernandez, a composer of popular Puerto Rican music.

The ensemble has practicedmany of the pieces from Wednesday’s show in the past. Though their spring show was not performed due to a power outage, its programfeatured “Clocks,” “Abakwa,” “Montilla,” “Mazacote” and “Pampa Lirima.”

The group includes both students and non-students, though some students on the program are no longer part of the group.

“I’m actually not part of the percussion ensemble anymore,” Joshua Lee ’19 said when asked about the performance.

The World Music Percussion Ensemble consists of nine members and often partners with other world music groups. There will be six members from Viva Quetzal joining the ensemble. Chilean musician Roberto Clavijo will be playing panpipes. Abe Sanchez will be playing both the piano and the cuatro. Jon Weeks will be performing the saxophone and flute, and Rudi Weeks will be on bass. The guest sextet also includes Joe Belmont on guitar and William Rodriguez on congas and vocals.

Viva Quetzal also performed with the World Music Percussion ensemble in the spring.

The World Music Percussion ensemble’s show will be on Wednesday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the Hop’s Spaulding Auditorium.

Correction appended (Nov. 3, 2015):

This story originally stated that the ensemble had performed many of the songs from Wednesday's show in the past, because their spring show had featured "Clocks," Abakwa," "Montilla," "Mazacote" and "Pampa Lirima." While the program featured these songs, the show was not performed due to a power outage. The ensemble has practiced these songs, but has not performed them. The story has been updated.