WMPE features drummer from Mali
The World Music Percussion Ensemble, led by Hafiz Shabazz, will feature three guest artists playing alongside the 23-piece group tomorrow night in Spaulding Auditorium.
The concert is billed as a combination of traditional and contemporary styles of drumming, according to Shabazz. "The concert explores the origins of traditional West African music and the evolution of what is considered 'world music' today," Shabazz said.
Joined by Malian drummer Abdoul Doumbia, dancer Marilyn Middleton and the Ed Rily trio, the ensemble will explore several new compositions, blending melodic and harmonic elements into their playing.
"We will play from West Africa to Brazil; some of the pieces are cross-cultural, some are traditional West African and some are considered world music," Shabazz said.
Doumbia, a drummer molded in traditional African rhythms, is currently a music instructor at Brown University. He has also been the lead drummer for the National Ballet of Mali and a drumming troupe called babemba. A thoroughly talented and creative drummer, Doumbia started studying music at the age of six, according to Shabazz.
Though Doumbia employs traditional rhythms with unusual effectiveness, he also "incorporates various contemporary styles, which are now known as world music."
Middleton, who is currently a professor at the University of Massachussetts (Amherst) will visit Dartmouth for the second time in the past few weeks. During her first visit, she led an West African dancing class. This time, however, she will dance alongside the ensemble and Doumbia.
Since Doumbia and Middleton are "primarily from the same culture, their styles match perfectly," Shabazz said.
Middleton, like Doumbia is a traditional-style dancer whose dancing focuses on the Malian and Ghanian 'mandenka' and 'malinke' styles.