WMPE presents rhythmic barrage

by Neil Desai | 11/15/95 6:00am

The beat and movement of African and South American rhythms generated plenty of energy and excitement during the World Music Percussion Ensemble's first performance of the term.

The ensemble, titled "The Big Beat," performed beats from many countries, such as Cuba, Nigeria, Mali, Guinea, Ghana and Brazil.

"The beat can only be as big as you make it," said ensemble director Hafiz Shabazz. "You are all the participants. So if you feel it pounding in your body, then express it."

Things started moving after his bold statement. The ensemble performed the "Lamba," from Guinea and Mali to an audience that was clapping their hands, bobbing their heads and tapping their feet.

"Sometimes, in Hanover, we are a bit sedate and reserved," he said. "Don't be afraid, get it on out."

After his assurance, the audience finally warmed up and got off their seats to dance to the rhythm.

Dancer and dance instructor Marilyn Middleton then walked on the stage with a bright pink shawl and danced along, with riveting, sharp movements.

Then the audience quieted down to hear the soft, yet vibrant tune from the wooden wolosodoun which is meant to "regenerate the spirit of community and friendship."

The ensemble troupe consisted of a number of musicians, including master drummer Abdoul Dombia, Dartmouth alumni in The Ed Rily Trio and many students.

They all came together during "Dirge" to honor musicians Julius Hemphill, Don Cherry and the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

"We play this piece for these men. Hopefully the energy will heal some of the pain," Shabazz said.

The lively performance concluded with "Djimbe," a recreational dance rhythm from West Africa.

"Each time we perform, the momentum starts to build," Shabazz said. "I ask you to contribute your love, sincerity, ideas and material."