Two major concerts tonight at The Hop

by Heather Kofke-Egger | 11/6/98 6:00am

World Percussion Music Ensemble:

Traditional African folk songs, a dance from South Africa and contemporary instrumental accompaniment will come together in "Songs of the Night," a performance by the World Percussion Music Ensemble.

The ensemble, under the direction of Hafiz Shabazz, will perform tonight at 8 p.m. in Spaulding Auditorium.

Songs from Zimbabwe, Malawi and South Africa will be performed with percussion backgrounds and accompanied by traditional Western instruments such as guitar and saxophone. Both old folk songs and contemporary music will be performed in several African languages.

Special guest Kasiya Phiri, visiting instructor of African-American studies, will be singing, accompanying on the guitar and offering narration to go with each song.

Phiri was born and grew up in Zimbabwe. His own experience with the music allowed the group to understand the music better and the social and political issues the songs deal with.

"It's a rare moment," Phiri said in an interview with The Dartmouth. He said he is excited about sharing music that is seldom performed in the United States with people who ordinarily would never get to hear it.

In addition to the singing, a group of Dartmouth medical students will be performing the Gumboot, a dance done by South African diamond and coal miners at the end of a hard day's work.

"Songs of the Night" is the third of a six-part series, the "Moon Over Rhythm Series," which features both well known and more obscure musical forms from Africa, South America and the Caribbean Islands.

Chamber Singers:

The Dartmouth College Chamber Singers will present "The Age of Opulence," a performance of seventeenth and eighteenth century music, this Friday at 8 p.m. in the Rollins Chapel under the direction of Charles Houmard.

"The Age of Opulence" refers to the style of music praising both God and king which was popular in the late 1600s and 1700s. It was used by clergy and royalty to promote their own causes through music.

Soprano Jee-Hyun Lim is a featured guest and will perform solos in some of the pieces. Margaret Irwin-Brandon will be the special guest organist.

The performance will begin with shorter pieces representative of this period. Then the choir will perform an excerpt from the opera Dido and Aeneas by Henry Purcell. Four students will be soloists; Sarah Craft as Dido, Elizabeth Owen as Belinda, Jennifer Bowman as Second Woman and Joshua Clapper as the sailor.

An excerpt from Ode for St. Cecilia's Day by George Frederic Handel will follow, featuring Lim.

The program will conclude with the complete Little Organ Mass by Joseph Hayden. The mass will be sung in Latin using the Germanic pronunciation that would have been used for the original performance.

"The Age of Opulence" offers not only beautiful classical music, but also music presented in the most historically accurate way. The Chamber Singers will be accompanied by musicians playing period instruments, or replicas of instruments that would have been played at the time the music was written.

The new organ in Rollins Chapel, recently purchased by the College, will be heard for the first time at this performance. The organ is the same style as those built at the time of Handel.

The singers have been preparing for this concert since the beginning of the term.

In addition to this performance, the Chamber Singers will perform a fully staged version of Dido and Aeneas in February. This will be the first all-student performance of the opera.