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Safety Measures at Symphony Space

We are thrilled to be welcoming you to Symphony Space!

The health and safety of all are our top priorities. Symphony Space requires that all staff, artists, and patrons be fully vaccinated (and provide proof), and that everyone (except performers on stage) wear masks while in the building.

Please be advised that certain events may have additional Covid-19 requirements, which can be found on the event page on our website.

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The Sources of African Music

  • Culture | Africa
  • Format | Workshop, School Assembly, Cultural Field Trip, After School Program, Community Event
  • Discipline | Music
  • Level | Grades 3 to 5, Grades 6 to 8, Grades 9 to 12

Voices and a multitude of traditional African instruments, such as the mbira, djimbe and shekere, bring African music to life in this offering. Professional musicians share their instruments and include students in the communal nature of music in Africa, introducing them to some of the key elements: polyrhythm, call and response, and improvisation.


Hasan Bakr
Education Artists Hasan Bakr

Hasan Bakr is a percussionist, singer, and composer, who found his first musical expressions in the tonal arts of the drum and percussion. He has studied masters with discipline for most of his adult life with such notables as Chief Bey (shekere and bell), Babafeami (Conga), Nana Vasconcelos (berimbau and caxixi), Little Ray Romero (timbales), and Mbemba Bangoura (Djembe). Hasan molded a unique vocal ability that landed a position as lead singer in the legendary Spirit Ensemble and Heritage OP, both New York based percussion ensembles.

Kevin Nathaniel Hylton
Education Artists Kevin Nathaniel Hylton

Kevin Nathaniel Hylton is a musician and composer who is the founding member of Spirit Ensemble, Heritage OP, Forestdance, and Kaleidhaphonic. He has produced 9 recordings, and can be heard on the Narada collection “African Voices” and the Ellipsis Arts release “African Dreams.” As a teaching artist, Mr. Hylton has presented workshops and lectures/demos at several venerated institutions, including Lincoln Center, Juilliard, University of Michigan, and Wesleyan University. He graduated cum laude with a B.F.A from Yale University.

Sanga of the Valley
Education Artists Sanga Of The Valley

Sanga of the Valley is a Trinidadian master percussionist who has been a part of Symphony Space’s Global Arts programs since 1989 - taking part in the Africa and Latin America curriculums. Sanga specializes in djembe drumming and has taught in classrooms, workshop settings, assemblies, and after-school programs in public schools all over New York City. Sanga has studied with some of the world’s greatest drummers from West Africa, the Caribbean, Brazil, and the United States, including Babatunde Olatunji. He has performed throughout the world with artists such as Carlos Santana, The Grateful Dead, and Gabriella Roth.

Marsha Perry Starkes
Education Artists Marsha Perry Starkes

Marsha Perry Starkes is a multifaceted musician who combines traditional African instruments and musical forms with contemporary influences. Her recordings include Bird Lives! Through the Neo Bass Ensemble, Hit It!, and Bebop meets Bass. She sings and plays the music of Africa, Latin America, North America, and the Caribbean. Marsha holds a B.S. in Theatre Arts from Marygrove College in Detroit, MI.

Women of the Calabash
Education Artists Women Of The Calabash

Women of the Calabash, founded in 1978, combines traditional instruments, vocals, and music forms with contemporary influences to perform music from Africa, the Caribbean, and black America. Under artistic director Madeleine Yayodele Nelson, Women of the Calabash uses moments during workshops and performances to teach the history and playing techniques of the various instruments used, giving context to the music they perform. Women of the Calabash shared billing with performers such as the Temptations, Richie Havens, Philip Glass, Odetta, and more.

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