Music Programs


Music Programs
Combining rhythms from Africa and Latin America with jazz elements from the USA, Afro-Latin jazz includes salsa, meringue, mambo, rhumba, cha cha and much more. With members of Arturo O’Farrill’s Afro-Latin jazz ensemble, musicians break down the multilayered rhythms of Latin music, exploring the history and culture of Latin America and its connection to European, African and Indigenous cultures.
Artists: Pablo Bilbraut, Ricky Rodriguez, and members of the Arturo O’Farrill Afro-Latin Jazz ensemble (see Artist Bios)
Liliana Araujo, Scott Kettner, and Uri Sharlin examine many of the rich folk music traditions of northeastern Brazil, a region that was a center of the Brazilian slave trade. They explore the ceremonial origins of Maracatu, a musical tradition brought from Africa with the slaves, and share their knowledge of local folk music and storytelling.  Liliana, a singer/dancer, Scott, a percussionist and songwriter, and Uri, an accordionist and pianist, get students clapping rhythms, singing, and moving.
Artists: Liliana Araujo, Scott Kettner, and Uri Sharlin(see Artist Bios)
Steel Impressions performs music from calypso to reggae, as well as European classical, rhythm and blues, jazz, and contemporary popular tunes. One of the most famous of "recycled" instruments, the tuneful steel drum was originally created from discarded oil barrels. Steel Impressions' music is festive and appeals to audiences of all ages.
Artists: Ovril and Angela Solomons (see Artist Bios)
Taikoza, a Japanese music ensemble that features the awe-inspiring taiko drum, provides a unique perspective on Japanese culture. In this workshop, Taikoza introduces various traditional Japanese musical instruments by teaching the Japanese vocabulary related to the instruments along with the history of the ancient festivals that inspired the music. Dressed in traditional costumes that add to the visual excitement of the workshop or performance, the artists play a variety of Japanese instruments, such as the shakuhachi flute and the stringed koto. The workshop culminates with participants playing the instruments themselves.
Artists: Marco Lienhard & members of Taikoza (see Artist Bios)
Through the rhythms and movements of Plains Indians music and dance, groups learn the origins of tribal traditions and discuss the history of the Plains Indians. Under the direction of Louis Mofsie, the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers introduce musical instruments, artifacts and clothing of various Plains Indian tribes. Students learn and perform Native American dances and songs. In the lecture demonstration or performance format, Thunderbird’s colorful tribal regalia adds to the vibrancy of their music, dance and storytelling.
Artists: Louis Mofsie and the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers (see Artist Bios)
Placing emphasis on the songs and dances of the Iroquois, participants learn and perform several Native American songs and dances, while exploring the past and the present of the Iroquois nation with Louis Mofsie (Green Rainbow,) and members of the Thunderbird American Indian Dancers. Through stories, discussion, clothing, instruments, other artifacts, and Native American vocabulary added depth is brought to the presentation.
Artists: Louis Mofsie and theThunderbird American Indian Dancers (see Artist Bios)
Leaving Europe behind and declaring independence from England in 1776, colonial Americans kept strong ties to European traditions through music. Accompanied by instruments such as the hammered dulcimer, the mountain dulcimer, and the fiddle, our teaching artists provide hands-on demonstrations of these musical traditions. The artists illustrate how American music reflects not only its European roots and continuing influence, but fundamental aspects of life, like communication, personal expression, spiritual life and heritage. Participants and audience members will sing, write songs, make homemade instruments and enjoy the sounds of traditional folk music.
Artists: Linda Russell or Abby Newton (see Artist Bios)
After the introduction of slavery to America, African music became and continues to be a major influence on American culture. Our teaching artists give students an exciting interactive experience as they explain the origin of the African musical elements that drive today’s American music: call and response; polyrhythms; and the heritage of the griot or praise singer, the forerunner of today’s rappers. From spirituals to rap, the artists embark on a journey exploring African-American life through music from the 17th century to the present.
Artists: Juanita Faulkner, Vickie Tanner or Marsha Perry Starkes (see Artist Bios)
Led by Women of the Calabash, a vocal and instrumental ensemble, this workshop or performance explores the traditional musical forms of Africa, the Caribbean and the Americas. The artists bring a variety of percussion instruments made from natural materials into the workshop for participants to play, including the shekere which is made from a type of gourd called a calabash from which the group takes its name. In the classroom or at a performance, this group captivates students with irresistible music interwoven with stories of African culture and history.
Artists: Director, Madeline Yayodele Nelson and members of Women of the Calabash (see Artist Bios)
Exploring the historical and geographical context of African music, Spirit Ensemble brings bright, pulsating African rhythms into the classroom or stage. Using their voices and a multitude of unusual instruments including the mbira, kora, and shekere, the group weaves a tapestry of percussion patterns and melodies. Experts in the music of Africa and the African Diaspora, musicians perform an array of traditional, as well as their own original compositions, encouraging audiences to clap and dance along with them.
Artists: Hasan Bakr and Kevin Nathaniel Hylton (see Artist Bios)
This special two-part workshop engages participants in creating homemade instruments out of recycled materials. In Part One, students make and decorate their homemade instruments under the direction of a visual artist. In Part Two, l students learn to play African rhythms on their original instruments. The workshop culminates in an in-class performance at your school or organization. At least ninety minutes is needed for the second workshop. [Participants must bring in empty plastic, cardboard or metal containers from home.]
Artists: Barbara Barry, Nicole Haroutunian, , Christopher Lea, Misha McGlown, Lance Paladino, Petra Pankow, Rose Pearlman, or Kristie Valentine and Kevin Nathaniel Hylton (see Artist Bios)
In this workshop participants make their own mbira (also known as likembe or thumb piano,) the ancient melodic instrument found throughout Africa. Master mbira-maker and -player, Kevin Hylton, teaches students how to play their original instruments. The workshop culminates in an in-class performance. At least ninety minutes are needed to complete this workshop. [Additional fee of $10 per participant for supplies.]
Artist: Kevin Nathaniel Hylton (see Artist Bios)
For more information about Global Arts contact Regina Larkin, Manager of Education Programs, at regina.larkin@symphonyspace.org, (212) 864-1414 ext. 212.