AGBEKOR, Playing for the planet

Playing for the planet

On Saturday, October 24, 2009, six different Boston-based performers of international music and dance will join together to draw attention to the global climate crisis. Featured artists include: Balkan and European music by members of the internationally acclaimed ensemble Libana; contemporary Indian classical dance with the Aparna Sindhoor Dance Theater; Japanese classical music for koto and shakuhachi with Ayakano Cathleen Read & Elizabeth Reian Bennett; Hindustani classical music with Warren Senders and The Raga Ensemble; middle-Eastern music with Beth Bahia Cohen and Friends, and traditional drumming and dance of Ghana with the Agbekor Drum and Dance Society.

Agbekor is the name of one of the most important idioms of
traditional music of the Ewe “nation” and a mainstay in the kinds of music the Agbekor Society performs. In its full flower, the media of Ewe performance art include percussion ensemble, singing, dancing, costuming, poetry, and theater. Its closest counterpart among the European arts is opera. Ewe performance is a living folk art, performed not by professional specialists but by regular people as a normal part of their lives. Performances occur during religious worship, life cycle rituals such as births, weddings and funerals, and annual festivals. Ewe percussion music is polyrhythmic. Many instruments simultaneously play different repetitive rhythms, each carefully designed to fit nicely with the others. The overall effect has been described as a “sonic sculpture.”
Led by David Locke, the group’s founder and director, and a professor in the Music Department and the Dance Program at Tufts University (Medford, MA).
The Society is modeled after the community drum-and-dance clubs found in West Africa.

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