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Music: June 2015 Archives

The Offense of The Drum

Arturo O'Farrill is a Grammy-winning Latin jazz pianist who makes a highly anticipated appearance at David Pecaut Square Tuesday as part of Luminato. O'Farrill's reputation for being a fearless experimenter is evidenced on "The Offense of The Drum". His 18-member orchestra, do a cracking job fusing rhythms from Spain, South America and the Caribbean with big band jazz. And yes, there's also some turntablism and spoken word in the mix. There's a message in the music, too, he says. "The Offense of the Drum" was inspired by New York city police attempting to ban drum circles in city parks in the 90s because of noise complaints and reports of some people smoking weed and drinking. Arturo once said, "The drum is a way to connect diverse communities and is the heartbeat of many cultures, and so it can be seen as offensive to those in power who try and control our freedom of expression". The album, by the way, features 35 different drums from all over the world. Jane Bunnett and her all-female all-Cuban group Maqueque open for Arturo O'Farrill and his 18-piece-band on Tuesday. @ErrolNazareth


Kora Virtuoso

Seckou Keita is a virtuoso on the kora, an ancient instrument indigenous to West Africa. He just released an album titled "22 Strings" that Errol says forces you to slow down. The kora is a harp made from the shell of a large calabash. It is covered in cow skin and has 21 strings made from nylon fishing line. In the hands of a master like Keita, this ancient instrument can produce some exquisite, meditative sounds. Keita was born in southern Senegal 31 years back. His mother was the daughter of one of that region's most renowned and revered griots. And Seckou's father was a descendant of the famous Emperor Sunjata Keita who founded the Malian Empire in the 13th century. Seckou lives in Nottingham, England, and over the years he's received rave reviews for his daring musical partnerships. Errol agrees with him when he says everyone who listens to "22 Strings" will feel they've got more time in their lives than they realized. @ErrolNazareth