Monday, January 31, 2011

Washington Post: “IBIS opened with 'Summerland,' a luminous piece by the African American composer William Grant Still”

[William Grant Still (Photo is the sole property of William Grant Still Music, and is used with permission.)]

Washington Post
By Stephen Brookes
Monday, January 31, 2011; 6:23 PM
Dar Williams is a guitar-strumming pop-folk singer, known for her coffeehouse style and intensely personal songs. The IBIS Chamber Music Society is a sophisticated, highly-polished classical ensemble. Doomed to live on separate planets, or can the two find musical happiness together?"

“Did it work? It was clear at Sunday's performance that this was a labor of love, with affection and mutual respect on all sides. IBIS opened with 'Summerland,' a luminous piece by the African American composer William Grant Still, before Williams came out with her guitar for 'Calling the Moon.'" [William Grant Still (1895-1978) is profiled at, where a complete Works List by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma is found.]

Organist Mickey Thomas Terry in Works of Adolphus Hailstork, Ulysses Kay and George Walker Feb. 21 U. Mich., Ann Arbor

[Mickey Thomas Terry, Ph.D.]

AfriClassical has received this announcement from organist Dr. Mickey Thomas Terry:

Mickey Thomas Terry will be performing on February 21 in Hill Auditorium at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) as part of a symposium entitled: 'The Pipe Organ in African-American Worship.' Performed will be organ compositions by Mark Fax, Adolphus Hailstork, Ulysses Kay, Ruth Norman, and George Walker.

“Many of these works are featured in Dr. Terry's six-volume compilation 'African-American Organ Music Anthology,' published by MorningStar Music Publishers (Fenton, MO). This symposium will explore the past, present, and future of the pipe organ in African-American worship traditions. Dr. James Kibbie is Director. For further program and registration information:; Email: [Adolphus C. Hailstork, Ulysses S. Kay & George Walker are profiled at]

Sony: 'Legacy of AMERICAN DIVA Shirley Verrett, Four Previously Unavailable Recordings Released February 1, 2011'

[Falla's Seven Popular Spanish songs; Shirley Verret, mezzo-soprano; SONY Music Entertainment Downloads LLC (Feb. 1, 2011)]

Elisa Peimer of Sony Masterworks sends this press release on recordings of Shirley Verrett:

“Dear Colleague:
Below please find the press release and streaming music for four digital and burn-on-demand Shirley Verrett albums that will be available February 1.

Carnegie Hall Recital

Falla's Seven Popular Spanish songs and Songs by Granados / Nin / Obradors / Montsalvatge / Turina

Vocal Music of Vivaldi

Singin' in the Storm

“Sony Masterworks Commemorates The Recorded Legacy of AMERICAN DIVA Shirley Verrett

“Four Previously Unavailable Recordings Released February 1, 2011

“SONY MASTERWORKS commemorates the recorded legacy of American diva Shirley Verrett (1931-2010), one of the most acclaimed mezzo-sopranos of the second half of the twentieth century. Four of her earliest recordings that have not been translated to CD until now: Falla’s Seven Popular Spanish Songs, Carnegie Hall Recital, Singin’ in the Storm and Vocal Music of Vivaldi will be available through all major digital service providers and as disc-on-demand February 1, 2011.

"Verrett was perhaps the most commanding of remarkable African-American artists that followed Leontyne Price’s breakthrough internationally and at the Metropolitan Opera. Verrett’s career hit its stride just as the civil rights movement had its first successes, though she had already enjoyed a decade of international acclaim by the time she made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1968. A mezzo-soprano whose flexible voice allowed her to sing the great soprano roles, Verrett, was a glamorous woman with a striking presence on the world’s great opera stages for more than thirty years."

'Anthology Film Archives' Shows Ed Bland's Film 'The Cry of Jazz' March 13 at Annual Film Preservation Event

[Ed Bland]

Ed Bland is known as a composer of Jazz and Classical Music. On Oct. 8, 2009 AfriClassical posted: “Music of African American Composer Ed Bland Used In Ballets of 'Company Stefanie Batten Bland.'” Ed Bland sends us this message about

“Jonas Mekas asked me to aid him and the Anthology Film Archives in alerting interested parties concerning this March 13th event."

"Dear Film Lovers:
On March 13th Anthology is having its annual film preservation event at the City Winery. Anthology is honoring those who preserve film, and it's also a fundraiser for Anthology. This year Anthology needs c.$120,000 to redo our sidewalk (water is leaking into Anthology's basement)."

“On the March 13th occasion, Anthology will honor Ed Bland for making THE CRY OF JAZZ.
Bland's THE CRY OF JAZZ is a 52 year old film that foresaw the ongoing cultural revolution effected by soft power. The soft power that emerged from the musical, artistic and cultural artifacts of Black American life.”
Jonas Mekas “composer to score the title sequence, incidental music and a cantata for...'The Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Story'”

[Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: Chamber Music; The Coleridge Ensemble; AFKA SK-543 (1998)]

The Afro-British composer and conductor Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) is profiled at Next year will be the centennial of the composer's death. A notice posted on seeks a composer for a short film on his life:

Job Details: Composer
Starts: 07 Feb 2011
Contract Type: Temporary / freelance (Part time)
Duration: 2 Weeks
Payment: Collaboration-Expenses only (no pay)
Details: To commemorate the [centennial] of the death of the first Black English classical music composer, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, in 2012, I am looking for a composer to score the title sequence, incidental music and a cantata for a short animation film titled 'The Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Story'.

England, March 1900
At the opening of the 20th century, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor is the most popular classical composer in England. Our drama consists in his premature death that completely robs him of a lifelong career into, and beyond the First World War. Our story begins with him conducting a concert at the Royal Albert Hall. The world of children born to African and Caribbean parents now intrudes upon mainstream British society, as they begin to redefine themselves as first generation English people through music.

Eric Myers Music: 'Chopin Mazurkas and Scott Joplin'

[Joplin Piano Rags; Roy Eaton, piano; Sony SBK 833 (1995)]

Eric Myers Music
January 30, 2011
“Chopin Mazurkas and Scott Joplin (part 2)
I was checking out some of Chopin's Mazurkas (his short piano pieces inspired by Polish dance) and found they reminded me of Joplin's rags. I started thinking about how I might go about comparing them.

“Take Chopin's Mazurka in F-sharp minor: 3/4 time as in a waltz with left-hand accompaniment pattern in quarter notes, beat 1 of the measure is the root of the chord in the lower register, beats 2 and 3 are the chord in the middle register-a typical Chopin left-hand, found in many of his waltzes and nocturnes. The harmony starts out with the typical V7 - i (minor) cadence, and then does an interesting descending chromatic pattern buts ends back in key (looking at the first strain only). The melody is charming and lively (with the right tempo) made up of an eighth-note triplet paired with dotted eighth-sixteeth figures which rhythm repeats itself in various sequences. The beat is strongly pronounced throughout and almost makes you want to dance (if you knew how to dance a mazurka). You can check out a free score of this Mazurka here: Chopin Mazurkas

In my next post we'll look at Joplin's "Weeping Willow" rag... Eric Myers - Pianist, Composer, Music Teacher and Nonprofit Arts Administrator Eric Myers Music, [Scott Joplin (1868-1917) is profiled at]

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Letter to Omaha World Herald: 'Conductor Thomas Wilkins interacted brilliantly with the audience' of Youths at 'Wild about Nature'

[Conductor Thomas Wilkins and Nature Photographer Thomas D. Mangelsen, Jan. 16, 2011]

Mangelsen Images of Nature Gallery
Letter to the Editor of The Omaha World Herald
Published Jan. 19, 2011
Written by Lisa Van Stratten
Fort Calhoun, Nebraska
“Symphony has impact on youth
I attended the 'Wild About Nature' performance by the Omaha Symphony at the Holland Performing Arts Center on Jan. 16 with my 12-year-old son and 12- and 9-year-old nieces. Thomas D. Mangelsen's photography was featured on a giant screen over the musicians for everyone to enjoy during the performance. Conductor Thomas Wilkins interacted brilliantly with the audience, which was filled with enthusiastic youth. He described how the music was composed to help us imagine what the composer was thinking. The event changed the imagination of the three children I brought with me that day.”

Cumberland County College 'to host Feb. 9 Black History Month piano recital and lecture' by Everett N. Jones

[Dr. Everett N. Jones III]
“Cumberland County College hosts Dr. Everett Jones III, Assistant Professor of Piano at Wilberforce University, who will give a piano recital/lecture marking Black History Month. The free concert takes place in the Guaracini Performing Arts Center, 2-3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 9 and will feature his original works, as well as piano works by African-American composers such as Margaret Bonds, Shawn Okpebholo, William Grant Still and George Walker.

“Dr. Jones, a gifted pianist, composer and lecturer, uses composition to translate classical music to traditional and non-traditional audiences, and teaches the next generation of classical musicians the importance of appreciating and preserving history. He has pioneered performances of William Grant Still and George Walker at many colleges and universities.

“As the Artistic Director of the 2008 William Grant Still Festival, Dr. Jones wrote and secured a grant by the National Endowment for the Arts to produced and direct concerts at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the University of Dayton and the Schuster Center.” [Margaret A. Bonds (1913-1972), William Grant Still (1895-1978) and George Walker (b. 1922) are profiled at] Music of H. Leslie Adams, 'The Wider View': 'Love Rejoices' on Feb. 13, 10 PM

[TOP: Love Rejoices: Songs of H. Leslie Adams; Darryl Taylor, tenor; Albany Records Troy 428 BOTTOM: H. Leslie Adams]
On February 13th, from 10 to 11 pm, listen online at or on WRTI HD-2 to Kile Smith's Contemporary American Music show, Now is the Time. Works by David Snow, Wendy Mae Chambers, and H. Leslie Adams will warm you up for Valentine's Day! The show begins in winter and ends with intimations of spring. The appropriately named composer David Snow shares with us the haunting Winter for trumpet and piano. The second movement from the Symphony of the Universe by the always-engaging Wendy Mae Chambers is called 'Organism.' She wrote for a big-band jazz ensemble to be recorded in the cavernous Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, and the results are stunning.

"The song cycle The Wider View comes from the romantic and lyrical pen of H. Leslie Adams. Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar, Langston Hughes, and others lead to the final 'Love Rejoices' by James Dillet Freeman. '...O love, come close and circumscribe me round / With love's dear otherness, encompass me / In bonds so fair for when I am bound by love / on ev'ry side, / Then I am free. / O love, you are the only narrow door through which myself can reach to the yet more. / And Love Rejoices, Love Rejoice!'

Love Rejoices
(James Dillet Freeman)
I walk alone upon a lonely beach
And none but I walk here.
On ev'ry side the world is mine as far as I can reach
Oh, the sea and sky and earth stretch wide.
Why am I then as if confined
When I have all this endless ev'rywhere?
Who locks me in this cage of mind?
And why is this bare world so hard to bear?
O love, come close and circumscribe me round
With love's dear otherness, encompass me
In bonds so fair for when I am bound by love
on ev'ry side,
Then I am free.
O love, you are the only narrow door through which myself can reach to the yet more.
And Love Rejoices, Love Rejoice!"
[H. Leslie Adams (b. 1932) is profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works List by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma of Lawrence University Conservatory]

Donald Sauter Identifies Works of Justin Holland on Jan. 17, 2011 Video of Music School of Delaware

[Justin Holland] profiles classical guitarist and composer Justin Holland (1819-1887). On Jan. 19 AfriClassical posted: “Works of Justin Holland Performed at Music School of Delaware Jan. 17 on” The post said, in part: ““These selection from Holland’s 'Scraps From the Operas' are performed here by Christopher Braddock and Matthew Lavanish at The Music School of Delaware on 1.17.11. Special Thanks to Donald Sauter.”

AfriClassical has since received a message from Donald Sauter:
“Hello Mr. Zick,
There was a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., & Black History Tribute concert given at the Music School of Delaware on Jan 14 2011. One of the sets on the program consisted of three of the twenty 'Scraps From The Operas' arranged for two guitars by Justin Holland:

“Oberon (Carl Maria von Weber)
Les Vepres Sicilliennes (Giuseppi Verdi)
Norma (Vincenzo Bellini)

“The guitarists were Christopher Braddock and Matthew Lavanish, and the performance has been put up on youtube at:
Donald Sauter”
AfriClassical thanks Donald Sauter for identifying the works of Justin Holland which are performed on the video.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

'Notes from India' on Gregory Walker's journey to compose music for film, 'Song of the Untouchable'

[“Greg listens to his recordings from the academy and begins work on his new composition”]

On Dec. 30, 2010 AfriClassical posted: “Gregory Walker will compose 'Song of the Untouchable,' to debut in Denver in April 2011.” Gregory T. S. Walker has now sent us a blog post dated Jan. 27, 2011 on the film project in which he is involved. We present a brief excerpt from the blog about the film:

Thursday, January 27, 2011
Notes from India
(Chuck Fryberger, Producer of the film, writes this post)
“Once Greg and the crew got their travel nightmares out of the way and arrived in India, the production could begin in earnest. Our first stop on the musical journey was in Thrissur, to visit the Chetana Music Academy, home of Father Paul, aka The Singing Priest.

“Father Paul is a master of Carnatic music – the subject of Greg’s journey – and our interaction with him and the other musicians at the academy was a great way to start our journey through Indian music. Greg received some one-on-one instruction from a Carnatic violin master, and the crew was impressed with Greg’s ability to pick up some of the techniques of the style so quickly. The master delivered a memorable quote when he said that Greg – a violin master himself – could possibly be a decent Carnatic player in possibly as little as two years. We left Thrissur and arrived late in the evening to the back waters of Alleppey, and climbed aboard the eco-houseboat of Johnson Gilbert.

“Aboard the houseboat, Greg had some time to process his initial musical interactions and begin work on his composition, which will eventually serve as the climactic final scene of the film.

Following our stay on the houseboat, we met up with DJ Sekhar, who has a unique perspective on music. He plays dance music in a modern disco, but he also incorporates some of the elements of the Carnatic style into his original productions. After a few hot and muggy days on the houseboat it was nice to have a cold beer and listen to Greg jam out with some modern tunes. Greg walked into the club and after a few how-do-you-do’s he plugged in his electric violin and improvised some cool duets with the DJ.

“Our next stop was Pakshipthalam, in Wayanad.

“Greg explored the Cave of the Birds (should be called Cave of the Bats) and then we witnessed a performance by a tribal colony of some of their traditional dances, which incorporate singing, dancing, and music. After witnessing the raw power of the performance, we wondered what could possibly top it…”

Comment by email:
Bill, I have a feeling that I may have also partly explored the same path as Gregory Walker on my trip to Kerala and Munnar last October. I heard some pretty interesting violin playing at Fort Kochi (Cochin) and have some recordings. Regards Mike

Brent Bristow & Mary Jo Parker in 'Romance' & 'Quit Dat Fool'nish' of William Grant Still at U. of Nebraska Omaha Feb. 11

[Africa: Piano Music of William Grant Still; Denver Oldham, piano; Koch 3 7084 2H1 (1991)]

Dr. Brent Bristow, Director of Bands at Arkansas State University-Beebe, sends AfriClassical this news:
“I will be performing both William Grant Still’s Romance and the sax version of Quit Dat Fool’nish in a guest artist recital at the University of Nebraska at Omaha at 4:00 on Feb. 11, 2011.” “I will be accompanied by Mary Jo Parker, Instructor of piano at Arkansas State University-Beebe. The program will also include pieces by Claude Debussy, Warren Benson, Ryo Noda, Jacob Ter Veldhuis, and John Cheetham. I will also be doing a masterclass with the UNO sax students immediately following the recital.”

Guest Artist Sax Recital & Masterclass w/Brent Bristow
Friday, February 11 · 3:00pm – 6:00pm
UNO Strauss PAC
6001 Dodge St
Omaha, NE

UNO Music Dept.
Dr. Brent Bristow of Arkansas State University at Beebe will present a guest artist recital and masterclass.

Dr. Bristow is the director of bands and assistant professor of saxophone at ASU-Beebe, and is also a member of the Arkansas Saxophone Quartet. He is an active performer, with recent performances in Georgia, Washington, North Carolina, and Mississippi. [William Grant Still (1895-1978) is profiled at, where a complete Works List by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma is found.]

Friday, January 28, 2011

Philip Glass & Tania León Discuss Music; Pianist Adam Kent Plays It, Feb. 8, 7 PM, Brooklyn

[Philip Glass and Tania León]

“Great minds meet in this intimate conversation between two award-winning artists—the legendary composer Philip Glass and Cuban-American composer Tania León. León discusses her fascinating life, art and influences with Glass. Throughout the evening, selections of León’s critically-acclaimed music will be performed on piano by award-winning pianist Adam Kent.

“About the Artists: Tania León
Tania León, born in Cuba, is highly regarded as a composer and conductor who has directed orchestras across the globe. In March 2009, the ballet Inura, with music by León and choreography by Carlos dos Santos premiered at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. In 2008, León served as U.S. Artistic Ambassador of American Culture in Madrid, Spain and held a Composer/Conductor residency at the Beijing Central Conservatory, China. Her work, Horizons, was performed by The National Symphony of China, in the opening concert of China’s Beijing International Congress of Women in Music. Recent awards for her work include a Pulitzer Prize nomination (2008) for Ácana, La Distinción de Honor de la Rosa Blanca from the Patronato José Martí for her contribution to Cuban culture in the field of music, a Guggenheim Fellowship (2007), and a Fromm Music Foundation commission. In 2006, León was named Distinguished Professor of the City University of New York. In 2010, in addition to being elected to the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Letters, León was officially invited to Havana by Cuban master conductor Leo Brouwer, where, for the first time, her music was performed in her native country. Her work, To And Fro (4 Moods), was nominated for a 2010 Latin Grammy for Best Classical Contemporary Composition.

“Philip Glass
Philip Glass is one of the world’s best known composers. His landmark opera, Einstein on the Beach (1976), on which he collaborated with Robert Wilson, is one of the works that brought him worldwide recognition as a modern composer. Since Einstein, Glass has expanded his repertoire to include music for opera, dance, theater, chamber ensemble, orchestra, and film. His scores have received Academy Award nominations (Kundun, The Hours, Notes on a Scandal) and a Golden Globe (The Truman Show). Glass has received an Oscar nomination for his Notes score. Symphony No. 7 and Symphony No. 8—Glass’ latest symphonies—along with Waiting for the Barbarians, an opera based on the book by J. M. Coetzee, premiered in 2005. In April 2007, the English National Opera, in conjunction with the Metropolitan Opera, remounted Glass’ Satyagraha, which appeared in New York in April 2008. Glass’ recent opera, Kepler, based on the life and work of Johannes Kepler and commissioned by Linz 2009, Cultural Capital of Europe, and Landestheater Linz, premiered in September 2009 in Linz, Austria and in November 2009 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

“Adam Kent
Adam Kent has performed in recital, as soloist with orchestra, and in chamber music throughout the United States, Spain, Switzerland, and South America. A winner of the American Pianists Association Fellowship and Simone Belsky Music Awards, Mr. Kent also received top prizes in the Thomas Richner, the Juilliard Concerto, and the Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Competitions and is a recipient of the Arthur Rubinstein Prize and the Harold Bauer Award. Mr. Kent made his New York recital debut at Weill Recital Hall in 1989 and has been featured numerous times on radio stations WQXR, WNYC, and WFUV. Recent concerts have included solo and chamber music performances at the Burgos International Music and the León Spanish Music Festivals in Spain as well as Mr. Kent’s fifth annual appearance at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in a solo recital co-sponsored by the Spanish Consulate and the Foundation for Iberian Music. Mr. Kent’s solo recordings are available on Bridge and SMF Records.

'ASALH Has Moved'; '2011 Black History Month Kits Are Here'

[Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson (1875-1950)]

The Association for the Study of African-American Life and History (ASALH) recently moved from our longtime home at the CB Powell Building on Howard University's Campus to the Howard Center on Georgia Avenue. Our New Address is:

Howard Center
2225 Georgia Ave., NW
Suite 331
Washington, DC 20059

Telephone: 202.238.5910
Fax: 202.968.1506

Black History Month Kits are HERE!

The 2011 Black History Theme Products will include
3 posters created by noted artist Charles Bibbs.
You can submit payment for your theme products at
All inquiries should be directed to or call us at 202-238-5910.

Music of Tania León at 'A Festival of Latin Musics' Feb. 12, Williams College, Williamstown, MA

[Tania León]

The website of the Afro-Cuban composer and conductor Tania Justina León (b. 1943) is; she is also profiled at

Friday, January 28, 2011
“WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. - The Williams College Department of Music presents this festival dedicated to Latin Cultures and to the late Steven Dennis Bodner who was very actively making the festival possible as a way to support Latin Music. The festival starts on Friday, Feb. 11 at 8 p.m. with the Momenta Quartet at '62 Center and continues with a variety of music on Saturday, Feb. 12 at 6 p.m. in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall, concluding with a concert at 8 p.m. in Chapin Hall on the same day. These free events are open to the public. This is a celebration of Latin American music–its contemporary expressions, heritage, and legacy as bridges between peoples.”

“On Saturday evening Williams Chamber Players members Ronald Feldman, Doris Stevenson, and Joana Genova will present selected movements of the Piazzola trio, Four Seasons. Violist Noah Fields '11, and guests Martha Mooke and Duo Iberoamerica will also take the stage in the more intimate Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall to perform music by Modesta Bor, Alberto Ginastera, Aldemaro Romero, Tania León, Marcos Balter, Astor PIazzolla, and Williams faculty member Ileana Perez Velazquez.

“The Saturday evening portion of the festival then moves to the spacious and elegant Chapin Hall. The larger student ensembles present more works of great contemporary Latin American composers. This not only provides an opportunity to experience modern music inspired by Latin America: this is a chance to hear the popular ensembles Zambezi Marimba Band and Williams Jazz, Percussion, and Brass Ensembles all in one venue. These ensembles present music by Armando Bayolo, Alberto Ginastera, Alexandre Lunsqui, Allem Carvajal, guest composer Tania León, and faculty member Andy Jaffe.

J. H. Kwabena Nketia: 'Foreword' to '12 African Songs for Solo Voice and Piano' by Fred Onovwerosuoke

[Libera: Works by Bonds, Hayes, Mendelssohn, Onovwerosuoke and Puccini; Marlissa Hudson, soprano; Peter Henderson, pianist; AMP Records AGCD 2106 (47:45)]

Professor Dominique-René de Lerma of Lawrence University Conservatory, whose website is, has written a review of the new CD Libera, AMP Records AGCD 2106, in which he mentions “...the foreword to the song cycle, contributed by the patriarch of modern musicology, Dr. J. H. Kwabena Nketia.” Here is the Foreword for 12 African Songs for Solo Voice and Piano by Fred Onovwerosuoke:

by Professor J. H. Kwabena Nketia
It is with great pleasure that I welcome this delightful compilation of 12 African Songs for Solo Voice and Piano by Fred Onovwerosuoke, Director of the St Louis African Chorus and author of Songs of Africa and other works. I am particularly excited by the fact that he chose the bulk of the songs in this collection from the traditional repertoire performed in community contexts in Africa, for it is not generally realised that such African materials have much to offer to the outside world. What Stuart Wilson, then President of the International Music Council, UNESCO, said some years ago about folk music generally is true of similar songs performed in community contexts in Africa such as those represented in the present collection. In his view

"Folk music is not an embryonic art. It exemplifies the principles of great art and a basis of taste is, therefore, cultivated by its practice (The role of Folk Music in Education. Music in Education, Paris, UNESCO 1956: 49)"

Bela Bartok made a similar comment later in his work on Hungarian folksongs, which in my experience applies also to traditional African songs. He notes that

"In their small way, they are as perfect as the grandest masterpieces of musical art. They are indeed classical models of the way in which a musical idea can be expressed in all its freshness and shapeliness — in short, the very best possible way, in the briefest possible form with the simplest of means. (The Hungarian Folk Song. Albany, State University of New York Press 1981:3)"

Instead of presenting his songs in the usual manner one finds in songbooks and scholarly monographs, Fred Onovwerosuoke presents them as art songs, an approach favored by contemporary African composers. Preserving their original format, he explores the creative challenges the songs raise for the imaginative composer who wants to extend their duration and other features, bearing in mind that in their traditional contexts such songs are accompanied by movement, hand clapping, drums and other instruments that regulate, energize and sustain performances. In conformity with this practice, he chooses to accompany his songs with the piano, an instrument of adoption in contemporary Africa.

Accordingly, as I looked at the scores of the melodies and the style of the piano accompaniment of each song, I was struck by the effective manner in which the compiler of this volume uses recurring percussive and ostinato patterns or simulate the style of African mbira (hand piano) and other plucked instruments in the accompanying piano part in order to high-light the expressive African features of the music, while at the same time paying meticulous attention in the scores to changes in dynamics, mood and other nuances of performance practice in art music so that singers unfamiliar with African languages might find them exciting alternatives to art songs in French, Italian or German, and sing them “artfully!”

With this collection, once again Fred Onovwerosuoke is reaching out to the public desirous of sharing in the musical experience that Africa has to offer. I commend the publication not only to singers but also to music educators. I wish him all the best and look forward to other compilations from his St Louis African Music Archive.

J. H. Kwabena Nketia
Emeritus Professor
University of Ghana.
Legon, Accra, Ghana

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cleveland Public Library: H. Leslie Adams, 'A Program of New Instrumental Works' Feb. 19 2 PM

Cleveland Public Library
Fine Arts Department Presents

H. Leslie Adams,

“A Program of New Instrumental Works”

in collaboration with the H. Leslie Adams Fan Club

Saturday, February 19, 2011
2-3p.m. 3rd floor Main Library
FREE and open to all ages!

Call 216.623.2848
or visit
for more information.

325 Superior Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44114

HOMEPAGE: and [H. Leslie Adams (b. 1932) is profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works List by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma of Lawrence University Conservatory]

Texts of 'Duniya,' 'Esato,' 'Herero Folktales,' 'Luwah,' 'Ngulu,' & 'Ne Nkansu' on CD 'Libera'

[Libera: Works by Bonds, Hayes, Mendelssohn, Onovwerosuoke and Puccini; Marlissa Hudson, soprano; Peter Henderson, pianist; AMP Records AGCD 2106 (47:45)]

Dominique-René de Lerma, whose website is, wrote a review of the new CD Libera, AMP Records AGCD 2106, in which he said of the texts by composer Fred Onovwerosuoke: “Dr. Onovwerosuoke has kindly provided the following texts, which are not available with the recording.”

Duniya (Track 3 on Libera CD)

A-li-sa-lam a-le-ka
Ah-lee-sah-lahm ah-lay-kah
Peace be upon you

Fa, du-ni y’A-llah
Fah doo-nee-yah-lah
Behold, God’s universe

Al lah sum i’l-la-hi
Ah-lah soom ee-lah-hee
Of God, the Merciful

Fa, du-ni ya, lon man di
Fah doo-nee yah lohn mahn dee
God’s universe is beyond

Al lah sum i-la-hi’
Ah-lah soom ee-lah-hee
understanding, Merciful God

Al-lah, aku-bar!
Ah-lah ahk-bahr
Great God

E, ku-ba ja-ma le
Ay koo bah jah-mah lay
Grand designs, perpetual,

tam-bi-ta wa-la sum
Tahm-bee-tah wah-lah soom
and forever

Esato (Track 4 on Libera CD)

O-gi-ni tcha-to-ro ne lu?
Au-gee-nee chah-tau-rau neh-loo
Are these ripe fruits I see?

U-tu-i-sa to-ei!,
Oh-twee-sah-tau ay_ee
Eight peaches, juicy ripe

Ye ghe, ye ghe
Yay-ghay, yay-ghay
Ripe, juicy ripe

Eight peaches/fruits

U-tu cha-ra-cha!
Oh-too chah-rah chah
Peaches fair and ready/mature

O-gi-ni nu’o na kpo-tu no,
Oh-gee-nee now nah kpau-too noh
What stops us from plucking

O bi-a no cha-to ko,
Oh-bee-yah nau chah-tau koh
Then comes this one

Cha-to ko, bi-ko’e,
Chah-tau kau bee-Koh_ay
Please let my wish come true

U-tu cha-ra cha
Oh-too chah-rah chah
Fair/ripe peaches, mature

Herero Folktales (Track 6 on Libera CD)

I-tu-pu-ka kem-be-per
Ee-too-poo-kah khem-beh-peh
The gently galloping horse

Jo-mun-du O-mu-him-ba
Yau-moon-doo Oh-moo-heem-bah
Of the Himba farmer

Ma-ma u_a-ndje’
Mah-mah oo_ahn jeh
Oh, Mother is very ill

ve-re tji-ne-ne
veh-reh chee-neh-neh
What can we do?

e-ye u_a-ve-ra, ve-re tji
Eh-yeh oo_ah veh-rah, veh-reh chi
What to do?

O-ka-na-tje, o-ka-ti-ti,
Oh-kah-nah-chay, Oh-kah-tee-tee
A little child wanders

O-ke-tam-ba O-ka-ti-ti
Oh-kay-tahm-bah, Oh-kah-tee-tee
In the mountains

Ku-ke-tam-ba Mo-pa-na-je
Koo-keh-tahm-bah moh-pah-nah-yay
The hour is late

Luwah (Track 9 on Libera CD)

Lu wa-h’e- e-e-e,
Loo-way-hay, ay…
Hear my lament

Wu la-a-szre na zhi
Woo-lah zreh nah zee
I’ve never cried
whi-ye-lu we
Like this before

Lu wa-h’e- e-e-e,
Loo-way-hay, ay…
Hear my lament

E kwe-li yen-ga na,
Ay-kway-lee yehn-gah nah
This great loss

Na lu-te ya;
Nah loo-tay yah
Saddens me

Nan-ga na ka ma
Nahn-gah nah kah mah
And startles me

Ngulu (Track 11 on Libera CD)

Ngu-lu i ngulu
Ngoo-loh ehn-goo-loh
(Free translation)

mwe-le-la’n-gu lu

i ngu lu, mwa-i wa
ehn-goo-loh, mwah-ee-wah

E, Wan-ga o
Ay wahn-gah oh
With dilligence

Moving along

Ma-len-ge me-ne
Mah-layn-gay may-nay
Thus yielding

Mwa te man-gi e
Mwah tay mahn-gee-ay
To good harvest

O, Wan ga o
Oh wahn-gah oh
Wa-ka-sim bi li

Ne Nkansu (Track 12 on Libera CD)

Ne’N-kan-su di-ma,
(Free translation)

wei-yo, ma-meh, pa-eh
Way-ee-yoh, mah-may, pah-ay
Mother Earth owns the herbs

Ne’N-kan-su eh,
Nay-kahn-soo ay
That feed, heal

Ne ku-bu-ko di-ma
Nay koo-boo-koh dee-mah
And make whole

Ne ku-bu-ko eh
Nay koo-boo-koh ay
Di-ma, di-ma’n-so-bue-la
Dee-mah, dee-mahn-soh-bu_ay-lah

Dominique-René de Lerma Reviews 'Libera': 'A warm welcome for a debut recording'

[From TOP: Marlissa Hudson, Peter Henderson and Fred Onovwerosuoke followed by Libera: Works by Bonds, Hayes, Mendelssohn, Onovwerosuoke and Puccini; Marlissa Hudson, soprano; Peter Henderson, pianist; AMP Records AGCD 2106 (47:45)]

Dominique-René de Lerma, whose website is, writes this review of the new CD Libera, AMP Records AGCD 2106:

A warm welcome for a debut recording.

Bonds, Margaret. 3 Dream portraits. 1. Minstrel man. (2:04).
Bonds, Margaret. He's got the whole world in his hands (2:33).
Hayes, Mark. I feel the spirit moving (2:46).
Hayes, Mark. Joshua fit the battle of Jericho (2:43).
Hayes, Mark. Give me Jesus (4:08).
Hayes, Mark. There is a balm in Gilead (4:04).
Mendelssohn, Felix. Hear ye, Israel, from Elijah (5:35).
Onovwerosuoke, Fred. 12 African songs. Duniya [Mystic universe] (2:40);
Esato [Eight] (4:15); Herero folktales (5:24); Luwah [Bitter tears] (3:47);
Ne nkansu [Healing dance] (2:17); Ngulu kamba [Lullaby] (3:00).
Puccini, Giacomo. La canzona di Doretta, from La rondine (2:25).

AGCD 2106 (2010, Libera). African Music Publishers (order by phone: 314-652-6800; by email:; online:, Credit card via PayPal.
At first glance, it will be thought this is an odd mixture of works: one Italian opera aria, one from a Mendelssohn oratorio, a few African American spirituals, and a set of African works. And it is a strange accumulation, but it works. The soprano, from St. Louis, has been visible on the web since 2006, thanks to Randye Jones' “Future Afrocentric voices” ( At that time Ms Hudson had just begun working on her B.A. degree in music and sociology at Duke University. It would be six more years before she graduated from the Peabody Conservatory with her M.M. Degree. Within two years she had begun notable engagements principally back home in St. Louis, which has since only intensified. By 2010, for example, she had been heard as soloist on either coast, with a repertoire including Bach, Rachmaninoff, Verdi, Richard Strauss and, of course, Gershwin (it seems that Roland Hayes and Marian Anderson were the only Black singers without some P&B experience, maybe only because they were born in the 19th century). Ms Hudson was also selected to sing at the ceremonies to commemorate the establishment of the Ben Holt Memorial Chapter of the National Association of Negro Musicians, in Washington D.C.

As her repertoire will suggest, she is a lyric soprano and, as this CD debut will indicate, her performances bear evidence that, fully understanding the textual nuances, she readily communicates these even to a listener not familiar with the language. This elevates the marvelous songs of Dr. Onovwerosuoke past being just beautiful tunes. She is aided toward that goal by the simply splendid work of her pianist, Dr. Peter Henderson, keyboardist of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. His work is distinguished by crisp articulation, absolute accuracy, in perfect coordination and balance. He can take on very exciting rhythmic activity or superb tranquillity as the wide range of these works requires. In this regard, special mention should be made of Mark Hayes' I feel the spirit moving, which treats That old-time religion and Every time I feel the spirit.

Fred Onovwerosuoke has been revealing himself as a musical polymath for at least two decades: an administrator, conductor, philosopher, record producer, and music publisher -- all first-rate. He has taken these melodies from Gambia, Nigeria, Kenya, Cameroun, and Congo, where they originally served social functions, and set them as art songs, totally worthy of inclusion on programs of any singer wishing to enrich the repertoire. Acquiring the music is not a problem. The cycle of his twelve songs excerpted here is scheduled for publication this year by Oxford University Press. And those wishing to book the singer for engagements need only express their interest to

Dr. Onovwerosuoke has kindly provided the following texts, which are not available with the recording. Following these is the foreword to the song cycle, contributed by the patriarch of modern musicology, Dr. J. H. Kwabena Nketia. [AfriClassical will post the texts and the foreword separately.]

John McLaughlin Williams Conducts: 'Music of America' with Ludmil Angelov as Pianist in Sofia, Bulgaria Mar. 15

[John McLaughlin Williams]

John McLaughlin Williams sends us two announcements in Bulgarian, which are translated with the help of Google Translation:

"Cantus Firmus AD is a leading Bulgarian company which is engaged in organizing concerts and concert tours. It has existed since 1995, initially as part of 'Classic FM'. The company is the creator and organizer of many concerts and tours with Bulgarian and visiting artists and ensembles."

"Tuesday, March 15, 2011 - 19:30
Bulgaria Hall
Sofia, Aksakov № 1
Soloist: Ludmil Angelov, Piano
Classic FM M-Tel Orchestra

"Program: H. Hadley: Symphonic poem 'Othello', G. Gershwin: Concerto in F
George Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue, C. Giannini: Suite from the opera "The Taming of the Shrew"
Ludmil Angelov is one of the favorite pianists of the Bulgarian public. Ever since his first concerts he has displayed the qualities of a great artist – technical brilliance and artistic devotion. During the 1987-1988 season Ludmil Angelov presented piano works of Chopin in a series of 12 recitals. For this unique event he received the “Young Musician of the Year” Award in Bulgaria.

"In 2007 American conductor John McLaughlin Williams was awarded a Grammy for his outstanding performance and compelling stage presence. He was the first African-American conductor to win a Grammy Award. He interprets the standard repertoire of the Classical and Romantic eras as well as contemporary music by American composers. His conducting is known on both sides of the Atlantic, thanks to the critically praised recordings for the Naxos label. With the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, Maestro Williams conducted premiere recordings of works by American composers, some familiar and others completely neglected until now. The recordings were issued in the Naxos American Classics series with great success. The Maestro has also conducted for the labels TNC, Artek, Cambria and Afka.

"His recent recording of Quincy Porter's Complete Viola Works, recorded with violist Eliesha Nelson, is on the Dorian label. Williams received a nomination for a Grammy in 2009 for recording concertos of Ernest Bloch and Benjamin Lee with violinist Elmar Oliveira. In 1999 Williams received the prestigious Geraldine C. and Emory Ford Award for American Conductors.

"The conducting experience of John McLaughlin Williams includes working with the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, National Radio Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, Kiev Philharmonic Orchesta, Boston Lyric Opera, Boulder Philharmonic, Greenville Symphony and the Symphony Orchestra of East Texas.