I want to share with you some of the wonderful music events that I will be part of in the next couple of months. In March, I will be in residency at both the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh and the University of Michigan – AnnArbor. At the University of Wisconsin, I will be hosted by Alison Shaw and the UW Oshkosh Percussion Program for workshops on the East African embaire xylophone and a concert on the West African gyil xylophone. At the University of Michigan, my new trio will be hosted by Kwasi Ampene and the Center for World Performance Studies, presenting both classes and concerts. In AnnArbor, the Mark Stone Trio will be performing at the University of Michigan Museum of Art on March 13th and the Canterbury House on March 14th.
In April I will be hosting several incredible performances at Oakland University. During the first week of April, we will have the great Trinidadian jazz trumpeter and composer Etienne Charles in residence at OU. Etienne will perform on the annual world music concert on April 4thand with the OU big band and pan-jazz ensemble on April 5th. Later in April the virtuoso Indian musicians P. Ganesh and K.N. Shashikiran, known as the Carnatica Brothers, will be visiting our campus, culminating with a performance on April 19th.
Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season. I enjoyed the Christmas break at home, spending lots of quality time with my little girl Ellery.
The concerts at the end of last year with Bill Summers and our presentation at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention were fantastic. You can view the full PASIC presentation here or if you just want to watch part of it, here is our performance of Twalibamukwano. Also, the prezi I presented at PASIC is here and excerpts of our concert with Bill can be found on my youtube page.
2014 is off to great start with Percussion Day at Oakland University this coming weekend and performances with Regina Carter and Biakuye the following weekend. Percussion Day is a free event hosted by Oakland University on Saturday, January 11 from 9am to 6pm. Register here and read all the details below. On Saturday, January 18th I will be performing with the Oakland Jazz Quartet, the Oakland Chamber Orchestra, and Regina Carter at 8pm in Varner Recital Hall. The concert will feature a new composition I just completed for gyil xylophone, jazz quartet, and chamber orchestra. The following Monday, January 20th, I’ll be celebrating Martin Luther King Day with my African percussion group, Biakuye, at the Ann Arbor Library. This all ages show is free and features my good friend Sulley Imoro, an incredible dancer from Ghana.
I have two shows this week at Oakland University with the amazing Bill Summers! Tuesday's faculty concert features Bill with the Oakland Jazz Quartet playing bata and Latin Jazz. Friday's concert features Bill with the Oakland University student groups Akwaaba (African Drum Ensemble), Ngoma (African Xylophone Ensemble), and Pan-Jumbies (Steel Band). Both concerts take place at Oakland University in Varner Recital Hall at 8pm. $14 - general admission. $8 - students.
Later this month I will be giving a research presentation at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention. I will be presenting the Embaire - Xylophone Music of Busoga, Uganda together with students from Oakland University. Our presentation takes place on November 14th at 2pm at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis. This will be the first embaire performance at a PASIC so if you are at the conference please come and check it out!
I’d like to give a big thank you to everyone who came out to support the debut performances of my new trio last month. For those who couldn’t make it out (or if you would like to hear it again) the entire concert at Oakland University was recorded and has been posted to Sound Cloud. Enjoy!
This month Jumbie Records will be releasing a new CD by the NYC-based world jazz group Imaginary Homeland, which I have played in for many years. We will be giving our CD release concert at Trumpets Jazz Club in Montclair, NJ on Sunday October 20th with sets at 7:30pm and 9:00pm. I’m really proud of this new CD. Friends in NY/NJ come check it out.
Finally, if you are interested in joining me for a trip to Ghana next summer, I have two informational meetings this week at Oakland University: Wednesday 10/9 at 8pm or Sunday 10/13 at 4pm. Both meetings take place in Varner Hall room 134. Earn 4 undergraduate credits in International Studies or 2 graduate Music credits. Check out this Prezi I made of the program with photos from our last trip!
It’s been a great summer with lots of fun steel drum gigs and time spent with my beautiful family. I also taught my international studies class at Oakland University (Intro. to Africa) and in August was officially promoted to the rank of Associate Professor with Tenure.
I am happy to kick off the new school year with three exciting shows. On September 14th and 15th I will be debuting my new group, the Mark Stone Trio. We play at the Michigan Festival of Gourds on the 14th at 1pm with a workshop at 3pm. This is a very cool festival, which I also participated in last year. There are many artists on hand who make all kinds of things from gourds and proceeds support the Children's Hospital of Michigan Foundation. Then on the 15th the trio performs at Oakland University’s Varner Recital Hall at 4pm.
Inspired by my trip to India last November, the Mark Stone Trio uses a traditional Carnatic setup of a soloist with percussion and violin accompaniment. However, the group’s original music draws on a wide-range of compositional influences, including American jazz and African mbira/marimba music. In the trio, I will be joined by violinist Alan Grubner and percussionist Dan Piccolo, whose dynamic playing runs freely across musical boundaries.
The following Sunday, September 22nd at 4pm, the Southpaw Isle Steelband will be giving a special performance at Detroit’s International Institute with drummer Leonard King. The show will also feature a guest appearance by bassist Miles Brown. Rounding out the lineup are regular members of Southpaw, Miguel Gutierrez on percussion with Lesley-Anne Stone and myself on steel pans.
We will be performing with steel drum virtuosos Andy Narell and Liam Teague on the same weekend, April 12th to 15th. This is going to be an unbelievable weekend of steel pan music and everyone is very psyched to work with these two panmasters. On Friday, April 12th Liam Teague will be performing with Oakland University's Pan-Jumbies on the campus of OU in Varner Recital Hall, with shows at 10am and 8pm. Then on Saturday, April 13th the Southpaw Isle Steelband will be performing a 7pm show in Waterford at Community Presbyterian Church. And for the grand finale on Monday, April 15th. Oakland University's Pan-Jazz will be performing with Andy Narell, calypsonian Lord Relator, the Steelheads Steel Orchestra, and the MSU Jazz Orchestra on the campus of Michigan State University, concert to take place at 7:30pm at the MSU Community Music School. I hope you can make it to one or more of these great shows.
Thanks for supporting steel pan music in Michigan!
Happy New Year!
Wishing everyone a wonderful 2013. I am starting out the year with a performance by Imaginary Homeland at Somethin' Jazz in New York City followed by our annual Percussion Day at Oakland University. This year's percussion day features our OU percussion faculty along with guest artist Miguel Gutierrez and an evening concert with Southpaw Isle.