As the weather cools and we enter fall, I am thankful for a joyful summer of travel, music making, and time with family. My trips to South Africa and Uganda were awesome. I had the honor of being an adjudicator and clinician at the International Marimba and Steel Pan Festival in Johannesburg. With more than 1,600 participants from all over Africa, the festival was an absolutely exhilarating experience! I then continued on to Uganda to work with Haruna Walusimbi and his group Nile Beat Artists. The highlight of my trip was visiting my friends and teachers in Nakibembe village, Uganda. Words cannot express the happiness I felt in being reunited with the Nakibembe Xylophone Group after 18 years and seeing them carrying on their beautiful embaire tradition. During my visit, Haruna took a photo of me with the group, which so clearly captured the moment that I decided to use it as the cover of my new album (a video I recorded of the Nakibembe group can be viewed here).
And that brings me to my major accomplishment of the summer: I finished my new CD! Please come and celebrate with me this weekend – Friday October 9th at Oakland University and Saturday October 10th at the Carr Center in Detroit. This Friday’s concert is at OU’s Varner Recital Hall. Tickets are $14 general and $8 students and can be purchased online or at the door. Saturday’s concert is at the Carr Center, 311 E. Grand River Ave. in Detroit. The Carr Center is located just behind Music Hall and a suggested donation of $10 can be made at the door. My new CD will be for sale at both events, so come by and pick up a copy. The album, entitledKakaire, includes 11 original compositions/arrangements for global percussion and strings. It features violinists Regina Carter, Raghanvendra Rao, and Alan Grubner, percussionists Tiruvarur Vaidyanathan and Dan Piccolo, bassist Miles Brown, and multi-instrumentalist Haruna Walusimbi. You can listen to a sneak preview of the CD here.