Renowned international cast to perform in 'Songs of the Spirit'

OdettaSUNY Oswego’s Artswego series will sponsor a Port City appearance of “Songs of the Spirit,” featuring a global cast of renowned performers celebrating unity among faiths and cultures, at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov 13.

The show—featuring Odetta, the Shangilia Children’s Choir of Kenya, Hugh Masekela, Tracy Grammer, Frank London and Lorin Sklamberg of the Klezmatics, Craig Harris, Haale and the Tibetan monks of the Drepung Loseling Monastery—will take place in St. Mary’s Church, 103 W. Seventh St. in Oswego.

Many performers bring sounds from around the world to the production. The Tibetan monks of the Drepung Loseling Monestary are known worldwide for their sacred multiphonic chanting and have shared the stage with Paul Simon, Philip Glass, Natalie Merchant and others. Making its U.S. tour debut, the Shangilia Children’s Choir of Kenya fuses traditional African genres with American gospel music.

Hugh Masekela is a renowned South African composer, flugelhorn virtuoso and anti-Apartheid activist who appeared on Paul Simon’s “Graceland” and has his own multiplatinum albums to his credit. Singer-songwriter Haale, born in New York City of Iranian descent, weaves her two cultures together—using everything from ‘60s psychedelic rock to traditional, devotional Sufi music—to create a collaged sound.

Top performers in folk music also will contribute to the mix. Called the “Mother Goddess of Folk and Blues” by the New York Times, Odetta has been a musical and cultural force for decades, walking in civil rights marches as well as inspiring and influencing such musicians as Bob Dylan and Janis Joplin. Tracy Grammer, called “one of the finest pure musicians anywhere in folkdom” by Boston Globe, is known for work with late singer-songwriter Dave Carter plus a solo album, “Flower of Avalon,” that was the most-played album on folk radio in 2005.

Frank London, the co-founder, composer and trumpeter for the Klezmatics, and Klezmatics vocalist Lorin Sklamberg bring traditional Jewish and jazz influences to the concert. Acclaimed jazz trombonist, composer and conceptualist Craig Harris will collaborate with the Tibetan monks to underscore the project’s emphasis on bridging East and West.

Spoken-word parts of the program will be presented by representatives of InterFaith Works of Central New York.

New York City-based Parallel Voice Productions created “Songs of the Spirit,” with artistic direction by Brian Young and Jonathan Secor.

The Oswego appearance is supported by the New York State Music Fund, established by the New York State Attorney General at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. Concerts and events are funded in part through Meet the Composer’s MetLife Creative Connections program, and with additional support from the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation.

SUNY Oswego’s Office of International Education and Programs provides additional program support.

Tickets cost $20 ($15 for seniors and students, $7 for SUNY Oswego students). Due to demand, advance reservations are recommended.

For information or reservations, contact Tyler box office at 312-2141 or tickets@oswego.edu.

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PHOTO CAPTION: World music—Folk icon Odetta, described as the “Mother Goddess of Folk and Blues” by the New York Times, is part of an international all-star lineup presenting “Songs of the Spirit” at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov 13, in St. Mary’s Church, 103 W. Seventh St. in Oswego. Part of SUNY Oswego’s Artswego series, the concert will also feature the Shangilia Children’s Choir of Kenya, Hugh Masekela, Tracy Grammer, Frank London, Craig Harris, Haale and the Tibetan monks of the Drepung Loseling Monastery.

(Posted: Oct 24, 2007)

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