The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) is set to host the UAE premiere of Balimaya Project with UAE-based Indian vocalist, songwriter, and performing artist Shilpa Ananth delivering an opening set on March 3 at The Red Theater.
It will be followed by Balimaya Project who uses the repertoire and instrumentation of the Mandé peoples of Senegal and Mali as the bridge to bring the folkloric West African music together with jazz and the sounds of Black London.
Balimaya Project was formed in 2019 by percussionist Yahael Camara Onono, a second-generation Londoner whose rich West African musical heritage, coupled with his musical experiences in the UK, inspired him to bridge the gap between the diaspora and West Africa.
The group's debut album Wolo So released in July 2021 and is reported to have had a huge impact on the UK music scene and beyond.
NYUAD’s Director of the Office of Inclusion and Equity Fatiah Touray, will host a talk on March 1 with Camara Onono, composer, djembe player and bandleader, as well as griot and kora player Jali Bakary Konteh, both part of Balimaya Project, centered on the significance of music, the role of the storyteller (griot) and its social power, and how artists living in diaspora adapt traditional approaches to new contexts.
The following day, aspiring musicians can also participate in a workshop titled Making Music as an Ensemble. It will be led by composer Onono and will focus on listening, collective music making, rhythm, and arranging. Local musicians will receive insights on how different musical components work harmoniously within the context of West African jazz.
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