Tickets available beginning 10/4/21, 12pm
Tue, November 09, 2021
Free, limit 4 tickets per household
44 S Main St, Concord, NH 03301
This concert is presented to Concord-area residents free of charge through the generosity of the William H. Gile Trust
MWENSO & THE SHAKES TO EMBARK ON “HARLEM 100” TOUR THIS FALL
DEBUT ALBUM EMERGENCE OUT
NOW TO CRITICAL PRAISE
“Mr. Mwenso, a Sierra Leonean vocalist, comes from the jazz world, but his messages arrive in the form of a growl, not a croon, and his band, the Shakes, is a thrashing hybrid whose concerts often take the form of a prewar revue. If a tap dancer arrives to blow your mind midsong, don’t say you weren’t warned.”—The New York Times
Harlem-based band Mwenso & The Shakes will embark on their extensive “Harlem 100” North American tour this fall, which includes stops in Baton Rouge, Jacksonville, Greenville, Charlotte, Des Moines, Princeton, St. Louis, Flint, Stanford and many more.
Created in collaboration with IMG Artists, the National Jazz Museum in Harlem and JMG Live, this multimedia show celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance while capturing the sights and sounds of Harlem when legendary artists such as Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Langston Hughes and Billie Holiday made Harlem the cultural center of the country. Conducted by bandleader and lead vocalist Michael Mwenso, “Harlem 100” presents the most exciting Harlem musicians and dancers in a modern variety show. See below for the complete list of tour dates.
“The ‘Harlem 100’ will be a musical journey that celebrates one of the greatest movements in cultural history while connecting the past to the present,” says Mwenso.
Additionally, the band’s debut album Emergence, which is out now via Ropeadope Records, is receiving critical praise—PRI’s “The World” says, “To say the music of Mwenso and The Shakes is pretty wild is an understatement. It’s part jazz, part funk and part Broadway show tunes,” while JAZZIZ calls the group, “…a unique troupe of global artists presenting music that merges entertainment and artistry.” WBGO.org adds, “Not many bands in the orbit of jazz today can begin to approach the crowd-pleasing threshold of Mwenso & The Shakes.”
Driven by Mwenso’s deep ancestral understanding of the African-American music tradition, Emergence came together through many late nights in the band’s loft in Harlem exploring music outside of the traditional classroom using free-form musical expression. Hailing from many corners of the world including Sierra Leone, London, South Africa, Greenwich Village, Madagascar, France, Jamaica and Hawaii the band gains inspiration from each of their unique backgrounds while cohesively collaborating in a spontaneously communal and improvisational environment.
Mwenso was born in Freetown, Sierra Leone but spent his teenage years hanging out at the legendary jazz club Ronnie Scott’s in London where he was exposed to musicians such as Benny Carter, Elvin Jones, Ray Brown and Billy Higgins. In his youth, Mwenso started honing his talents as a trombonist, singer and performer playing in jump bands, reggae and Afrobeat horn sections and at hard-bop sessions. Mwenso’s talent as a performer caught the attention of many, which subsequently led him to meet James Brown who allotted space for him to sing and dance at his London shows.
In 2012, friend and jazz musician Wynton Marsalis brought Mwenso to New York City to serve as curator and programming associate at Jazz at Lincoln Center where he also booked nightly sets at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola. Over the next few years, Mwenso booked and performed with the likes of Cécile McLorin Salvant, Jon Batiste, Aaron Diehl, Sullivan Fortner and Jamison Ross.
Through these performances at Dizzy’s, Mwenso began to collaborate with a wide variety of Juilliard trained musicians that soon became known as The Shakes. This unique group of global artists presents music that merges entertainment and artistry with a formidable timeline of jazz and blues through African and Afro-American music.
Mwenso & The Shakes are Mwenso (bandleader, vocals), Vuyo Sotashe (vocals), Kyle Poole (drums), Gabe Schnider (guitar), Mathis Picard (piano and keys), Ruben Fox (tenor sax), Julian Lee (tenor sax), Russell Hall (bass) and Michela Marino Lerman (tap dance).