Two legendary performers of traditional Shona music of Zimbabwe launch this season’s World Music Series at the Eastman School of Music. Cosmas Magaya and Beauler Dyoko, who perform together as the “Mbira Masters of Zimbabwe,” will be joined by African Alchemies, an ensemble that presents traditional and new African music, in concert at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 19, in Kilbourn Hall.
The mbira is an instrument made of ringing metal tabs that are plucked by the thumbs. Popular among the Shona people for at least 1,000 years, the mbira is played during religious rituals, social gatherings, and in the royal courts.
Cosmas and Beauler, who was the first professional woman mbira player in Zimbabwe, represent the elder generation of mbira players today. In addition to performing, Cosmas has taught master classes at Stanford, Northwestern, Duke, and other universities throughout the United States and Canada, and has done field research on Shona music with ethnomusicologist Paul Berliner, which resulted in the book The Soul of Mbira. Beauler, known as the “Queen of Mbira Music,” is the leader and featured singer with the contemporary mbira ensemble The Black Souls and has toured with the Zimbabwe Group Leaders Mbira Ensemble in Europe and the United States.
African Alchemies is an Eastman-based ensemble that performs on Western instruments using traditional African techniques. Members are violinist Jennifer Choi, cellist Wendy Law, pianist Thomas Rosenkranz, and Martin Scherzinger, who plays mbira and piano.
Tickets are $8 to $18 and can be purchased at the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra box office, 108 East Ave., by phone at 585-454-2100, or online at https://www.esm.rochester.edu/concerts/tickets.php.
The World Music Series concert with Cosmas, Beauler, and African Alchemies is presented in association with the Music and Globalization Symposium at the Eastman School, which includes presentations on issues of cultural representation as artists adapt music from diverse cultures to their own sensibilities.
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World Music Series: Cosmas Magaya and Beauler Dyoko, Mbira Masters of Zimbabwe, and African Alchemies
Kilbourn Hall, 26 Gibbs St.
Tickets are $8 to $18 (discount with UR ID); available at the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra box office, 108 East Ave., by phone at 585-454-2100, or online at https://www.esm.rochester.edu/concerts/tickets.php