Michael Mwenso: Hope, Resist & Heal, Performance and Conversation
Premiering Next Thursday, 2/25 at 7:00 PM ET
Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage Anywhere is continuing their Black History Month celebrations and commemorative performances throughout February, with an exclusive presentation of Michael Mwenso: Hope, Resist & Heal, Performance and Conversation with Shannon Effinger, in association with New York Music Month Extended Play, an initiative of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Entertainment on Thursday, February 25 at 7:00 PM ET. The event will stream on SummerStageAnywhere.org and across SummerStage socials: Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch.
Musician, artist and social commentator Michael Mwenso will offer his unique and ancestral perspective on Black music and its power to heal us. As an African-born queer man growing up in London and New York, Mwenso will dive into a wide range of his own discoveries while shedding light on the Black experience through interludes of his music. A live studio recording performance with his group, Mwenso and the Shakes, a multicultural New York jazz group will be paired with an intimate conversation with arts journalist Shannon Effinger (New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR Music, Pitchfork) focusing on the continuum and power of Black roots music.
Michael Mwenso was born in Freetown, Sierra Leone but spent his teenage years at the legendary jazz club Ronnie Scott’s in London where he was exposed to musicians like 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 young performer led him to meet James Brown, who featured Mwenso in his London shows. In 2012, friend and jazz musician Wynton Marsalis brought Mwenso to New York City to serve as a 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 worked with the likes of musicians Cécile McLorin Salvant, Jon Batiste, Aaron Diehl, Sullivan Fortner and Jamison Ross. Through these performances, Mwenso began his collaboration of Juilliard trained musicians known as The Shakes. This unique group of artists hailing from Sierra Leone, South Africa, Madagascar, London, France, Jamaica and Hawaii present music that merges entertainment and artistry with a formidable timeline of jazz and blues through African and Afro-American music.
Shannon Ali (Shannon J. Effinger) has been a freelance arts journalist for over a decade. Her writing on jazz and music regularly appears in Pitchfork, Bandcamp, Jazziz, and NPR Music. In Fall 2020, her arts coverage expanded to The New York Times and The Washington Post.Recently, she made her cinematic debut as a featured critic in the documentary “Universe”, the rediscovered orchestral suite by Wayne Shorter, written more than 50 years ago for Miles Davis, and left unrecorded and largely untouched until it was revisited by Davis’ protégé, the late trumpeter Wallace Roney.
SummerStage Anywhere will be also presenting an additional performance to celebrate Black History Month this week:
● February 18: The Rewind: A Celebration of Black Culture featuring highlights from the 2020 SummerStage Anywhere Season with an introduction by Greg Tate (encore on SummerStageAnywhere.org) at 7:00 PM ET. This roundup will feature a highlight reel of Black music and dance artists including Femi Kuti & The Positive Force, Shabaka Hutchings, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, and many more from our first-ever all-digital SummerStage season with a special introduction by Harlem-based journalist and Black Rock Coalition co-founder, Greg Tate.
All performances will be streamed on SummerStageAnywhere.org and all SummerStage social channels (Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch).