The Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum continues its 35th season of Wednesday Folk Traditions concert series with a performance from Youssoupha Sidibe and Charles Neville on June 15, 2016. Neville, the legendary Grammy-winning saxophone virtuoso known as “The Horn Man,” joins Sidibe, the Grammy-nominated Senegalese Master Kora player, weaving jazz, reggae, and blues together with musical styles from New Orleans and West Africa. This and all other performances are held Wednesday evenings at 6:30 pm in the Sunken Garden at the Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum, 130 River Drive, Route 47, Hadley, MA 01035. General admission is $12, or $2 for children 16 and under. Picnickers are welcome on the museum grounds beginning at 5:00 pm. The Museum and its grounds are a smoke free site.
Youssoupha Sidibe, an accomplished Kora player who blends aspects of western music with reggae and West African harp styles, will perform together with Neville at Wednesday Folk Traditions on June 15. Sidibe’s musical career began 25 years ago in Senegal, where he trained as a Kora player at the National Music Conservatory of Senegal. The Kora is a traditional African instrument fashioned from a large gourd cut in half and covered with cow skin for resonance; it resembles a guitar in appearance, but sounds similar to a harp. Since his initial training as a Kora player, Sidibe’s music has developed into a fusion of traditional West African sounds and the Sufi devotional chanting of the Senegalese Bay Faal community. His musical expression springs from his desire for the full realization of divine love in this world. His sacred and celebratory sound incorporates devotional lyrics sung in Wolof (the most widely-spoken language in Senegal), Arabic, French, and English. An inspirational and prolific presence with thousands of fans across the globe, Sidibe has collaborated, performed and recorded with a plethora of extraordinary artists, including not only Charles Neville, but also India Arie, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, the Chris Berry Trio, Shimshai, and others.
Influenced by his time living in New Orleans, New York, Memphis and Oregon, Charles Neville’s expert saxophone repertoire includes rhythm and blues, funk, jazz, be-bop, and popular music. Since the age of 15, Charles has showcased his musical skills in a diverse range of professional venues—from a traveling variety show to the house band of the renowned Dew Drop Inn. He has collaborated with his brothers Aaron, Art, and Cyril in many different iterations: performing in New York as the Soul Machine, playing Mardi Gras American Indian songs as the Wild Tchoupitoulas, and finally becoming “New Orleans’ First Family of Funk” as the Neville Brothers. Neville has played with some of the biggest musical names from New Orleans and beyond, including Allen Toussaint, James Booker, Huey “Piano” Smith, Ernie K. Doe, and B.B. King. His saxophone won him a Grammy in 1989 for his haunting rendition of “Healing Chant” on the Neville Brothers’ album Yellow Moon. Neville’s more recent albums include Safe in Buddha’s Palm (2001), a reflective, spiritual collection that pays homage to eastern philosophy; and Tree of Life (2010), Neville’s collaboration with Youssoupha Sidibe that echoes Black culture from ancient times through the present.