Wednesday Folk Traditions with Reggae, Rock, and African Drumming with SayReal

JUNE 27, 2018


 HADLEY—Wednesday Folk Traditions at the Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum continues on June 27th, 2018 with SayReal, a group of young musical revolutionaries who fuse reggae, rock, and traditional African drumming, featuring Northampton natives and siblings Naia Kete and Imani Elijah, and Lee John. This performance and all Wednesday Folk Traditions concerts 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.  Admission is $12, $2 for children 16 and under.  Picnickers are welcome on the museums grounds starting at 5:00 pm. The museum and its grounds are a smoke-free site. For further information please call (413) 584‑4699 or view .

SayReal embodies a strong musical lineage, formed by siblings and Northampton natives Naia Kete and Imani Elijah who are now joined by Lee John to help channel their raw energy and vision. All three cite music as a source of inspiration and healing throughout their entire lives. Imani and Naia began their musical career as children singing in “Children of the Most High” before moving on to master African drumming, guitars, keyboard, and vocals. Together, they weave together sounds that soothe, heal, and inspire love and unity. Most recently, they released the music video “Frederick’s Song (Freedom)” based on the life and teachings of abolitionist Frederick Douglass, inspired by their own experiences being biracial and the prejudices they have faced.

SayReal has established itself as a powerhouse group. Vocalist Naia Kete’s performance in the top ten of The Voice gathered acclaim and support from fans nationwide. Naia met musical partner Lee John when she was 17 while collaborating on the recording of her first EP. SayReal was born then, but didn’t become official until a few years ago when legendary producer Randy Jackson came to their show at a small venue in Los Angeles. He hailed them as a “super group” and from that point on they began performing under the name SayReal, releasing their first album.  While every member is a multi-instrumentalist, Imani and Lee focus on drums, Naia on bass, and all three provide vocals. Each member is also deeply guided by their musical families and upbringing. Naia and Imani grew up in the Valley’s reggae band Rebelle, while Lee John’s father, Earl Slick, is famous for playing lead guitar for legends such as David Bowie. The strong musical lineage in their families is the largest influence on their style and message. Overall, the group champions integrity and strives to be examples of sincerity and honor the truth within themselves.”

Wednesday Folk Traditions continues on July 11 with José Gonzalez and Criollo Clasico  performing contemporary rhythms of Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. Gonzalez, acclaimed for his original compositions featuring the cuatro, will be joined by sons Ahmed, a flute sensation, and multi-percussionist Rene—together,  this family forms one of the most prestigious music ensembles of Puerto Rico.


The Porter-Phelps Huntingon Museum’s Wednesday Folk Traditions is funded, in part, by grants from: the Marion I. And Otto C. Kohler Memorial Fund at the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts; the Amherst and Hadley Cultural Councils, local agencies, supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency; Eversource Energy, Easthampton Savings Bank, Peoples Bank, and with generous support from many local businesses. 

The Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum is located at 130 River Drive (Route 47) in Hadley, two miles north of the junction of Routes 9 and 47. The Museum is open for guided tours Saturday through Wednesday from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The house, which remains unchanged since the family’s occupancy, tells the story of six generations of prominent Hadley residents. The family, prosperous traders turned farmers, fought in both the French and Indian and Revolutionary Wars, rose to prominence in local government, and embodied a consistently progressive social consciousness. Tours highlight both local and regional narratives, from architecture, material culture, and labor, to early-American theology, economics, women’s history and social movements. For further information about tours or other programs, please call the Museum at (413) 584-4699 or visit our website at