(NEW YORK, NY) -- 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 7:00pm 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 7:00pm 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.
Following in March will be a celebration of Women’s History Month. On March 4, SummerStage Anywhere presents The Rewind: a celebration of Women's History Month with an introduction by President and CEO of New Music USA, Vanessa Reed, who initiated the international Keychange campaign in response to the gender gap in music. This performance will feature diverse highlights from multiple genres of female performing artists during the 2020 season of SummerStage Anywhere. RISING TIDES, a celebration of International Women’s Day will premiere on March 8 in celebration of International Women’s Day in association with Consulate General of Canada in New York, New York Music Month Extended Play, an initiative of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Entertainment and four/four presents. This music and dance presentation features a new generation of women leaders with a rebroadcast of “Becoming Mother Duende: An Ode to New York” by social engagement performance artist Arielle Rosales and the world premiere of “four/four presents: All That I Am” featuring new music by La Force (AKA Ariel Engle, vocalist and newest member of critically-acclaimed indie collective Broken Social Scene) and dancers from Canada and the United States, celebrating the strength, beauty, and power of women working together to lead us in the present and into the future.
Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage is a proud member of the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA).