Skins & Voices

Greetings, Fellow Travelers. I have another Philly post for you today. Last month (I can’t believe we’re already in June!), I saw a truly extraordinary performance at the Painted Bride Art Center in Old City. The Bride is known for nurturing and showcasing innovative, multi-culti artists, so it makes sense that they would bring together two such groups – Spoken Hand Percussion Orchestra and Philip Hamilton’s Voices in one fantastic show. Over a period of several months, Spoken Hand and Voices collaborated to bring forth Skins & Songs, a musical celebration of “the universal heart and soul that connects us all.”

The dynamic assemblage that is Spoken Hand includes four drum batteries playing traditional and contemporary North Indian, West African, Afro-Cuban and Brazilian rhythms in original compositions (take a moment to imagine what that might sound like). The group was founded in 1996 by tabla player Lenny Seidman, the Painted Bride’s music curator, and Daryl “Kwasi” Burgee, one of the City’s most well-regarded African drummers, and has gained a national audience with performances at major festivals and venues of note.

Philip Hamilton’s Voices is an exciting melding of international vocalists that usually performs a cappella. Hamilton, an accomplished composer and vocalist, conceived of Voices “to take audiences on a vocal journey merging cultures, time periods and vocal styles.” The first time I heard Voices (at the Bride, of course) was maybe two-three years ago; in Skins & Songs, the ensemble was as breathtaking as I remembered.

Performing in Skins & Songs were: VOICES CAST: Philip Hamilton, Harry Bayron, Patricia Antunes, Patricia Silveira, Giovanna Moretti, Giovana Robinson, and Ras Mikey C. SPOKEN HAND CAST: Daryl Burgee, Lenny Seidman, Alex Shaw, John Wilkie, Joe Bryant, Ken Fauntleroy, Omar Harrison, Ron Howerton, Ishmael Jackson, Steve Jackson, Chuckie Joseph, Tom Lowery, Mike Nevin, Josh Robinson and Dan Scholnick.

So, before I let you go, Fellow Travelers, I must give props to Shaneca Adams for her gorgeous production and lighting design and to sound engineer Gaetan Spurgin. Fabulous, fabulous job, folks!

Until next time, Fellow Travelers – go out and see some LiveJazz (and hit me back; I wanna know what you’ve seen)!

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