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Contributed by Barbara Johnson on 09/09/2005
David Chevan and his group “The Afro-Semitic Experience” will bring their dynamic musical dialogue to Ithaca for a three-day residency from September 15 to 17, 2005, culminating in a free public concert on Saturday, September 17 at 8:00 p.m. in the Emerson Suites at Ithaca College. This performance by the renowned sextet will include a collaborative number with two Ithaca College student musical groups, the IC Klezmorim, and the Amani Gospel Choir.
On Friday, September 16, Chevan, Zarif, and Carter will meet with a world music class in the morning, discuss intercultural communication at a faculty and staff luncheon at noon, and work with community children at the GIAC after-school program. On Friday evening they will participate in a Jewish worship service on campus, creating a “Jazz Shabbat” at 6:00 p.m. in Muller Chapel, followed by dinner in the Terrace dining hall.
The residency and public events are sponsored by the Jewish studies program at Ithaca College, in collaboration with IC Hillel, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Office of the Provost, and the deans of the Schools of Humanities and Sciences and Music and the Division of Interdisciplinary and International Studies.
Co-led by Jewish-American jazz bassist and music professor David Chevan and African-American jazz pianist Warren Byrd, the Afro-Semitic Experience is a group of diverse musicians whose styles and personalities are so varied that you can always expect the unexpected from them. The group includes Baba David Coleman, an African drum master and Yoruban priest on hand drums and percussion; Will Bartlett on clarinet and sax; Babafemi Alvin Carter on drum set and hand drums, and Stacy Phillips, a Grammy award-winning dobro player and violinist. Pianist Kalim Zarif will replace Warren Byrd for the Ithaca appearances. Chevan holds a Ph.D. in music history from the City University of New York and is an associate professor of music at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven.
Founded in 1997, The Afro-Semitic Experience has given concerts across the United States in concert halls, churches, synagogues, schools, and colleges. They have been featured in stories on NPR and PBS. The group has released four critically acclaimed CDs. Of their most recent release, “The Days of Awe," Robert Iannapollo wrote in Cadence magazine that "what impresses most about this music is that it's not a mere exercise in world music mix and match. This is music of fire and passion."