Next Stage Arts Project presents The Akwaaba Ensemble, traditional African drumming and dance, at Next Stage on Friday, October 4 at 7:30 pm. Opening for Akwaaba Ensemble will be award-winning performance artist, singer, musician and author U-Meleni Mhlaba-Adebo. Tickets are $20 advance available online, at the Putney General Store and at Turn It Up! in Brattleboro, and $24 at the door. Next Stage is located at 15 Kimball Hill, Putney, VT, and features a recently-renovated state of the art performance space with a great dance floor, sound system, and beer and wine cash bar.
The Akwaaba Ensemble’s energetic and engaging performances are a reflection of their name, which means ‘welcome’ in the Twi language of the Ashanti tribe of Ghana. At each performance the Ensemble brings Highlife music, West African drumming and dance to vivid life.
Audiences agree that their performances are “overwhelmingly positive. Once you hear their music, you can’t resist moving”.
Each Ensemble member teaches and leads workshops. Together they have connected with students at dozens of schools around the globe. Parents and teachers praise their work: “These guys are energetic, enthusiastic. They’re really knowledgeable about what they are doing, and they seem to really enjoy working with kids.”
For the past 17 years, the Ensemble has toured internationally and performed on many stages in the United States, Mexico, Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom. They perform at theaters, fairs, festivals, weddings, school settings, Drumming and Dancing workshops in the community, and often collaborate with other musicians. The goal of the group is to produce extraordinary music and great performances that enlighten the audience about African Culture and Music.
U-Meleni Mhlaba-Adebo, whose Ndebele/Zulu name means “What are we waiting for?” is a Boston-based Zimbabwean American Performance Artist and Poet. She has a Master’s in education from Lesley University and more than fifteen years of experience teaching health and wellness in schools and communities, and is presently an Adjunct Professor in English at Endicott College. Her poems have been used in film, TV, theater, and documentaries, and published in Write On The Dot.
This performance is supported in part with a grant from the New England Foundation for the Arts.