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November News:

November News:
I am so very happy to announce that I've received a Federal Assistance Grant from the US Embassy in Dakar Senegal. This grant is in support of the collaborations I've been doing over the past decade with Senegalese and American musicians and poets. It all takes place in Senegal as part of The Senegal-America Project.

The grant specifically supports our performance at Le Festival des Formes et des Rythmes du Monde. The festival will take place in Toubab Diallaw, Senegal, and runs from December 15th-31st. For more info go to:

Featured performers in our group at the festival include several long-time collaborators in The Senegal America Project. From America: Abiodun Oyewole (of The Last Poets), Brooklyn poet extraordinaire Tantra Zawadi, and violinist/composer Derrik Jordan. Our Senegalese crew will include Massamba Diop, Barou Sall and several others.

We'll also be doing performances in Dakar and on the Island of Goree with one of my favorite Senegalese groups called Bideew Bou Bess. Check out the video below and you'll see why I dig them.

Other activities on this trip will include collaborative recordings and videos with an amazing consortium of artists called AfriCultUrban (Urban African Cult), and then with groups like Gokh-bi System, Daara J, and Focoti Mic. We'll also be hosting open discussions on World Music, Fair Trade collaborations, poetry and Hip-Hop.

Finally, we'll be meeting and collaborating with The English Speakers groups in Senegal, under the direction of poet and social activist Daouda Fall, sharing our stories, our visions, and our creations.

What began as an impulse to address change in a changing world has become a project to create a collaborative recording by groups and individuals throughout the world community. The idea is that by using our music to share our deepest hopes and visions, we'll recognize something of ourselves in each other.

Over the past three years I've spent sixteen days at Soundesign Studio in Vermont, three days doing remote recordings in Senegal, five days at Jimi Mbaye's studio in Dakar, and a little over $12,000 in out-of-pocket expenses and $4,000 in work done as the instigator, producer, co-composer/arranger, and as one of the many performers.

I have totally loved every second.

Everyone who has touched this project has imbued it with their artistry and with their souls, and it feels like that every time I listen. And as if by some miracle, all of the participants in this project will be in Senegal this December during my stay. So on this upcoming trip I'm hoping to work on adding a few new elements, and then making a video with those who have made this project so very magical...and so very beyond what I imagined. I can't wait.

If this sounds like something you'd like to help with, from finances to in-kind donations, please let me know. (

It was 1996, and I was preparing to return to Senegal to study with Massamba Diop, (one of the true masters of the tama, or talking drum), and to do a few concerts with Baaba Maal, one of Africa's great singers and a truly deep spirit. After that remarkable trip, it occurred to me to invite some of my favorite friends and collaborators to join me and see what creative projects we could instigate with my ever-expanding circle in Senegal.

It was amazing.

Twelve years later "Projects and Visions" is still happening. It has evolved into an annual trip, open to all who dare. Past trips included musicians, poets, dancers, teachers, film makers, story-tellers, nurses, geologists, community activists... you get the idea. The common focus was and continues to be to create meaningful collaborations and transformational responses to what we share of common issues and common ground.

On December 22nd we'll head out on this year's journey, which coincides with performances and related activities supported by the Embassy's grant and the story above. If you're interested in being part of next year's trip just click on this link:

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