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EOU ensembles perform

Guest drummer and dancer joins EOU ensembles in concert, gives workshops

News contact: Laura Hancock | University Advancement
541-962-3585 | lhancock@eou.edu

November 13, 2015

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LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – The 45th Parallel Ensemble is headlining a concert with the African Drumming Ensemble, featuring guest artist Karim Koumbassa, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 20 in Groth Recital Hall in Loso Hall, Room 126 at Eastern Oregon University.

Koumbassa – a drummer, dancer, choreographer, director and instrument-maker from Guinea, West Africa – is also performing at Ten Depot Street Restaurant at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19 and presenting drumming and dancing workshops at EOU Saturday, Nov. 21.

The 45th Parallel is a multi-genre improvising group performing funk, jazz and other improvised music with a vocalist, horns and rhythm section. Matt Cooper and Luke McKern are the directors. The group will perform music written by or associated with the bands of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Amy Winehouse, Hilton Ruiz, The Zutons, Sam and Dave and the Meters. An original composition by the band’s guitarist Davon Dunajski is also on the program. 

The African Drumming Ensemble, directed by McKern, is comprised of students and community members dedicated to the traditional music of Western Africa.

Saturday’s drumming workshop starts at 11 a.m. in McKenzie Theatre in Loso Hall, and two dance workshops begin at 12:30 and 2 p.m. The university will provide necessary equipment, and participants should wear comfortable clothing and bring water. All skill levels are welcome.

Cost to participate is $15 for one session, $25 for two, or $35 for all three. Proceeds will benefit the Guinea Kids Education Fund, an organization Koumbassa helped found.

Koumbassa has worked extensively with some of the most renowned artists from his country such as Mamady Keita and Youssouf Koumbassa. His love and appreciation for African culture is what drives him, and he is known as an incredible musician, inspiring teacher and infectious performer.

Before coming to the United States in 2005, Koumbassa was the artistic director and choreographer of the performance company Oiseaux Blanc, which recently won third place in the National Dance and Percussion Festival in Conakry, a prestigious competition in Guinea.

Admission to Friday’s concert is free with donations accepted at the door to benefit music scholarships administered by the EOU Foundation.

For more information about the workshops call McKern at 541-806-1146.

> African Drum & Dance Workshop Poster