Portland Ovations presents one of the most thrilling percussion ensembles in the world, The Royal Drummers and Dancers of Burundi at Merrill Auditorium tonight, October 18, 7:30 pm.
Burundi is one of the smallest countries in Central Africa where the ritual of drumming comes from an ancient royal heritage, with techniques passed down from father to son. Their performances were traditionally part of ceremonies that announced the change of seasons and the births of Kings. Bringing their timeless, ancient and compelling beats to Western audiences, The Royal Drummers and Dancers of Burundi have gained legendary status, appearing on Joni Mitchell's The Hissing of Summer Lawns album in 1975 and inspiring the first WOMAD Festival in 1982 that sparked the World Music boom. Using sacred home-made drums that include the central "inkiranya" drum, the "amashako" and "isbishikiso" drums, as well as the popular "ingoma" drum that is made by hollowing out tree trunks that only grow in central Burundi, The Royal Drummers and Dancers of Burundi combine thunderous drumbeats and graceful yet athletic dance in their live performances captivating audiences with sheer precision, power and vibrancy.
Portland Ovations is pleased to announce that with the help and support of the Portland Rotary and WIN (Welcoming Immigrants Network) of Greater Portland they will be hosting over 200 new Mainers of African descent at tonight's October 18 performance.
Ovations Offstage offers a Pre-Performance Lecture: "Cultural Connections: Burundi & Maine" in the Green Room at Merrill Auditorium at 6:30 pm with Dr. Nyama McCarthy-Brown, Postdoctoral Fellow at Bowdoin College. Dr. McCarthy-Brown will explore the cultural context of music and dance in Burundi with a presentation that provides points of entry into the African aesthetic, giving audience members insights that will enrich the performance viewing experience.
Portland Ovations' presentation of The Royal Drummers and Dancers of Burundi is supported by the Center for Cultural Exchange Foundation.
Tickets for The Royal Drummers and Dancers of Burundi range from $25 to $36 for Ovations' Members, $28 to $40 for the general public and a limited amount of student tickets are also available at $10. To purchase tickets, visit www.portlandovations.org, contact PortTIX at 207-842-0800 or visit the box office window at Merrill Auditorium.
Each year since 1931, Portland Ovations brings a dynamic season of exceptional performing artists from around the world to Maine including classical music, jazz, opera, dance, theater, and Broadway national tours. In addition to live performances, Ovations brings the exhilaration of the performing arts out into our community with season-long educational and outreach activities known as Ovations Offstage. A Maine-based non-profit, Portland Ovations contributes to the cultural, social and economic well-being of our community by presenting an array of high quality performing artists from around the world and creating diverse educational experiences that bring the enjoyment, energy and enrichment of the arts to all.