On May 4, Flushing Town Hall continues its popular Global Mashups series with Global Mashups #2: Egypt meets Haiti. Each season, musical artists from across the globe present – and then unite – their melodies in one-of-a-kind performances that are emblematic of Flushing Town Hall’s mission to provide global music to a global community.
Representing Egypt is Zikrayat, an Arab music and dance ensemble dedicated to presenting the classical music and dance traditions of Egypt, Lebanon and the greater Arab world. The Agoci Band combines hip-hop, roots, and calypso flavors with Haitian compas. Each band plays a set, then the two meet and jam.
Zikrayat’s music and dance come together in vibrant stage productions evoking the theatrical atmosphere and dramatic depth of classic Egyptian musical cinema. Alternating vocal and instrumental numbers with solo and group dance numbers, Zikrayat’s mission is to highlight the diversity of Arab culture for mainstream Western audiences in an authentic, yet entertaining contemporary representation.
Inspired by the “golden age” of Egyptian musical cinema (the 1940s to 60s), a period during which most of the major figures in music and dance in the Arab world worked in film, Zikrayat (meaning “memories” in Arabic) researches films from this period and features forgotten gems not performed since this era. Zikrayat’s repertory includes traditional numbers, original compositions in the style of this period, and folkloric music. Led by Arab violinist, vocalist, composer, and teacher Sami Abu Shumays and Egyptian-style dancer Robin “Dameshe” Shumays, Zikrayat also features a talented lineup of performers of diverse backgrounds brought together by their devotion to these rich art forms.
The Agoci Band is a group of Haitian musicians who combine fresh hip-hop, roots, and calypso flavors with Haitian compas, a style of dance music and modern méringue with African roots. The band sings in English, French, and Haitian Creole to a background of African rhythms, bringing the undeniable and infectious energy of compas music to its audiences. The Agoci Band, led by Rol’hans Innocent, is based in New York City and is made up of a dedicated group of musicians eager to share the culture and heritage of Haiti with the world.
The Agoci Band has entertained large audiences in The Dominican Republic and the U.S. The group’s hit single “Rozo,” released in 2014, was well-received internationally. They released a new album in 2017, which includes tracks like “Land of the Drum,” “Banm Tanbou,” “Nèg Ginen,” and “Frè Ti-jean.”
At each of the five Global Mashup events, audiences of all ages experience musical performances from two different regions, and then watch and listen as the music artists come together on stage for a distinctive third set. Before each show, audience members participate in dance lessons and are encouraged to jump onto the dance floor again during the performances!
The season’s other upcoming mashups are: Mexico meets Guinea on May 18; Balkans meets El Barrio on June 1; and, Texas meets Peru on June 15. All dance lessons begin at 7:00 PM, followed by concerts at 8:00 PM.
“It’s amazing to behold how the traditional music of one region can blend seamlessly with the sounds of another region,” said Ellen Kodadek, Executive and Artistic Director of Flushing Town Hall. “Each year, we endeavor to make this a unique experience, one you won’t see anywhere else, as artists from across the globe meet for the first time, and then present together.”
Tickets to all shows are $16, and $10 for members and students. Discounts are available when purchasing tickets to multiple Global Mashup performances. You can access details by visiting http://www.flushingtownhall.org/globalmashup or by calling (718) 463-7700 x222.