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Program Two

About the Artists

You and your students will meet New York City–based artists who represent three different musical genres and cultural traditions; many have reinvented these deeply rooted traditions to make them their own. Together, you will learn songs and dances that you will perform along with the artists during the digital concert experience at the end of your semester.

Sofía Rei and Sofia Tosello

Sofía R. and Sofia T., Argentine Folk

Sofía Rei is an Argentine vocalist, composer, producer, and educator who combines South American folkloric styles, jazz, pop, new classical, and electronic sounds to create her own distinctive sound. Since moving to New York in 2005, she has released four critically acclaimed albums as a bandleader, including two that earned Independent Music Awards for Best Album. Her music has taken her around the world with performances at such venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, and Wiener Konzerthaus, as well as at Montreal’s International Jazz Festival.

Originally from Córdoba, Argentina, Sofia Tosello is a vocalist, composer, and music educator. Sofia T. is regarded as a cherished voice in the vibrant scene of New York City artists who are redefining Latin American song.  Jazz Times notes, “The next wave in Latin-American jazz may well begin with Tosello.” Sofia T. has worked with such artists as Grammy Award–winners Thalía, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, and the Pedro Giraudo Jazz Orchestra, and has performed throughout the US, Asia, and Latin America.

Browse Unit: Argentine Folk with Sofía R. and Sofia T.

Martha Redbone

Martha, Native American

Martha Redbone is a leading singer-songwriter of American roots music, blending elements of funk and the blues with those from her Native American heritage. Her music is described as “a brilliant collision of cultures” by The New Yorker and “Earth, Wind, and Fire on the rez” by Native Peoples Magazine. Her album Skintalk is part of the permanent collection at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian as an example of contemporary Native American music. She has been commissioned by Joe’s Pub and The Public Theater to develop a musical theater piece based on her ancestry and her childhood in the Appalachian hills of Black Mountain, Kentucky.

Browse Unit: Native American with Martha

Bongi and Tshidi

Bongi and Tshidi, South African Zulu

Singer, songwriter, choreographer, and dancer, Sbongiseni “Bongi” Duma has been in the cast of The Lion King on Broadway for more than a dozen years. He was nominated for a 2014–2015 Drama Desk Award for best music in a play (Generations). He has also worked as a composer, musical director, and choreographer for The Mighty Zulu Nation and Africa Africa. He performs his own music regularly with his band and with Uzalo, a Brooklyn-based music collective.

Tshidi Manye, born in Johannesburg, South Africa, made her Broadway debut in The Lion King in 2004 and continues to perform regularly in the role of Rafiki. She has also starred in the European and Japanese tours of Sarafina! and has appeared onstage with Paul Simon, David Byrne, and Hugh Masekela.

Browse Unit: South African Zulu with Bongi and Tshidi

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