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NEW YORK CITY 2020–2021

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.

Ilusha, Georgian Folk

Ilusha Tsinadze is a singer, guitarist, composer, and arranger born in Tbilisi, Georgia. After studying jazz in college, his passion shifted to the music of his homeland. In 2011, Ilusha ...

Ilusha Tsinadze is a singer, guitarist, composer, and arranger born in Tbilisi, Georgia. After studying jazz in college, his passion shifted to the music of his homeland. In 2011, Ilusha released his debut album, Deda Ena (Mother Tongue), which featured his own distinctly personal interpretations of Georgian folk songs along with compositions of his own. The music video for his song “Mokhevis Kalo Tinao” went viral in Georgia and has since won him wide acclaim and national fame in the country. He has performed with his Brooklyn-based band around the world, allowing audiences to experience his emotional renditions of Georgia’s beautiful and little-known musical traditions.

Ilusha Tsinadze
Browse Unit: Georgian Folk with Ilusha

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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 ...

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 is currently developing a musical theater piece commissioned by Joe’s Pub and The Public Theater based on her ancestry and her childhood in the Appalachian hills of Black Mountain, Kentucky.

Martha Redbone
Browse Unit: Native American with Martha

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Bongi, 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 ...

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.

Bongi Duma
Browse Unit: South African Zulu with Bongi and Tshidi

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Tshidi, South African Zulu

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 ...

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.

Tshidi Manye
Browse Unit: South African Zulu with Bongi and Tshidi

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