Mwenso and The Shakes

Mo' Beat Mondays Presents

Mwenso and The Shakes

StringsNskins, Mention "Bowling Special" to receive half off your lane from 6pm-close!

Monday, October 23rd, 2017

Doors: 6:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm


This event is 21 and over

Mwenso and The Shakes
Mwenso and The Shakes
Mwenso commands a formidable timeline of jazz and blues expression, accrued in a hands-on, autodidactic manner. Born in 1984, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, in West Africa, he began singing and playing piano at age 11, a year after moving with his mother to London, England. Soon thereafter, he started playing trombone in school, while beginning to immerse himself in American jazz and roots music. The process was facilitated by his mother’s decision not to leave him home alone at nights while she worked as a nightclub hostess, but instead to bring him to the world-renowned Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club to be looked after by the club’s floor manager, a family friend. Over the next several years, Mwenso had the unique opportunity to witness concerts by and pick the brains of jazz giants like Elvin Jones, Betty Carter, Benny Carter, Tommy Flanagan and Johnny Griffin. Between the ages of 14 and 16, he developed a relationship with James Brown, who gave Mwenso the signal honor of presenting him as a singer and dancer in his London shows during those years.

At 13, Mwenso played in a jump-oriented band called the Jive Aces, singing repertoire by Louis Prima and Louis Jordan. After leaving school at 16, Mwenso further honed his skills, playing trombone in reggae and Afrobeat horn sections (one employer was drum legend Tony Allen), and in jam sessions in a Hackney club with American expat drummer Clifford Jarvis and London’s strongest African- and Caribbean-descended hardcore jazz musicians. He led his own bands, too, performing locally and on the road. In 2006, Mwenso began to focus on singing, most consequentially in a four-voice group with Cleveland Watkiss, Jonathan Gee and Winston Clifford, all proficient musicians, doing repertoire that included high-velocity bebop vocalese and scat, the blues, and Black American folk music. They performed not infrequently at Ronnie Scott’s, where Mwenso established a late night jam session in 2007.

Mwenso first connected with Wynton Marsalis in 1997, after the trumpet master had performed a concert at London’s Barbican Theater. They remained in touch through 2009, when Marsalis played a week at Ronnie Scott’s, personally witnessed the fruits of Mwenso’s programming and organizational acumen, and invited him to assume the position he has held at Jazz at Lincoln Center since 2012. His mandate has been to book Dizzy’s in ways that might attract a younger audience, while retaining values consistent with Marsalis’ “all jazz is modern” mantra.

“You’re getting a generation of holistic musicians,” Mwenso says, including himself among them. “They love Louis Armstrong just as much as Woody Shaw, Sidney Bechet as much as Ornette Coleman. They want to be free in all styles of music—free in themselves. We’re figuring out ways to play this music as art, but as entertainment, too.”
The traditional sound of the djembe along the classical sound of the violin. The rhythms of Haiti combined with the exotic Afro sounds of Colombia with an urban twist from Brooklyn. All of these ingredients give you StringsNskins. The band started as a duo in late 2013 with the purpose of mixing the similarities between Colombian and Haitian culture. Eventually the band grew to a 5-piece ensemble.

StringNskins takes you on a journey through the African Diaspora in Latin America and the Caribbean, while also bringing together the different cultures by pointing out their similarities. The high energy sets include traditional dances, songs in English, Spanish and Haitian creole, and the message of unity.

The music of StringsNskins will elevate your soul.

Venue Information:
Brooklyn Bowl
61 Wythe Avenue
Brooklyn, NY, 11249

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