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MIT hosts world music

Lamine Tour̩, lecturer in music and theater arts, will perform with Rambax on Saturday, May 13 in Kresge Auditorium.
Lamine Tour̩, lecturer in music and theater arts, will perform with Rambax on Saturday, May 13 in Kresge Auditorium.
Photo / Colin Dillard

MIT will be a world music capital this week, with three concerts representing four non-Western cultures.

Drummers from Egypt and Japan

Master percussionists Karim Nagi on Egyptian tabla and Elaine Fong on Japanese taiko will demonstrate their respective instruments, then offer a joint performance on Thursday, May 11 at 7 p.m. in Room E25-111.

Fong is founder and artistic director of Odaiko New England and a member of Marco Lienhard's group, Taikoza.

Nagi, a native Egyptian who has lived in Boston for 20 years, performs Arabic, Turkish and Andalusian hand percussion. He is part of the SHARQ Arabic Music Ensemble.

"Tabla" and "taiko" are the Arabic and Japanese words, respectively, for drum.

MIT students organized the May 11 drumming event to complement a series of discussions on post 9-11 civil liberties issues during times of national security.

"The idea was to celebrate the cultures. Blending the art forms came about as we were examining the politics," says Ken Oye, associate professor of political science.

Senegalese Sabar drumming

MIT's Senegalese drumming ensemble, Rambax, will perform on Saturday, May 13, at 8 p.m. in Kresge Auditorium.

Led by Senegalese master drummer Lamine Tour̩, lecturer in music and theater arts, and Patricia Tang, associate professor of music and theater arts, Rambax explores the drumming and dance traditions of Senegal.

For this concert, Rambax will stage a folkloric presentation of the "ndeupp," a Senegalese healing ceremony. Ndeupp uses drumming and dance to "appease the spirits and bring balance back into the spiritual realm," says Tang.

The show will feature a number of guest artists, including Senegalese master dancers Pape Ndiaye, Mariama Basse and Demba Sene, and master drummer Thiokho Diagne.

South Indian classical vocalist

Carnatic music, also known as Karnataka Sangeetha, is an ancient string-instrument-based classical music from south India.

One of India's most celebrated Carnatic musicians, Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna, will perform in an MIT Heritage of the Arts of Southasia (MITHAS) Gala Concert, with B. Raghavendra Rao on violin and H. Ramakrishnan on mridangam, the classical drum of South India, on Sunday, May 14 at 4 p.m. in Kirsch Auditorium in the Stata Center.

Tickets range from $10 to $50 and are available at the door or at

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 10, 2006 (download PDF).

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