“From Africa to Appalachia: An Evening with Cheick Hamala Diabate, Sammy Shelor, Danny Knicely and Friends” will show listeners how African traditions and influences helped shape American music.
The Virginia Folklife Program at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities is presenting the concert at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Jefferson School African-American Heritage Center, in partnership with the Jefferson School African-American Heritage Center and radio station WTJU-FM.
Diabate, a Grammy Award-nominated master Malian griot, will team up with bluegrass banjoist Sammy Shelor and multi-instrumentalist Danny Knicely. Special guests also will appear.
Together, they’ll explore the development of the five-string banjo, one of the first truly American instruments, and show how African musical traditions influenced American popular music. The banjo descended from lutes, particularly the West African n’goni and kora, that enslaved Africans brought to America.
Earlier in the day, at noon Thursday, Blaine Wade, a folklorist from Maryland, will lead a performance and workshop at the Bridge Progressive Arts Initiative. The event is free.
Concert tickets are $15, $12 in advance. Get them online at virginiafolklife.org. Parking at the center is free.
“From Africa to Appalachia: An Evening with Cheick Hamala Diabate, Sammy Shelor, Danny Knicely and Friends”
8 p.m. Thursday
Jefferson School African-American Heritage Center
$15; $12 advance; $10 seniors and students