Chicago – After critical acclaim and box office success in Europe, DJEMBE! The Show announces its US Premiere at the Apollo Theater in Chicago. A group of world-class African and international musicians perform with a surprising mix of instruments, and the audience is part of the band! With a djembe drum for each spectator to play along, audiences of all ages will enjoy this innovative fusion of music and rhythm from different cultures during an evening filled with joy, energy, fun and unity. DJEMBE! The Show starts performances on June 13, 2018, at the Apollo Theater, 2540 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago.
DJEMBE! The Show is a not-to-be missed, unique and immersive fusion of music, rhythm and culture, that brings a rich, meaningful and powerful set of universal values to the hearts of the audience. Each audience member is given a djembe drum for the concert handmade in West Africa, and will learn to play along with world-class musicians to an exciting mix of Western traditions and favorite hits from around the world. In addition to traditional African beats, audiences will drum along to the music of artists like Prince, Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, Bob Marley, Angelique Kidjo, and Pharrell Williams, among others. The show explores the story of our shared humanity as well as the influence that Africa has had on world and pop music. Join the energy, emotion and joy of a show chosen by Oprah to open her Super Soul Sessions at UCLA for a live audience of 1750 people.
The cast of Chicago performers will be announced at a later date.
A portion of DJEMBE! The Show proceeds will benefit Lighting Up Lives, a philanthropic organization to improve healthcare, education, cultural exchange, energy and employment for the people of West Africa. The pilot village for this project is called Abéné in Senegal. Lighting Up Lives, led by DJEMBE! creator Doug Manuel, works in partnership with the people of Abéné to help them create a brighter future for their village. Merchandise made by hand in Abéné will be sold during the run of DJEMBE! For more information, visit www.lightinguplives.org.
DJEMBE! The Show is co-produced by creator Doug Manuel and Michèle Darmon. Manuel has been helping individuals and companies around the globe find purpose in life and work for more than 20 years through corporate events and leadership programs.
Manuel comments, “People’s dynamic energy and personal rhythm depend on the beating of their hearts rather than on their minds. I am convinced that the sounds and power of the primeval language of the djembes can have a beneficial effect both on group behavior and individual attitudes. Drumming generates positive energy and allows people to lose their inhibitions and let themselves be carried away together by the music. Drumming stimulates personal development and self-knowledge, improving team spirit and letting us work better in a group.”
About the Creative and Producing Team
Doug Manuel (Creator, Author, Producer)
Doug has dedicated more than 20 years building bridges between Africa and the Occident. After an 8-year career producing documentaries for the BBC (which included working on Africa’s Forgotten Elephants), he founded Sewa Beats, an International team and leadership development consultancy that uses African Rhythms and Music to promote value-based collaboration and leadership. He has worked with more than 100 Fortune 500 companies, leading business schools and organizations around the globe. Almost 300,000 people have experienced programs in 19 countries and in 8 different languages. He is a sought-after workshop leader and conference speaker. He created DJEMBE! The Show (formerly Do You Speak Djembe?) in 2012, and subsequently his foundation ‘Lighting Up Lives’. An advocate of giving back, a portion of the proceeds of this concert go towards this initiative to create model sustainable village Abéné as a pilot village in rural West Africa.
West Hyler (Director and Author)
West was the story writer and scene director for Cirque Du Soleil Paramour, Cirque’s first Broadway musical. Other work includes Jersey Boys, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Broadway), Avenue Q (State Theater of Bulgaria), iLuminate (World Tour), Air Play (New Victory Theater, World Tour), Big Apple Circus (Lincoln Center, Nat’l Tour), Panda! (Beijing State Theater, Palazzo Hotel and Casino), Chandelier (Celebrity Cruise Lines), Mortality Play, Wingman, Kid who would be Pope (Ars Nova), H2O (59E59), Getting My Act Together, Game of Love (York Theater Company), The Tempest, Love’s Labours Lost, Merry Wives of Windsor (Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival), Georama, The Disappearing Man (St Louis Rep; Critics Circle Award Winner), No Way to Treat a Lady (The Colony Theater), Flambe Dreams, The Awakening of Angel DeLuna), Georama (NYMF- Georama won 5 awards including “Best Direction”), amongst others. Playwriting work includes Paramour, Georama, Big Apple Circus; Lengendarium and Metamorphosis, Panda!, Chandelier, A Jake and a Tom (Winner- Hollywood Family Film Festival), and We Declare You a Terrorist (The Public Theater, Summer Play Festival).
Kenneth B. Hertz (Executive Producer)
Kenneth Hertz specializes in representing talent, entrepreneurs and new media companies in the technology, fashion, sports and entertainment industries. Prior to joining the firm, Ken was in charge of music — business and legal affairs – for The Walt Disney Company. Ken is also a principal in MemBrain – an entertainment marketing and strategy consulting firm. MemBrain consults a number of businesses operating in the entertainment content, fashion, technology and marketing industries .Ken is a frequent speaker and commentator on the subjects of entertainment, marketing and convergence, is often quoted in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Wall Street Journal, has appeared on CNBC’s monthly newsmagazine “Business Nation,” and has been an instructor at UCLA’s Anderson Graduate School of Management and an adjunct professor of law at USC. Ken graduated from UCLA Law School in 1984.
Lane Marsh (Executive Producer & General Manager, Foresight Theatrical)
Foresight Theatrical is comprised of partners Allan Williams, Aaron Lustbader, Mark Shacket who together with Lane Marsh oversee and supervise productions of The Phantom of the Opera, Kinky Boots, The Band’s Visit and Escape to Margaritaville on Broadway. Upcoming Broadway shows include King Kong and The Prom. Notable past productions include Million Dollar Quartet (Production that lasted 7 years at the Apollo Theater in Chicago) Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, Spiderman – Turn Off the Dark, Fosse, Gigi, American Psycho, Follies, Grey Gardens, Cry Baby, Sweat Smell of Success, On the Town, Oklahoma, A Chorus Line and many others.
Eliane Correa (Musical Director)
Eliane is a young Latina pianist, composer and arranger based between London, Havana and Barcelona; trained classically as a teenager at the Luxembourg Conservatoire, she went on to study at the renowned Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana, Cuba, then relocating to London in 2007 to study a BA & MA Ethnomusicology at SOAS (part of University College, London). During her years in London she has become known mainly for her work as a bandleader/composer/keyboardist in her projects, Wara, En el Aire Project and Eli & La Evolucion. Since 2010 she has also been working as a session pianist for some of the UK’s top Latin bands (Osvaldo Chacón y su Timba, Rene Alvarez & Cuban Combination, Jesús Cutiño among others), and backing internationally renowned Cuban artists such as Pedrito Calvo and Angel Yos. In Barcelona she is currently co-producing and arranging an album for Cuban vocalist Mixael Cabrera, with who she also tours as a session pianist. Her work as a session composer/songwriter/arranger moves beyond the realm of Latin music; her current arranging works include original pieces for vocal quartet Tela Bella, R&B/Soul vocalist Paris Ruel and Afro-soul vocalist Juanita Euka among others.
Babara Bangoura, djembefola (Lead African Artist)
Babara was born in Guinea and is half Soussou and half Malinké. Initiated at a young age be became the youngest ever member of the Ensemble des Percussions de Guinée Junior and subsequently the Djoliba National Ballet Company. Based in Belgium since 1999 he is considered as the spiritual heir of the great djembe master Mamady Keïta. Babara travels incessantly giving workshops and performing concerts in the 4 corners of the world. He is also founder of the International North-South Cultural Exchange Festival, a festival that takes place in Conakry providing musicians from all over the world with the opportunity to share their passion for the traditional Mandinke music and dance.
Sona Jobarteh (Composer and African Musical Consultant)
For more information about DJEMBE! The Show, visit www.djembetheshow.com.