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Jazz: World Fusion Moods: Type: Improvisational World: African- West

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United States - Virginia

Darrell Rose/Afrikan Drum Festival

SourMash Records USA is pleased to announce the release of Wisdom a brand new music CD by Charlottesville-based musician Darrell Rose. Wisdom is a collection of recordings by Darrell Rose leading the Afrikan Drum Festival, a percussion group he formed and then brought to Charlottesville, VA in 1990 when he relocated there from Tennesse. Despite being a regular and popular local performer, this is Rose's first CD release under his own name.

Since 1974, Darrell Rose has performed across the United States, Canada and Europe as a featured soloist and in ensemble with his Afrikan Drum Festival and numerous traditional dance companies. Recently he has performed selected dates with the legendary reggae band, The Wailers. He has also performed on stage with musical luminaries Peter Rowan, Vassar Clemmans, Corey Harris and Odetta. Rose also recorded with Harris on his two most recent albums including the current Rounder Records release "Downhome Sophisticate" which has received a 4-star rating from Rolling Stone magazine. He performed on a video release with Greg Howard and also appears in various impromptu outfits -- such as the recent fusion trio -- Wonder Band in addition to local appearances with various members of the Dave Matthews Band. He plays a wide array of instruments including djembe, sabar, berimbau, shiko and talking drum -- all of which are featured on Wisdom. Since 1991 he has been sponsored by the Virginia Commission for the Arts, as Artist in Residence in public schools throughout central Virginia, where he teaches drumming rhthyms and their historic context.

Darrell hs a B.S. in Sociology and Political Science from Tennessee State University, and has studied traditional hand drum techniques with West African Master Drummers Mor Tiam and Abdou Kunta of Sengal and Babatunde Olatunji of Nigeria.

Daily Progress Extra
Charlottesville, Virginia Friday, May 17, 2002
With Rose playing the Prism, the beat goes on...
Daily Progress staff writer

For a dozen years, Charlottesville has marched to the beat of a different drummer. Now listeners will be able to drive, do the laundry or dance in their living rooms to that same beat.

Fans who've enjoyed hearing Darrell Rose perform African drumming in concert balls and bars, on the Downtown Mall, during First Night Virginia and in countless classrooms can take home his first solo CD, Wisdom.

And on Saturday, listeners can join Rose and his ensemble, Afrikan Drum Festival, at the Prism for a CD release party. No jackets are required, but dancing shoes are definitely recommended.

Wisdom has been released by a new independent label, SourMash Records USA, founded by Charlottesville's own Stephen Graziano.

It may be hard to believe that Rose, a star in Charlottesville's music community since 1990 and a featured soloist and ensemble performer across the United States, Canada and Europe since 1974, hasn't recorded a CD under his own name before. But folks familiar with Rose and his work know he's generous in sharing the spotlight.

To start with, he lists himself on the album as "Darrell Rose/Afrikan Drum Festival," giving bandmates William Whitten and Scottie Williams their due. Then he gives his adopted city a big chunk of credit, too.

Darrell Rose sifted through a decade's worth of recordings to assemble Wisdom. "You know, it's really Charlottesville music," Rose said. "I'm quite humbled by the whole process."

Although the CD's 13 tracks seem to flow together seamlessly, they were recorded in many different settings. Some go as far back as 1991. Some were recorded on a boom box.

"I listened to approximately 24 hours of material to pick those 13," he said. "You pick your favorites and then you try to make a sequence. It's almost like an artist with a canvas."

Some tracks are traditional Africa songs arranged by the group. Rose, Whitten and Williams each contributed songs of their own. Rose sought to capture the men's live sound, which blends African musical traditions with the modern, Western training and influences each member brings to the mix

For listeners who are new to African music, the CD also offers a primer. Instruments used in the music include djembe, a lead drum of Malian origin; tama, a "talking drum" from Senegal; mbira, a thumb piano from southern Africa; pen pen sa wa, a bass thumb piano from Ghana; ashiko drums from Nigeria; and the a-go-go, a double-headed bell used throughout Africa.