Kaleidhaphonic is a dynamic musical quartet that is breaking new ground in the fusion of world, trance, ancient and modern musical genres. In Kaleidhaphonic, African, Indian and Western instruments combine, weaving a colorful and mesmerizing soundscape of deep grooves, dancing rhythms, and simply beautiful sounds.Kaleidhaphonic began as a duet between mbira player, Kevin Nathaniel and Tabla player Tripp Dudley. They were soon joined by Salieu Suso on Kora and John Ragusa on flutes to create a new sound based on traditional African music and the intricate rhythms of the Indian Tabla, with the added wildcard of a free-improvising jazz flutist and multi-instrumentalist.
Kaleidhaphonic’s live performances are receiving a joyous and enthusiastic response from their audiences. They are quickly building a reputation as a new kind of band, dancing at the musical crossroads of Africa, India, Europe, and America. Their music moves from the meditative to the ecstatic and back again, digging into the deepest of grooves, and celebrating the essence of sound. Catch them and join the party!
The members of Kaleidhaphonic are:
Kevin Nathaniel – mbira and shekere
A pioneer on the African music scene in NYC, Kevin worked closely with the late mbira legend, Ephat Mujuru for 16 years building mbiras and playing traditional and contemporary mbira music. As a founding member of the Spirit Ensemble, Kevin collaborated with the late mbira master Zeleka, and is now one of the very few keepers of the Zeleka mbira stlye.
Tripp Dudley – tabla
A musician since the age of 10, Tripp started studying Indian rhythmic systems on frame drums and tabla while attending Berklee College of Music. Since graduating in 2005, Tripp has performed throughout the USA, and the UK with acclaimed singer-songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman, and currently resides in New York studying under the guidance of Tabla master Pandit Samir Chatterjee.
Muhamadou Salieu Suso – kora (West African Harp)
Salieu was born into a family of farmers and traditional Gambian musicians and Griots that extends back nearly 1000 years. He is a direct descendent of the inventor of the Kora, JaliMady Wulayn Suso, and was trained to play the 21 stringed Kora by his father and renowned Kora player Alhaji Musa Makang Suso. Salieu performed widely throughout Africa and Europe before settling in the United States in 1989
John Ragusa – flutes, pennywhistle, jews harp, conch shell
John has been called “One of today’s finest improvisational flutists” by the legendary Paul Horn, and has built a career performing jazz, folk, roots, latin, blues, and world music with a wide variety of artists in the U.S. and around the world. John is one half of the award-winning blues duo, Mulebone, and for the past 10 years has been featured in concert and on recordings with the Nashville singer-songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman.
With a long and dynamic history, the Spirit Ensemble has established itself as the primary source for music that traverses the African Diaspora. The enchanting sounds of the mbira, kora, bala, steel pan, and bamboo flute comprise the essence of Spirit’s sound and provide the foundation for rhythmic travels. Each member of the ensemble is a master percussionist who has dedicated his life to the study and sharing of this music, and the magnitude of their devotion is evident to all who experience their performances.
“Spirit Ensemble’s musical majesty resonates long after the last rhythm has been played.”—The Museum for African Art
So if you enjoy listening to the sounds of Africa, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Jamaica, and if you enjoy listening to world music, jazz, gospel, hip-hop, R&B, or new age, then you’ll love Spirit, and you’ll discover that their sound is fresh. It is a bright, playfully melodic sound driven by strong grooves and pulsating rhythms. Spirit Ensemble’s music will transport you, uplift you and move you to dance. So come celebrate life and “feel the spirit”.
In addition to performances and recordings, Spirit Ensemble also reaches out to educate. Please inquire about educational workshops and residencies.
Brief History of Spirit
Founded in 1983 by Zeleka Jenkins and Jummy Cruiz, Spirit has had a very active and prolific musical history. From touring the South and the New Orleans Jazz Festival, to backing Madonna and Sandra Bernhardt at the Brooklyn Academy of Music; from Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, to the African International Arts Festival, the Gullah Festival, and more while the list continues to grow. The band comprises 6 core members listed below, while we perform with as many as 8 members.
Watch Spirit Ensemble in the Video Gallery.
Visit Spirit Ensemble’s myspace page.
Heritage O.P. is an acoustic percussion and vocal ensemble that fuses the rich cultural traditions and diasporal rhythms of Africa – from South America to the Caribbean – with African American tradition and modern musical trends. Their sound is contemporary with a strong beat and positive lyrics designed to uplift, inspire, and move the listener to dance. They do this, however, using mostly traditional instruments as they share a deep respect for the beauty of acoustical sound and natural resonance. Hence, the “O.P.” stands for organic percussion.
Buy Heritage OP CD’s at CD Baby for you or a friend—share the music!
Visit the official Heritage O.P. website.