ABOVE PHOTO: Ladysmith Black Mambazo
The Kimmel Center celebrates Philadelphia’s diverse artistic traditions throughout the year. In February, we commemorate Black History Month with a focus on African-American arts and culture showcasing internationally renowned stellar artists reflecting legacies and innovations in their fields. Highlights include Grammy Award winning South African a capella sensation Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Emmy® winning astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, magnetic funk and soul revivalists Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, and a special Fat Tuesday celebration with New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, led by Irvin Mayfield.
“We are excited to launch Black History Month with internationally heralded treasure Ladysmith Black Mambazo,” said Kimmel Center President and CEO Anne Ewers. “We hope audiences celebrate black history with us all year round. Our February programming has something for everyone: from our monthly FREE Sittin’ In and PNC family programming to visiting masters performing the best jazz in the city.”
Named “South African Cultural Ambassadors to the World” by the late Nelson Mandela with over 50 album releases, Ladysmith Black Mambazo performs new works from Always With Us (2014), an homage to group’s matriarch, Nellie Shabalala. The group’s a capella performance on February 2 continues their legacy of South African musical traditions witha harmonic blend of folk and reggae.
Pioneering soul singer Sharon Jones joins in the visceral rhythm of the Dap-Kings on February 13. The group makes their Merriam Theater debut performing new works from their latest album release, “Give the People What They Want. Then,” Jazz at the Kimmel takes center stage with national cultural jazz emissary Irvin Mayfield leading the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra in their Kimmel Center debut. Their performance on Fat Tuesday kicks off Mardi Gras with a special Louisiana-bred swinging jazz performance, displaying their “blistering Creole fire” (Omaha World Journal).
Black History Month concludes with celebrated astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson engaging audiences in his U.S. speaking tour on February 25. Host of FOX’s “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” series and radio show “StarTalk,” Tyson discusses the innovation of science, exploration, and the world.
Tickets are available at kimmelcenter.org, 215-893-1999, or at the Kimmel Center Box Office located at Broad and Spruce Streets, Philadelphia, (open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., later on performance evenings).