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Richard Bona Band Debut Performance of Afro-Cuban Global Jazz with Special Guest Guitarist Lionel Loueke at Kimmel Center March 1

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Kimmel Center Presents 2007/08 Season Sponsored by Citi

“Imagine an artist with Jaco Pastorius's virtuosity, George Benson's vocal fluidity, Joo Gilberto's sense of song and harmony, all mixed up with African culture. Ladies and gentlemen, we bring you Richard Bona!" --Los Angeles Times

Cameroonian bassist and vocalist Richard Bona and his Band perform global Jazz infused with African spirit, as part of their Kimmel Center debut on Saturday, March 1, 2008 at 7:30pm in Perelman Theater. Dubbed “The African Sting," Bona's distinctive style blends a bevy of cultural influences that explores a polyrhythmic, pluralist society; Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, Caribbean and Anglo-Saxon pop harmonies exist alongside jazz, bossa nova, afro-beat, traditional song and funk sounds in Bona's recent albums, such as Tiki. His lyrical storytelling, steeped in African musical tradition, communicates universal themes of love, spirituality and a utopian world without war. Special guest guitarist Lionel Loueke, a native of Benin, shares the stage, and provides vocals, percussive tongue clicking and intricate multi-layered guitar, as heard on his soon to be released album, Karibu (March 2008), which includes collaborations with jazz legends Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter.

“Mr. Loueke is a gentle virtuoso. As a singer, he has a husky, sincere baritone and a melting falsetto that he uses to scat-sing along with his guitar solos. He's also a full-fledged jazz guitarist, and he uses both electronics--guitar synthesizer, looping devices--and African roots."--New York Times

This concert is the third concert in the Mellon Jazz Up Close “Goes Global" Series scheduled for the 2007/2008 season. The next concert in the series will be Eastern Europe, Daniel Szabo Trio with special guest Marta Topferova on Saturday, March 29, 2008 at 7:30pm in Perelman Theater.

Tickets for Africa featuring Richard Bona Band are $37 and $43, and can be purchased by calling 215-893-1999, online at www.kimmelcenter.org, or at the Kimmel Center box office open daily from 10am to 6pm and later on performance evenings. (Additional fees may apply.) For group sales call 215-790-5883.

A limited number of $10 tickets are available for every Kimmel Center Presents performance at the Kimmel Center. Tickets go on sale the day of the event and can be purchased at the Kimmel Center box office beginning 2.5 hours prior to curtain time and 11:30am for matinees. Limit one ticket per person.

The grandson of a famous percussionist and singer, Richard Bona was born in 1967 in Minta, a village in central Cameroon. Bona, a musical prodigy, learned to play music by sight on homemade instruments. Upon joining a jazz band at the age of 13, Bona began playing the bass, inspired by the music of modern bass guitar pioneer Jaco Pastorius. Bona moved to New York in 1995, and has since collaborated with master musicians such as the late Michael Brecker, Paul Simon, Chaka Khan, Eddie Palmieri, Chucho Valds, Joni Mitchell, Harry Connick Jr., Herbie Hancock, Queen Latifah and George Benson, among many others. Bona's debut album, Scenes from My Life, was released in 1998, and included such luminaries as Michael Brecker, Omar Hakim and Jean-Michel Pilc, among others. Following his premiere effort, Bona showcases his artistic evolution on his subsequent recordings, Reverence (2001), Munia (2003) and the Grammy® winning Tiki (2005). Bona plans to release his first live album, Bona Makes You Sweat, in March 2008.

Guitarist and vocalist Lionel Loueke was born in Benin, a small country in West Africa. Loueke began playing guitar at age 17, and quickly became enamored with Afro-pop, traditional African music and jazz. Loueke left Africa in 1994 and moved to Paris to pursue jazz studies, enrolling at the American School of Modern Music. He continued his exploration of jazz in the United States at Berklee College of Music and then at Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in Los Angeles. It was at the Monk Institute that Loueke met his greatest mentors, saxophonist Wayne Shorter and trumpeter Terence Blanchard, with whom he toured and collaborated on the recordings Bounce and Flow, as well as pianist Herbie Hancock's Grammy®-nominated album, River: The Joni Letters. Loueke is scheduled to release his first major label album, Karibu, on March 25, 2008.

Kimmel Center Presents 2007/2008 season is sponsored by Citi. Support for the Mellon Jazz Series comes from The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation. The Great Orchestra Series is supported by ARC Wheeler. Additional support is provided by the University of Pennsylvania Health System and American Express. American Airlines is the Official Airline of Kimmel Center Presents. Toyota is the Official Vehicle of Kimmel Center Presents Jazz and World Pop programming.

The Kimmel Center also receives support from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The William Penn Foundation, The Wachovia Foundation, Verizon Foundation, PNC Foundation, the Philadelphia Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, and the Philadelphia Music Project and Dance Advance, Initiatives of The Pew Charitable Trust administered by The University of the Arts. In-kind support is generously provided by Deloitte. NBC-10 is a Media Partner for Kimmel Center Presents, and additional media sponsors include WDAS, WRTI, WJJZ, Afro-Pop, WXPN and WXPN's Kids Corner 20th Anniversary.

Free in the Plaza programming and subsidized tickets offered to the community and social service groups for $10 are made possible through the Wachovia Gateway to the Arts Community Access Program, supported by a generous grant from Wachovia Foundation.

KIMMEL CENTER PRESENTS SPONSORED BY CITI

Saturday, March 1, 2008 | 7:30pm
Perelman Theater
Mellon Jazz Up Close Series

Africa

Richard Bona, bass and vocals
Etienne Stadwijk, keyboard
Samuel Torres, percussion
Ernesto Simpson, drums
Taylor Haskins, trumpet
Adam Stoler, guitar
Lionel Loueke, guitar and vocals

FREE AT THE KIMMEL EVENTS:

Saturday, March 1, 2008 | Mid-show
Perelman Theater Stage
Artist Chat with Richard Bona Band
During the ticketed performance, an Artist Chat will be held on Perelman Stage with Richard Bona, Lionel Loueke, series Artistic Advisor Danlo Perez and the Kimmel Center's Vice President of Programming and Education Mervon Mehta.

Saturday, March 1, 2008 | 6pm
Commonwealth Plaza
Starfinder's Young Stars Photo Exhibit
The Starfinder Foundation and the Kimmel Center have partnered to enrich the lives of approximately one thousand children in Southeastern Pennsylvania this summer. In a program that highlighted World Cup soccer nations and world-class musicians from around the world, the Starfinders' young stars took photographs of soccer in their communities in a unique combination of arts and sports. The children's photographs will be exhibited in Commonwealth Plaza. The exhibit honors the great soccer tradition in Cameroon and matches it with Richard Bona, Cameroon's musical gift to jazz.

This story appears courtesy of Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.
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