LEWISTON – Featuring music from Caribbean, Indonesian and African traditions, this year’s World Music Weekend at Bates College takes place today through Sunday, March 4 to 6, in Olin Arts Center, 75 Russell St.

Performers include the college’s steel pan and gamelan ensembles, Auburn violinist Greg Boardman and Jordan Messan Benissan, a drummer from Togo, West Africa.

“The Bates music department is committed to broadening our students’ exposure to live music from traditions outside of Western popular and art musics,” says Gina Fatone, visiting assistant professor of music. “That’s what this weekend is about.”

World Music Weekend opens at 8 p.m. today with a concert in the Olin Arts Center Concert Hall. The performers are the Gamelan Mawar Mekar, a percussion-based orchestra playing the gamelan music of Java, Indonesia; the Blazing Sun Steel Pan Orchestra, performing Caribbean pan music; and Boardman, who will join the gamelan on a piece by composer Lou Harrison.

Saturday afternoon, two Bates seniors will discuss their musical research in Olin Room 105. At 2 p.m., Gregory Rosenthal will speak about “Courtship Rituals of the Yi People of China.” At 3 p.m., Joseph Maurey will discuss “From Calypso to Symphony” about the musical traditions of Trinidad.

On Sunday, following a drumming workshop, Benissan and his band Sankofa perform at 7:30 p.m. in the concert hall, combining modern and traditional rhythms and songs. Benissan, who lives in Waterville, has performed and given workshops throughout the United States to children and adults.

His recordings include “Beautiful Music from West Africa,” nominated for Best World Music by Phoenix Magazine, and “Let Me Play My Music,” featured on National Public Radio’s “All Songs Considered” program. The weekend events are free and open to the public. For more information, people can call (207) 786-6135.


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