Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang Multimedia: Oumou Sangare, Will Calhoun, Béla Fleck, Les Nubians at Central Park Summerstage


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Hot times, summer in the city, can only mean fabulous outdoor concerts, many of them free.

On the 5th of July, I made my way towards Rumsey Playfield where the free Central Park SummerStage concerts are held, at the invitation of Living Colour drummer Will Calhoun, who is currently on a North American and Canadian tour with Malian songstress Oumou Sangare and her band.

Malian songstress Oumou Sangare (Photo by Lia Chang)

Malian songstress Oumou Sangare (Photo by Lia Chang)


The sounds of African voices and instruments filled the air on this perfect summer afternoon, which also featured performances by French-Chad group Les Nubians, Nigerian singer Asa and banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck.
Oumou Sangare and her band, featuring drummer Will Calhoun, perform at the Central Park Summerstage in New York on July 5, 2009. Photo by Lia Chang

Oumou Sangare and her band, featuring drummer Will Calhoun, perform at the Central Park Summerstage in New York on July 5, 2009. Photo by Lia Chang


“Oumou Sangare is one of the most talented artists I’ve worked with in my entire career. This is the perfect time to work with her and fellow Malian musicians. I’m honored to participate in this tour,” said Calhoun, when I caught up with him backstage.
Drummer Will Calhoun (Photo by Lia Chang)

Drummer Will Calhoun (Photo by Lia Chang)


www.willcalhoun.com
Sangare, known as “The Songbird of Wassoulou,” writes and composes her songs to bring about social awareness, especially concerning the place of women within society.

New York native Calhoun, the sole American on the tour, has visited Mali to study with Dogon drummers and other master musicians over the past two years. He is also featured playing drums and percussion on Oumou’s critically acclaimed World Circuit / Nonesuch release ‘Seya,’ which means joy.

For more information on Oumou Sangare’s North American tour, visit http://www.nonesuch.com/on-tour/oumou-sangare. For more on her new album, visit http://www.nonesuch.com/albums/seya.
Click on the arrow below for photos and video excerpts from Oumou Sangare’s concert in Central Park.

Tour Dates
JULY WED 08- Montreal, QUE Montreal Jazz Festival
JULY THU 09- Ottawa, ONT Cisco Blues
JULY FRI 10- Winnipeg Winnipeg Folk Festival – Main stage
JULY SAT 11- Winnipeg Winnipeg Folk Festival – workshop
JULY SUN 12- Toronto, ONT Afrofest Queens Park
JULY WED 15- Quebec City, QUE City Festival
JULY FRI 17- Burlington, VT Sol Harvest Festivus
JULY SAT 18- Trumansburg, NY Grassroots Festival

Sisters Hélène and Célia Faussart of the “Afropean” R&B duo Les Nubians opened the show. Photo by Lia Chang

Sisters Hélène and Célia Faussart of the “Afropean” R&B duo Les Nubians opened the show. Photo by Lia Chang



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Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive.

Lia Chang Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

Lia Chang Photo by Brianne Michelle Photography

Lia Chang is an actor, performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multimedia journalist.

As a photographer and videographer, Lia collaborates with artists, organizations and companies in establishing their documentary photo archive and social media presence. She has been documenting her colleagues and contemporaries in the arts, fashion and journalism since making her stage debut as Liat in the National Tour of South Pacific, with Robert Goulet and Barbara Eden. Lia currently plays Nurse Lia on “One Life to Live”. She has appeared in Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and “New York Undercover”.

Selections of Lia’s archive of Asian Pacific Americans in the arts, fashion, journalism, politics and space are now in the newly created LIA CHANG THEATER PHOTOGRAPHY PORTFOLIO in the ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN PERFORMING ARTS COLLECTION housed in the Library of Congress Asian Division’s Asian American Pacific Islander Collection.

Lia’s portraits and performance photos have appeared in Vanity Fair, Gourmet, German Elle, Women’s Wear Daily, The Paris Review, TV Guide, Daily Variety, Interior Design, American Theatre, Broadwayworld.com, Life & Style, OUT, New York Magazine, InStyle, Timeout.com, Villagevoice.com, Playbill.com, Theatermania.com, thelmagazine.com, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, USA Today, The Boston Globe, New York Times and Washington Post. A former syndicated arts and entertainment columnist for KYODO News, Lia is the New York Bureau Chief for AsianConnections.com. She writes about culture, style and Asian American issues for a variety of publications and this Backstage Pass with Lia Chang blog.

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