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June 16, 2006

"From Ear to Ear" to bring lost 18th-century African music to life in CW's Equiano Lecture Series

A preview of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s newest CD, “From Ear to Ear: The Passage of African Music Through American Slavery,” will be featured during the next installment of the Equiano Lecture Series at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 24 at the Kimball Theatre. The CD re-creates the lost and forgotten music performed by Africans in the 18th century and follows the transformation of their unique music as they moved in forced bondage from Africa to the Caribbean and finally to America.

With an anticipated release date in June, “From Ear to Ear” coincides with Black Music Month. The lecture is part of a series that occurs three times yearly to cover unexplored topics in American history though panel discussions and lectures guided by some of the nation’s leading scholars.

Speakers to be featured in the lecture will include: Dominique Cyrille, an ethnomusicologist who lectures at Lehman College, the City University of New York and the Center for Black Music Research at Columbia College Chicago; Velma Maia Thomas-Fann, an ordained minister who works as an African-American historian, genealogist and lecturer; and Robert Watson, former director of African-American Programs, and currently a distinguished professor of history at Hampton University. In addition to their expertise in African history and culture, all three speakers also helped in the CD’s development and will add a personal touch to the occasion.

Tickets are $12 and can be purchased at any Colonial Williamsburg ticket outlet.

Complementing the lecture, there will be a live concert celebrating the CD’s pending release that will introduce guests to African-American musical traditions through dancing, drumming and vocal performances. In the lecture itself, panelists will take a deeper look at the creation and meaning behind the featured music.

Funding for the Equiano Lecture Series has been provided by a generous grant from the AT&T Foundation. The CD, “From Ear to Ear,” was funded in part by Douglas N. Morton and Marilyn L. Brown, Mr. and Mrs. Richard D. Parsons, Norfolk Southern Corporation, and the Charles E. Culpeper Endowments in Arts and Culture of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

The Equiano Lecture Series was named for the legendary African Olaudah Equiano who was born in what is now Nigeria. He was kidnapped as a child and sold into slavery in the 18th century. After careful saving and trading, he purchased his own freedom and became involved in the movement to abolish the trans-Atlantic African slave trade and later wrote in his autobiography of the importance of music in the lives of the people of Africa.

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121