After taking world fusion into new realms in the pioneering band Hamsa Lila, singer and percussionist MJ Greenmountain celebrates the release of his debut solo CD, Mj, in a night of global dance and trance music. He is joined by fellow members of Hamsa Lila and guest musicians including Moroccan sintir player Yassir Chadly and world percussionist Ben Krames. Cheb i Sabbah, who often features Greenmountain’s music in his shows, closes the night with a DJ set.
MJ Greenmountain and Hamsa Lila forged a unique blend of global music styles that took its CD, Gathering One, to the top of the world music charts and made them festival favorites. As a solo artist he builds on the qualities that he brought to Hamsa Lila, organically fusing ancient and modern melodic and rhythmic roots elements with real instruments and vocal layering, all while synchronizing dub-style effects in a fresh, Medicinal Global sound. His original songs and adaptations include flavors primarily from Africa, Brazil, India, the Middle East and the Caribbean. The music likewise combines instruments from an array of cultures, into music that emphasizes trance-inducing dance rhythms to raise listeners to a higher realm.
On the new MJ, one can hear threads of traditional Yoruban, Gnawan, Native American and Rastafarian musics weaving through conscious vocals and polyrhythmic arrangements, revealing Greenmountain’s years of world music studies and colorfully reflecting his multi-continental travels and tribal connections. Ever pointing his compass towards the Divine, he is both an inspired solo performer and a powerful bandleader, where his “Fela-esque” qualities can be witnessed.
Saturday, December 6
Doors at 9:00 p.m; Show at 9:30 p.m.
Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center
1317 San Pablo Ave. at Gilman Berkeley, CA 94702