Intercultural Journeys: The Artistry of Identity and Transformation
Alex Shaw: The Mandinga Experiment
Percussionist/vocalist Alex Shaw debuts a new collaborative tribute to the cultural legacy of the Afro-Brazilian martial art Capoeira Angola. Accompanied by live vintage visuals and featuring musicians, dancers, and capoeiristas from both Brazil and the U.S., The Mandinga Experiment is an amalgamation of original compositions and contemporary interpretations of traditional Afro-Brazilian rhythms and songs.
This concert will feature new collaborative material with guest artists further exploring Afro-Brazilian cultural traditions in contemporary American contexts and spaces.
Estimated performance length is 90 minutes.
The term mandinga (mahn-GING-gah) has various meanings throughout the Americas and is derived from the West African “Mandinka” ethnic group. In the capoeira philosophical context, it holds a positive connotation and typically refers to a mysterious or magical characteristic or ability that one has to disguise their intentions as a means of achieving an advantageous position, through smooth and creative expression, gesture, and movement. In the context of this artistic project, the concept of mandinga has been extended to explore the creative transformation of these rich cultural traditions as a means of sharing and honoring the often-underappreciated legacy of capoeira and its contribution towards cultural resistance against race-based oppression.
Alex Shaw is the Curator of Intercultural Journeys, Director of renowned ensemble, Alô Brasil, and Section Leader of the Spoken Hand Percussion Orchestra. Alex regularly lectures, teaches, and performs throughout the mid-Atlantic region, and has extensive experience as a teaching artist – working for over fourteen years in this regards. He joined the music faculty of the University of the Arts in 2010 and has received several competitive grants to support his music research and study in Brazil including the Independence Foundation Fellowship in the Arts and Arts International’s Artist Exploration Fund Award. He was honored with the Emerging Legacy Award at the University of Pennsylvania MLK Commemorative Symposium for Social Justice in 2012.