Stone Church Arts Presents: An evening of kora music, songs and stories with John Hughes

BELLOWS FALLS, VERMONT - Area kora player, John Hughes, will be performing his mesmerizing music at Stone Church Arts at Immanuel Episcopal Church, Saturday, November 17. Banning Eyre of Afropop Worldwide declared, “...What is so impressive about Hughes’ work is the way he has absorbed so much of the stylistic language of Mande kora music, and yet freed himself to compose within the idiom. It is confident, original, and above all, highly musical.”


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Whether playing elegant and stately pieces from the classical Mande Jeli repertoire or original compositions that mingle disparate cultural influences, John's kora playing has an uncommon beauty that is, at once, exquisitely intimate and bold. His signature pieces are rhythmically nuanced, laced with syncopations that cascade off the strings into whirlpools of mesmerizing sound that soothes and up-lifts the spirit.

The kora is an ancient (nearly a thousand years old) West African harp not often heard in the United States. It's resonating chamber is made from a very large gourd covered with a stretched hide sound board. It has 22 nylon strings in two separate rows that span four octaves. John plays koras that he builds himself.

John Hughes is an internationally renowned composer, kora player, percussionist and vocalist whose style ranges from traditional west African rhythms and melodies to original hypnotic grooves that cross cultural boundaries and fuse disparate influences. John takes his audiences on an intimate musical tour of universal expressions of joy and hope, at once soothing and uplifting.

Also a sculptor, dancer, instrument builder and educator, he holds a B.F.A. from the Tyler School of Art and the West Surrey College of Art and Design and an M.F.A. from the University of Wisconsin - Madison.

John has studied the music song and dance of West Africa for more than 25 years, training with numerous master drummers and dancers from Guinea and Mali, including Mamady Keita, Famoudou Konate and Youssouf Koumbassa.

Tickets in advance are $20 general admission, $15 for seniors, and $35 for premium, reserved seats. At the door, prices increase by $5 to $25 general admission and $20 for seniors and $45 premium reserved. Information and advance tickets are available in person at Village Square Booksellers in Bellows Falls and Misty Valley Books in Chester, by phone at 802-460-0110, and online at www.stonechurcharts.org.