June 20, 2018
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Afro-Semitic Experience to perform in Bangor, Augusta

BANGOR, Maine — The Afro-Semitic Experience, a band of African-American and American Jewish musicians, will perform at 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 16, in Room 124 of Eastport Hall at University College at Bangor.

The group also will perform at noon Thursday, March 17, in Jewett Auditorium at the University of Maine Augusta.

Co-founded by African-American jazz pianist Warren Byrd and Jewish-American jazz bassist David Chevan for an interfaith Martin Luther King memorial service in 1998, the Afro-Semitic Experience has gone on to share its music at concerts, workshops and worship services all across the United States, Canada, and Europe, according to the group’s website.

The Afro-Semitic Experience performs gospel, klezmer, spirituals, bebop and swing music to deliver a unique musical program that merges band members’ distinct cultures and heritages while delivering a positive and meaningful message about Black-Jewish relations, according to information provided by UMA.

The group’s music is an intricate tapestry of the distinct cultures and heritages of its members. During concerts, members weave stories and music together as they celebrate and explain the Jewish and African-American sacred traditions, according to its website.

The band has recorded three CDs. The most recent album, “The Road That Heals the Splintered Soul,” was released in 2009. Richard Kamins wrote in a review published on the Step Tempest Blog that “the Afro-Semitic Experience continues to evolve as a unit, creating music that is truly American — the America of immigrants who fused their native customs and sounds to the dreams of freedom.”

The group’s appearances in Maine are being presented by the UMA Cultural Affairs Committee and the UMA Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Studies Program.

The free concerts are co-sponsored by congregations Beth El and Beth Israel, both of Bangor, Temple Beth El of Augusta, the Greater Bangor Area NAACP and the Jazz and Contemporary Music programs at the University of Maine Augusta.

For information, call 621-3256.

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