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African Diaspora Series: Cooper-Moore, Sha-Raw, Dr. Thomas Stanley

With support from the Takoma Foundation, Rhizome presents the African Diaspora Music Series, with concerts every Sunday afternoon in May.

Doors open at 4. Program begins at 430.

Rhizome is located at 6950 Maple St NW DC, two blocks from the Takoma metro station (red line).

Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Kids free.

Cooper-Moore is a composer-improviser, instrumentalist, designer and builder of musical instruments, and music educator, living and working in New York City. A native of the Piedmont area of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, Cooper-Moore began studying piano at age eight. Four years later, he was listening to the musics of Thelonius Monk, Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman, and working on improvisation. He earned a B.A. in Music Education from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. and later studied composition-arranging at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. Moving to New York in 1973, Cooper-Moore leased the five-floor 501 Canal Street building and transformed it into an artist live-in/work space, making possible numerous experimentations between performing and visual artists.

While his attention was focused on piano performance in New York clubs and touring abroad, Cooper-Moore began designing and building musical instruments and played them in collaboration with all kinds of artist at lofts, galleries, artist spaces, museums, and in the streets of New York City.

He has over the years built an extensive instrument collection, using such material as paper, bamboo, metal, wood, and acrylic. He most often performs with his ashimba (a type of xylophone), bass diddly-bow, horizontal hoe-handle harp, three stringed fretless banjo, and electric mouth bow. His instruments have been exhibited at the Thread Waxing Gallery, NYC, and The Goddard Riverside Community Center, NYC.

His performance, A MINDSET, resulting from a Diverse Forums Grant, was presented by Dance Theater Workshop in 1992. This was a work comparing the criminal justice and the social welfare systems in America.

Other noted projects include his collaboration with ecologist and coordinator of the first Earth Day, Sam Love, on their work, Visions of Tomorrow. This show toured one hundred college campuses in 44 states. There was the year long exploration with book and paper artist Susan Share on her Unfolded Worlds, his work with Moving Spirits Dance Theater, and his present collaboration in the experimental improvisational instrumental trio, Triptych Myth.

His teaching and workshop experiences include seven years as a music therapist at the Harlem Interfaith Counseling Service in NYC, and five years at the Wolf Trap Foundation in Virginia where he developed methods for using music to teach subjects in Headstart classrooms. His innovative approaches were recognized by National Headstart which hired him to help reproduce his work across America.

Cooper-Moore has a teaching association with The New School for Social Research, Jazz Department.

Shara Lunon aka Sha-Raw the panther paw, aka RaRa bird no.3, has dedicated herself to the art of voice. She studied Ethnomusicology and Vocal Performance at the University of Florida under Dr. Elizabeth Graham, focusing on the operatic technique and attended master classes with revered vocalists as Kiri Te Kanawa and Denyce Graves. Shara also attended the University of São Paulo, where she studied voice with Francisco Campos Neto, Ricardo Ballestero and researched Brazilian modernism with Ivan Villela to complete her thesis. Shara furthered her education at Manhattan School of Music’s SVA program under the instruction of Maitland Peters and participated in master classes with Hilda Harris, Mignon Dunn, Rhoda Levine, and Joan Caplan.

During and since, Shara has experimented in the vocal stylings of electronic/dance, hip-hop, and R&B in such groups as MSNRA, Jovian Junction Orchestra, and Wizard Women. In addition, she has opened for such artists as Nicole Miglis from Hundred Waters, M1 from Dead Prez and performed with renowned musicians Marcio do Bahia and Celso Machado. Shara has also been active with the Church of Holy Colors and Milagros art collectives, and aided in the formation of the Elestial Sound and Orbital Mechanix record labels. Recently relocated to the big apple, she hopes to further her work in codifying her style of "hip-hopera".

Dr. Thomas Stanley (a/k/a Bushmeat Sound) is an author, artist, scholar, and activist deeply committed to audio culture in the service of personal growth and social change. He teaches sound art, sound studies, consciousness, and cultural theory at George Mason University. He received his doctoral degree in music for research on Butch Morris' unique compositional system. He is a founding member of Transparent Productions through which he has helped to present 100s of creative improvised concerts since 1997. In 2004, he launched MIND OVER MATTER MUSIC OVER MIND (MOM²) as an electrophonic improvising ensemble and has since considered his artistic contributions as macrotemporal interventions (rends in the fabric of history). He is the co-author of an oral history of George Clinton and P-Funk (1998, Avon paperback) and in 2014 released a new book on the teachings of astro-kemetic jazz iconoclast Sun Ra. He is the host of Bushmeat's Jam Session, a weekly excursion into sonic impossibility heard every Thursday on WPFW-FM.

He will discuss his book The Execution of Sun Ra, which analyzes and theorizes the life and music of Sun Ra.

"One thing I learned from Sun Ra is that you take him lightly at your own peril. He spoke of serious things, and needs to be taken seriously. The time is right for a new book on Ra, and Thomas Stanley's is the right book. You can never be certain with Sun Ra, but I'm betting he'd have loved it." -John Szwed, author of Space is the Place: The Lives and Times of Sun Ra

"Sun Ra has an intrinsic instinct of music as language...there is a sense of language being transmitted as code - and this also translates from a trans-African type of construct to something that could be construed as signals being sent in outer space...he turns everything upside down in a gnostic type of way, and his synthesis is one of the few and unique blends of jazz and mysticism." Matthew Shipp, pianist, composer, bandleader





Dr. Thomas Stanley

Dr. Thomas Stanley