Harlem 100: Celebrating the 100th Anniversary
of the Harlem Renaissance
featuring Mwenso and The Shakes
with special guests Brianna Thomas, Michela Marino Lerman, and Vuyo Sotashe
A century after one of the most culturally significant periods in human history, Harlem is in the midst of a resurging creative movement sparked by the centenarian embers left by the wildfire that was the Harlem Renaissance. That era has since proven to be an unrivaled period of brilliance in both intelligent expression and preeminent entertainment.
Created in collaboration with the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, Harlem 100 captures the sights and sounds of Harlem when legendary artists such as Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Langston Hughes, and Billie Holiday made Harlem the cultural center of the country.
Hosted by Wynton Marsalis-mentored bandleader and singer Michael Mwenso, the multimedia show presents the most exciting Harlem musicians and dancers in a modern variety show. It pays homage to the presentations made famous in the Apollo Theater, the Cotton Club, and other celebrated venues of the Harlem Renaissance.
“Code-switching through a broad lexicon of social music with maximum commitment, minimal irony, and an attitude of fun is the Shakes’ default mode, whether they’re playing South African protest songs, holiday classics, Tin Pan Alley, the blues, or the Mwenso-penned tunes the Shakes will release commercially in … 2019,” writes a JazzTimes reviewer. “‘It’s theatre meets opera meets James Brown meets jazz meets total improvisation,’ says Brianna Thomas, who has sung alongside Mwenso on numerous occasions.”
Emergence [The Process of Coming into Being], the debut album by Mwenso and the Shakes, is scheduled for release in August.
Featuring the music of Waller, Ellington, Holiday, Bessie Smith, and Ethel Waters, Harlem 100 celebrates one of the most influential artistic movements of our country and gives insight into Harlem then and now.