Mwenso and the Shakes


Mwenso and the Shakes are a unique troupe of global artists who channel jazz, funk, blues, and African music into “intense, prowling, ebullient” live performances (New York Times). Their music offers “an explosion of ideas and sounds” radiating an “infectious joy” (NPR). Led by vocalist Michael Mwenso, they hail from Sierra Leone, South Africa, Madagascar, London, France, Jamaica, and Hawaii, and are now based in Harlem.


Over the course of three evenings, Michael Mwenso and his multicultural crew of musicians and dancers will workshop and present a new music-theater piece exploring forms of spirituality and celebrating strength and resilience, inspired by their travels around the United States.


“We’re trying to fulfill the spirit of Louis Armstrong and those people, we want to protect what they held up, and guard it and bow and give reverence to them — but also to be free within ourselves.” (JazzTimes)