By Leslie Cunningham
While TRIBES has come to regard the North Carolina Museum of Art as one of our favorite destinations for arts in the Triangle, this was our first visit to the museum for a concert in the amphitheatre. The natural slope into the valley that rings around a duck pond, is the perfect hillside upon which to seat rows upon rows of blankets and picnic baskets, broad masonry stadium seats for sitting, dancing, and lawn chairs, and two hundred Triangle residents ready for an evening of Havana in Dakar.
On June 10th, the Arts in the Museum Park summer series at the NCMA welcomed AfroCubism to Raleigh for one in a very limited series of U.S. engagements and this world-renowned descendant of the Buena Vista Social Club got the Triangle dancing. Their mestizo of Latin rhythms and African harmonies and progressions, conga and trumpets, timbale and Kora set something to brew in the summer night that lifted everyone in the audience to celebrate; the perfect weather (that graces us almost continually here in the Piedmont), the perfect venue for a summer evening out with friends, the perfect community to gather here and welcome world music superstars to our corner of the South, and the perfect music by which to celebrate life and the gift of the arts.
Diplomacy and cultural exchange in action, AfroCubism and the dedicated musicians that make up the crew, led us all to reach out across the borders of difference that can isolate racial, ethnic, and cultural groups in our budding New South metropolis, and interact in the universal languages of music and movement. The North Carolina Museum of Art continues to break ground in the Triangle on this mission. Check out the Arts in the Museum Park: 2012 Summer Concert and Movie Series for upcoming events including Andrew Bird with Special Guest Mavis Staples (July 10), Shen Wei Dance Arts (July 18-19), and Mary Chapin Carpenter (August 25) among other great concerts and movie/music combos. Visit NCARTSMUSEUM.ORG .