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SNL percussionist to perform with Fredonia Wind Ensemble
Thursday, April 12, 2018

SNL percussionist to perform with Fredonia Wind Ensemble

Valerie Naranjo

The Fredonia Wind Ensemble concert, featuring percussionist Valerie Naranjo, is slated for Sunday, April 29 at 4 p.m. in King Concert Hall.

The program, to be conducted by Dr. Paula Holcomb, will include a variety of chamber works including the “Susato Dances for Brass Ensemble,” the Fugue from Leonard Bernstein’s “Prelude, Fugue and Riffs;” the opening of Mozart’s Serenade in B flat major (Gran Partita), “Toward a Splendid City” by Richard Danielpour, the First Suite in E flat by Gustav Holst, “Gmeng Se Na E” for solo gyil and wind ensemble, and Fer Barre Kona Jeno “Don’t Play Favorites” by Baere Yotere/adapted and arranged by Ms. Naranjo and orchestrated by Andrew Belle.

A percussionist, vocalist, composer and clinician, Naranjo plays percussion for NBC’s Saturday Night Live Band, and has recorded and performed with the Broadway production of “The Lion King,” The Philip Glass Ensemble, David Byrne, The Paul Winter Consort, Tori Amos, Airto Moreira, and the international percussion ensemble, MEGADRUMS, which includes Milton Cardona, Zakir Hussein, and Glen Velez. She is known for her pioneering efforts in West African keyboard percussion music, and is a marimba and gyil artist named "World Music Percussionist of the Year" in 2005 and 2008 as the winner of DRUM! Magazine Reader's Poll in that category. Recent film score recordings include "Final Fantasy - The Dream Within" and "Frida."

Her solo Native American CD "Orenda" is on the Ellipsis Arts Label, and her series of 16 written transcriptions and CDs, "West African Music for the Marimba Soloist," "Traditional World Music for Western Percussion Ensemble" and "Lewaa's Dream (Ancient and Contemporary Music for West African Marimba)" were performed/published with Mandara Music, which she co-leads with Barry Olsen. She has recorded several CDs of traditional gyil music with Kakraba Lobi and Mr. Olsen, and the CD, “Zie Mwea,” with Olsen and Fredonia alumna Bernard Woma.

Naranjo’s visit is part of a major recording/video project for Dr. Holcomb and the Fredonia Wind Ensemble which has received funding by the Sorel Medallion in Recording Grant, Sigma Alpha Iota Impact Project Grant and the Carnahan Jackson Humanities Fund of the Fredonia College Foundation. The project features international renowned female composers and artists to provide a diversified voice for the wind ensemble genre. It is one of four major performances of international artists with the Fredonia Wind Ensemble supported by the grants for the purpose of supporting female musicians.

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