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Chris Berry was born in California and began his apprenticeship with master drummer Titos Sompa while in his early teens. At 18 he went to the Congo and then to Zimbabwe, where he lived for much of the next 9 years, studying and playing mbira extensively with master players of the Shona tradition. In 2000, the Consort played at Williams College, and during intermission their ensemble of students played a set of unique large marimbas from Zimbabwe. Some months later, Paul returned to Williams to learn more about these instruments, and Chris Berry happened to be there giving a workshop on Shona music. The Consort brought Chris and these marimbas to their next solstice celebration, and Chris has since then been Paul’s partner in their long-growing project Flyways, for which he has done research and recording in a dozen countries in Africa. Paul feels a kinship with “Nhemumusassa,” as it was the opening song of their 1977 album Common Ground with the title “Ancient Voices,” in which Paul Berliner, another American who had deep experience in the Shona tradition, played mbira and sang.


from Everybody Under the Sun: Voices of Solstice (The Singers), released December 6, 2019
Chris Berry / mbira, voice
Paul Winter / soprano sax
Eugene Friesen / cello
Valerie Dee Naranjo / marimba, voice
Barry Olsen / percussion, voice
Michael Wimberly / percussion
Jamey Haddad / drums


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Paul Winter Litchfield

Paul Winter is a seven-time Grammy-winning saxophonist, whose sextet was the first jazz group to perform at the White House in 1962. His second group, the Paul Winter Consort, interweaves sounds from the natural world with classical and ethnic traditions, and the spontaneous spirit of jazz. Their annual Winter Solstice Celebrations and Earth Mass are among the most popular events in New York. ... more

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