An interactive concert series that celebrates music and diversity with special guests that will introduce children and families to the rich global culture in New York and beyond.
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Timbalooloo is an interactive concert series led by founder and internationally-renowned clarinetist Oran Etkin that will introduce children to a new musical tradition each month with the help of a special guest. The Timbalooloo method brings instruments to life and encourages children to “talk” through music, activating your child’s imagination and encouraging their self-expression. Designed to teach your children complex musical concepts through age-appropriate games and stories, Timbalooloo makes music fun and educational.
For the first three shows of the season, Etkin and his instrument friend Clara Net will be joined by Malian Kora master Yacouba Sissoko on October 22nd, Nuyorican percussionist Bobby Sanabria on November 19th, and Brazilian accordionist and pianist Vitor Gonçalves on December 10th. Come expose your children to music in our state-of-the-art venue home, where your budding musicians are encouraged to sing, dance, and drum in the same room as world-famous performers.
Children ages 2 and up are invited to attend. For this performance, vaccines are recommended for children 4 years old and younger but are required for everyone ages 5 and up. All guests are required to wear N95, KF94, or KN95 masks for the duration of the show; child and adult masks will also be provided upon check-in. For more information about National Sawdust’s COVID-19 policies, please click here.
Dance, drum and sing along to music from West Africa in this first concert in our monthly Timbalooloo series. Clarinetist and Timbalooloo founder Oran Etkin invites Malian Kora master Yacouba Sissoko as his first special guest! The Kora is a beautiful 21-string harp from West Africa that Yacouba learned to play from his grandfather in Mali. Yacouba comes from centuries of generations of Jali (Griot) musicians and storytellers, who hold a cherished role in their community, bringing people together through music and keeping the oral history alive.
Yacouba Sissoko Bio
Master kora player Yacouba Sissoko devotes his musical gift to expand the awareness of West African history and culture, spread the word of peace, and empower his listeners to take charge and realize their imagined futures. His performances have a magical effect on audiences as he skillfully transforms traditional songs and stories that he learned from his forefathers into modern day messages of peace, love, and harmony.
His flexible virtuosity, which enables him to move seamlessly from one musical genre to another, has attracted the attention of an array of musicians who have sought him out as a collaborator.
All the while, Yacoba exposes new audiences to the enchanting sounds of the kora—a 21-stringed instrument that is plucked and produces a distinctive sound that is quickly associated with West Africa.
Yacouba steadily performs with music festivals across North America. He has performed at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington DC; the Playboy Jazz Festival in Los Angeles; the New York Family Arts Festival; the Grant Park Music Festival in Millennium Park, Chicago; the Portland Jazz Festival; the Detroit Jazz Festival; and the Monterey Jazz Festival.
Rooted to give back to the community, Yacouba regularly performs cultural programs and benefit concerts. He works in partnership with La Maison d’Art Gallery in Harlem as a collaborator inviting other world musicians to take part in the gallery’s events. He regularly performs for the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial, Educational, and Cultural Center. He also provides workshops and presentations to primary school and university students. Recognizing his educational contributions, in 2007 he was selected as a Teaching Artist by the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall and Carnegie’s Musical Explorers program.
Yacouba continues to blend his virtuosity effortlessly with other musical styles, whether in Indian ragas or Appalachian tunes. Currently, Yacouba can be seen performing regularly with Regina Carter and his own band, SIYA.
Oran Etkin Bio
Oran Etkin has been described as “Ebullient” by the New York Times, voted #1 rising star clarinetist by DownBeat Magazine Critics Poll, and is featured on numerous recordings, including a Grammy Award-winning album. French newspaper Libération chose his Paris concert as one of the top 6 musical events of the year, calling it "A concert of weightlessness, class, spark, inspiration, and sharing. Magic uninterrupted… for such is the music of Etkin: sensitive to the exchange with the audience.”
Etkin created a method called Timbalooloo, in which instruments come alive and speak through their music, inspiring children to express themselves by making their instruments come alive and speak the language of music. Etkin and the teaching artists he has trained have reached thousands of children in New York City through in-home group Timbalooloo classes and partnerships with schools and pre-schools. Timbalooloo has also partnered with Mannes Prep at The New School, Mladi Ladi Jazz in the Czech Republic, American Speech Language Hearing Association, Kennedy Center, Newport Festival, North Sea Jazz Fest, Herbie Hancock Institute, UNESCO and other organizations worldwide. Etkin's latest Timbalooloo album "Finding Friends Far From Home" was recorded on location in Zimbabwe, the Czech Republic, Turkey, and China. Whether standing in front of an orchestra or sitting cross-legged on the floor surrounded by a gaggle of children, Etkin’s work is about imagination, expression, playfulness, and emotion. It draws its strength from the conviction that the true power of music lies not just in the individual's pursuit of technical mastery but in the joyful and soulful creation of community.