Jeremy Danneman and Sophie Nzayisenga

Afro Folk Jazz • Running Time: 60 mins
Performed by Jeremy Danneman and Sophie Nzayisenga | Special guest Lungiswa Plaatjies
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Jeremy Danneman is a New York based, saxophonist/clarinetist/composer. Sophie Nzayisenga, from Rwanda, is a vocalist and the only professional female inanga player in the world. They first met in 2009 when Danneman was giving street performances in Rwanda to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Genocide against the Tutsi people. In 2017, Danneman and Nzayisenga released their first album together, Honey Wine, to critical acclaim. The evening will feature special guest star Lungiswa Plaatjies.

In 2009 Jeremy decided to have a parade instead of a party for his birthday. He took his saxophone and marched all over New York City for 11 hours, and discovered that he really loved street performance, because the artist can reach audiences across social lines. At this time Rwanda was commemorating the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi people, a topic that Jeremy had been interested in because his grandmother was a Holocaust survivor. Jeremy decided to go give street performances in Rwanda to commemorate the genocide there and to include people from other backgrounds in the way he thinks about the Holocaust. While in Rwanda, Jeremy met Sophie Nzayisenga, a vocalist and master of a rare string instrument called inanga. Sophie is the only professional female inanga player in the world. Years later, in 2015, Jeremy and Sophie were joined in the studio by bassist William Parker and percussionist Tim Keiper, as they recorded their first collaborative album, Honey Wine. Honey Wine was released in 2017 and has been highly regarded by the press. 

Jeremy Danneman has three albums with on Ropeadope Records and has performed at fine New York City venues such as the Blue Note, Roulette, the Stone, Theater for the New City, the United Nations Church Center, Zebulon, and Nublu. He has performed internationally in Tokyo, Berlin, Rwanda, Zanzibar, Dominican Republic, Cambodia, and Vietnam. He has contributed to recordings by the Mysterium Electric Soundpainting Septet, the New York Soundpainting Orchestra, El Pueblo, Ulysses, Love Camp Seven and more. Notable musical collaborators include William Parker, Tim Keiper, Anders Nilsson, Sophie Nzayisenga, Arn Chorn-Pond, Brad Farberman and many others. He has recently shared the stage with Mike Clark, the drummer from Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters and the indie-rock sensation 75 Dollar Bill.

Danneman has also composed and produced music for multiple films, including Rwanda 15 directed by Kivu Ruhorahoza, which documents Danneman’s street performances in 2009 in Rwanda and has screened on three continents, including its world premier at the 2010 Zanzibar International Film Fest and then in New York at the 2011 Vision Fest. As an educator, Danneman has given guest lectures for the Ramaz High School (Manhattan), The Royal University of Fine Arts (Cambodia), the faculty of Baltimore County Community College, and more. He is currently a teaching artist for Midori and Friends. Danneman holds a BA in British and American Literature from New York University. 

Sophie Nzayisenga is a vocalist and the only female professional Inanga player in Rwanda and probably the whole world. The inanga is a large tough-zither instrument with between 8 and 16 strings. Her father, Thomas Kirusu, was one of the most renowned Inanga players in Rwanda. At age 6, she was presented and awarded by the French Cultural Center. She's been writing songs for around twenty years. She combines the traditional Art form passed down from her Father (a great player in his own right) with her own contemporary melodies and poetry. She has performed at festivals across the globe. 

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