Present Music brings the warmth of Africa to Milwaukee’s winter

For Immediate Release – January 5, 2010 – Milwaukee – On Saturday, February 6 at 7:30 Present Music begins 2010 with a performance that brings the warmth of Africa to Milwaukee’s winter. The Present Music Ensemble will be joined by guests Lukas Ligeti, Burkina Electric and Caroline Mallonée. The concert will take place at the Historic Turner Hall Ballroom, 1032 North 4th Street.

Burkina Electric is the first ever electronica band to come out of Burkina Faso, West Africa. The international supergroup includes the gripping, charismatic vocals of Maï Lingani, the soulful guitar hooks of Wende K. Blass, German electronicist/producer Pyrolator, and percussion from one of the most important composer/performers of our time, Lukas Ligeti. Together they bring the ancient rhythms of West Africa to contemporary pop and dance music. The New York Times calls the result “an irresistible brew”. The group will also bring dancers whose choreography melds the traditional with the modern, and are fresh off a recent collaboration with superstar choreographer Carol Armitage at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music). Burkina Electric will perform the entire second half of the program.

Lukas Ligeti is the son of one of the most important post-war composers, Gyorgi Ligeti. But as The Guardian of London says “(Ligeti) has managed a pretty astonishing personal and musical feat in his creative life: he’s able to acknowledge his father’s influence and at the same time, sidestep it and even transcend it.” The Present Music Ensemble will perform his string quartet “Moving Houses”, a Kronos Quartet commission. Ligeti will also take to the stage to perform his own semi-improvised compositions on the marimba lumina, an instrument that is part percussion, part MIDI-controller, and part musical theater.

Caroline Mallonée’s composition for beer bottles wowed the Present Music audience at the start of the 2008-2009 season. In a recent article, Chamber Music America noted that “Despite all the temptations to become another award-winning hotshot composer of macho virtuoso vehicles, it sounds like she’s headed toward something braver—and more thoughtful.” The Present Music Ensemble will be performing the world premiere of her new work “Reaction”.

Turner Hall is the perfect venue for this performance with its bar and dance floor. As Artistic Director Kevin Stalheim states “I don’t want this concert to be only based on the quiet listening experience, I want this concert to get people up out of their seats and dancing.”

Ticket prices for the event start at only $10. Student tickets are half price. Group discounts are also available. Radio Milwaukee’s Adam Carr will moderate a meet the composer pre-concert talk at 6:45.

For tickets and information visit,, or call Present Music 414-271-0711 or the Pabst Theater Box Office at 414-286-3205.