When: Wed., Dec. 21, 6 a.m., Thu., Dec. 22, 6 a.m. and Fri., Dec. 23, 6 a.m. 2011
The appointed time of a ritual often declares its meaning, and so it is with Hamid Drake and Michael Zerang's winter solstice concerts. Every year since 1990 these two master percussionists have greeted the end of the year's longest night in a room lit only by candles. As darkness turns to dawn, they use their combined collections of bells, frame drums, tablas, djembes, and jazz kits to circumnavigate a world of rhythm. They reference and combine the ancestral beats of Mesopotamia, Africa, Asia, and the Americas, achieving a union of cultures and traditions that is as personal as it is universal. Both men are singular stylists with one-of-a-kind touches, restless imaginations, and decades of accumulated improvisational acumen, all of which guarantees that each concert is a unique event. As they play, the predawn light begins to illuminate the space, and by the time the sun shines through the windows they've united the planet (in their own way) with rhythm and tone. I've been attending these concerts for a dozen years, and I've never left one without feeling uplifted and hopeful for a better year to come. —Bill Meyer Drake and Zerang also play at the same time and place on Thu 12/22 and Fri 12/23.