Wadada Leo Smith's Mbira is an ensemble that works within the idiom of American creative music but also in the realms of the Mbira music of the Shona culture in Zimbabwe and even traditional Chinese music. With pipa player Min Xiao-Fen and drummer Pheeroan akLaff, Wadada Leo Smith has produced an album that is powerful and instantly captivating, ancient and contemporary at the same time. Dark Lady of the Sonnets contains five compositions by Smith, ranging from a memorial for his late mother Sarah Bell Wallace to the title-track inspired by the great Billie Holiday. Tracks: Sarah Bell Wallace, Blues: Cosmic Beauty, Zulu Waterfall Festival, Dark Lady Of The Sonnets, Mbira.
•Dark Lady of the Sonnets is released to coincide with the celebration of Wadada Leo Smith’s 70th birthday at the Roulette Theater, in Brooklyn, New York, on December 15 and 16, 2011. In connection with these two concerts,
Mbira as well as five other groups led by Smith (String Quartet Plus, the Golden Quartet, the Golden Quintet, Organic
and the Silver Orchestra) will perform.