'Music in the Garden' Series, Sculpture Exhibit Sprout at Houston Botanic Garden

'Music in the Garden' Series, Sculpture Exhibit Sprout at Houston Botanic Garden

The grounds of Houston Botanic Garden; Seyba Diouf

GOODBYE CRISP AIR, hello humidity. Before things get really unbearable weather-wise in Houston, we can enjoy at least a few weeks of warmer, sunnier weather — perfect for outdoor gatherings and concerts.

On Sunday, May 5, Houston Botanic Garden continues its Music in the Garden Concert Series with Ndadie Begue, a celebration of West African culture with Houston-based, Senegalese singer and multi-instrumentalist Seyba Diouf. If you haven’t made it out to the sprawling gardens, located near the UH campus and featuring tons of walking trails and year-round exhibits, now’s a great time to check it out.

Loosely translated “fun meeting” from the Wolof language, Ndadie Begue will feature Diouf in performance with other musicians from Senegal, complementing the Garden’s current ZimSculpt exhibition of hundreds of hand-carved stone sculptures by Zimbabwean artists.

Diouf has toured internationally as a singer and instrumentalist; in addition to guitar and harmonica, he plays African percussion, including djembe, talking drum, and sabar, and xalam or ngoni — which can be described as a traditional West African lute.

Here in Houston, Diouf has made it his mission to represent the culture and beauty of Senegal. He has worked with students at both Houston Community College and Houston’s Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, where he has taught talking drum workshops and accompanied West African Dance classes taught in both the dance and theatre departments. He was also integral in the restaging of the musical Fela(inspired by the life of Nigerian musician and political activist Fela Kuti) at HSPVA in February 2019, by working with the students on the Afro Beat and polyrhythmic percussive style.

The ZimSculpt exhibition, which runs through June 2, features works by Zimbabwean sculptors practicing the Shona sculpture tradition — named for the nation’s largest tribe. Since the 1960s, artists from various tribes in Zimbabwe and beyond, have transformed locally sourced serpentine stone into smooth, highly polished contemporary works of art. Visitors to ZimSculpt can observe sculptors creating these works in real time, using handheld tools including chisels, hammers, and files. There’s also an on-site, one-of-a-kind marketplace of fine African art — don’t forget, Mother’s Day is coming up fast!

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