THE INAUGURAL SEASON OF STANDING ROCK CULTURAL ARTS' AROUND THE WORLD MUSIC SERIES kicked off on Saturday, October 10, 2015, with an engaging family concert by master African drummer and drum builder Baba Jubal of Cleveland, who took audience members on a journey through the history of the drum from Africa through the Caribbean to the U.S. Along the way, he shared fascinating stories and folk tales, ending the program by inviting everyone in attendance to play and sing along for a delightful collaborative finale. The series, which is coordinated by SRCA Executive Director Jeff Ingram and curated by Kent State University-trained ethnomusicologist David Badagnani, will present excellent performers from around the globe — most based in Northeast Ohio or western Pennsylvania. The new, intimate theater space of SRCA’s North Water Street Gallery (300 North Water St., Suite H, across the street from the old location), which features a small stage, sound system, and sustainable bamboo floor, provides the perfect setting for such concerts, allowing for an ideal connection between performer and listener.

Following its first two successful seasons, Standing Rock Cultural Arts’ “Around the World” Music Series is gearing up for its third season of world music concerts, which bring outstanding performers from diverse cultures for six intimate evenings of music at the North Water Street Gallery, located at 300 North Water Street, Suite H in downtown Kent. All concerts are preceded by a 7:30 p.m. meet-and-greet featuring light food and drinks. A donation of $10 at the door is suggested.

Upcoming performances in the 2017 – 18 season

Concert 1
September 23, 2017

A unique Pittsburgh-based trio, Mimi Jong,  Jeff Berman, and Susan Powers explore the intersections between traditional Chinese  and American mountain music, using erhu  and zhonghu (Chinese fiddles), lap dulcimer, clawhammer banjo, and voice. Creating warm and soulful music that transcends cultural boundaries, the group’s performances are  like a meeting of old friends.

Concert 2
Baba David Coleman and Friends
October 14, 2017
One of the pioneers of African music in the U.S.,  master drummer, drum builder, and teacher Baba David Coleman lived in Kent for many years and has been a mentor to generations of students, providing training, encouragement, and wisdom. Supported by members of his Iroko Drum and Dance Society, this engaging  performer’s presentation will include songs, stories, and a demonstration of the batá, a set of three “talking drums” originating among the Yoruba people of Nigeria, whose intricate cross rhythms are used to commune with divinities known as orishas.

Concert 3
Mariachi Santa Cecilia
October 28, 2017
Named after the patron saint of musicians, Northeast Ohio’s premier mariachi band will make their Kent debut with a performance  
of traditional and modern songs of Mexico,  using trumpet, vihuela, guitarrón, accordion, and voice. The band’s performance is presented in conjunction with Standing Rock’s 15th  annual Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration, and traditional Mexican foods (including steak tacos provided by Taco Tonto’s) will be available for a nominal charge.

Concert 4
Bill Crouse

November 11, 2017
Presented in collaboration with KSU’s Native American Student Association (NASA KSU)
An enrolled member of the Seneca Nation
 of Indians and a Faithkeeper of the  Coldspring Longhouse on the Allegany  Territory near Salamanca, New York, Bill Crouse is a talented and respected singer, drummer, dancer, visual artist, and language educator who has toured extensively through North   America and Europe with his Allegany River   Dancers. Accompanying himself with a  traditional water drum, he will share songs   and stories of the Seneca, the westernmost of  the Six Nations of the Iroquois, also discussing the historical and spiritual significance and use of music in their traditional circle. His daughter Ashlyn, who is also a fine dancer, will join him for several numbers, and he will bring several  of his acrylic paintings for display.

Concert 5
Oleh Mahlay
January 13, 2018
The 60-string bandura, a zither-like instrument with a crystalline tone, has been called  
“The Soul of Ukraine.” Formerly played by  itinerant blind bards called kobzari, who  served as the conscience of their nation,  
the bandura and its tradition were nearly  extinguished over the past century due to rigorous Soviet oppression and the disruption of the Second World War. Bandura performer/vocalist Oleh Mahlay, a proud inheritor of this tradition who serves as the artistic director  and conductor of the North American-based Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus, will introduce listeners to this magical instrument and  
its compelling history.

Concert 6
Samuel Salsbury
June 23, 2018
One of only a few non-Indians to play the sarangi, a bowed instrument with 39 strings, Samuel Salsbury will present an evening of  music from the Hindustani tradition of North India, to which he has devoted intensive study over the past four years with his guru Pandit Santosh Mishra, an 8th-generation sarangi  master from Benares (Varanasi). Using an  instrument that is 125 years old, his program will comprise a full classical raga as well  
as two bhajans (devotional songs), with  tabla accompaniment.

All ages are welcome and a donation of $10 is suggested.
For more information about the Around the World Music Series, visit or

"The city of Kent, Ohio has long been known as a gathering place for musicians and music lovers.

In the 1940s, the night club and dance pavilion at Brady Lake brought in famous big bands. But it was in the 1960s, when Joe Shannon opened The Fifth Quarter, and shortly following that, The Deck and The Townhouse Lounge, that Kent became a musical hotbed. Walter’s Café, The Kove, JBs, Mother’s Junction, Water Street Saloon, The Dome and many other clubs served as a magnet, bringing people into Kent for quality local performers and national touring acts.

Kent’s entertainment scene has certainly continued to change with the times, but the city has remained a destination for music lovers of all kinds. Today many restaurants and clubs regularly feature live music. The city of Kent has been known as a destination for musicians and music fans for decades, and that rich history continues today.

Venues such JBs, Water Street Tavern, Mugs Brew Pub, Ohio Guitar Shop, Brewhouse, Zephyr Pub, and, of course, The Kent Stage, offer live music regularly. The newly opened Bar 145, part of the town’s recent renewal, is committed to presenting live music as part of its mission. Kent State University’s School of Music on campus brings in talent from all over the world." Deborah Frazier

Kent and Northeast Ohio have always been a relevant part of music history. Music festivals, live music and great venues around Kent are keeping the tradition strong.
Showcasing Kent, Ohio and the surrounding Northeastern Ohio Region.
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