The Roxbury Arts Center is gearing up for an ambitious celebration of Black History Month with a program that features music, song and dance — and an open invitation to school children in nearby communities.
At 1 p.m. on Feb. 6, the Bethany & Rufus Roots Project will be joined by master drummer Gaston “Bonga” Jean-Baptiste on the Haitian drum and kalimba as well as by modern Afro-Caribbean dancer Sheila Anozier. The event will be at the Roxbury Arts Center, located at 5025 Vega Mountain Road in Roxbury.
Arts Center director Maggie Cullen said she is expecting a big turnout for the event.
“We were able to get these great performers who go all over the world with their music, and one of their projects is to bring forth the history from slavery through the civil rights,” she said.
The “Bethany” in Bethany and Rufus is Bethany Yarrow, daughter of Peter Yarrow, one of the founding members of the legendary folk group Peter, Paul and Mary. She has a home in Schoharie County. She and cello player Rufus Cappadocia are no strangers to the arts center, having participated in a block party celebration last summer sponsored by the organization in Stamford.
“Bethany has a gorgeous voice, and she also plays the guitar,” Cullen said. “With Rufus, you could just sit there all day and listen to him play the cello.”
The cello and voice duo of Bethany and Rufus are known for “sliding seamlessly between groove, world, blues and traditional folk music,” according to promotional material for the event. “When Bethany Yarrow and Rufus Cappadocia join forces on stage they spark a fire-in-the-belly, soul-stirring experience of American roots music,” according to a Facebook posting for the event.
Cappadocia traces the roots of American music with his experience playing West African, Haitian Voudou and Arabic music.