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Soteri’s Afro jazz ends music fest on a high note

Photos by Tequila Minsky

Photos by Tequila Minsky

BY TEQUILA MINSKY  |  The Washington Square Music Festival, held on Tuesday evenings in July, enjoyed its 55th season this summer. The first night of four, “Baroque in the Park: The Judgment of Paris,” an opera with harpsichord, vocal soloists and chamber orchestra, was moved because of rain to St. Joseph’s Church on Sixth Ave., a fitting performance venue.

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The series ended July 30 on an exquisite balmy evening that brought music lovers from all parts of New York and even New Jersey to hear East African music by Nepo Soteri and his Asante Band.

Guitarist / singer Soteri’s music is influenced by the rhythms and sounds of Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia, where he spent his youth traveling as a refugee. His band featured two female vocalists, a brass section, keyboard and percussion.

His smooth Afro jazz resonated with a very engaged audience, who could hardly stay in their seats. Many danced on the sidelines.

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After intermission, Soteri encouraged the crowd to let loose, and many moved up into the space in front of the seats to dance. His fans and the Village’s older adults, along with children, took advantage of this opportunity to let their bodies channel the seductive rhythms and melodies of the multidimensional sounds.

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