Harlem 100, featuring Mwenso & the Shakes, is a unique collaboration with the National Jazz History Museum in Harlem that’s currently on a 32-city tour around the country. The event is a celebration of the 100th anniversity of the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem-based jazz band, Mwenso & the Shakes, will be on stage at Hall Auditorium in Miami University Saturday, November 2nd.
I spoke with Michael Mwenso, the bandleader and lead vocalist of the band, by phone Tuesday, October 22nd. We discussed the tour, the events over the last 100 years in Harlem, Mwenso’s personal musical journey, and the components of the multi-media show. He also talked about the band.
When asked about his personal story, Mwenso said he was born in Freetown, Sierra Leone but grew up in London where he met many musicians and then Wynton Marsalis brought him to New York City to work with the Jazz at Lincoln Center group.