Music Beyond Borders marks its 10th anniversary of bringing world music and dance to Morristown

Mark your calendars now and plan to spend your lunchtimes on Morristown’s Green enjoying the tenth season of Music Beyond Borders, the collaboration between Morris Arts and the Mayo Performing Arts Center which brings free performances of world music and dance to the Morristown Green during June-August.  This year’s series will showcase Zydeco music, Colombian salsa, West African music for balaphon, kora and mbira as well as Mexican mariachi music. Performances will run from 12:30-1:30pm on alternate Tuesdays, June 25, July 9, July 23 and August 6. Special thanks go to the Morristown United Methodist Church on the Green, 50 Park Place, for providing a wonderful rain site.  





This year’s schedule includes: 

June 25, 2019: The Zydeco Revelators
The Zydeco Revelators are a Jersey band, fronted by singer-accordionist Phil Passantino of Elizabeth, who told the Jersey Journal in 2015 that he fell in love with zydeco on a trip to Louisiana. “We’re go up the streets to a restaurant and see amazing Cajun bands playing and people dancing and we really felt the culture,” he said. “It was something we never experienced before … It’s fun, happy music and makes you want to get up, jump around and dance. The rhythm is infectious!” (fas quoted in

Featuring Phil Passantino (accordion/vocals), Lou Selmi (drums, vocals), Lawrence Ochs (guitar/vocals), Keith Richard Vukan (bass/vocals), as well as Karen Lerman and Sal Carollo (both on rubboard), the Zydeco Revelators deliver hot Louisiana-inspired dance music. Take a little bit of “Jambalaya,” add some stompin’ cowboy zydeco classics, and season with a dash of classic rock and jam band. Groove with sweet Cajun accordion riffs backed by electric guitar, a powerhouse rhythm section, and that cool metal rubboard vest! Get ready to dance up a storm.

Facebook:; Videos: and

Despite thunderstorms and rain in the early morning, the weather cleared and 274 folks, old and young and in between,  came out to revel in the great sounds of Louisiana’s Big Easy….The Zydeco Revelators rocked the Green with their lively, “good times” music and kept the “joint jumping”….Who could sit still with such infectiously joyous music?!

Be sure to check out extra photos and video on

And here are VIDEOS from the artists, of Sugar Bee and of their entire show 

Here are some PHOTOS from their performance:

July 9, 2019:  Armando Son Jimenez’ Grupo Sabor (Colombian Salsa) 
Since he migrated to the USA more than 25 years ago, Jorge Armando Jimenez (aka Sonjimenez or Sonji) has performed with top salsa musicians at prominent venues from NYC’s B.B. Kings to Club Tropicana in Milan, Italy. His trio, Grupo Sabor, has a hot, tropical swing which combines hard salsa, some Cuban stile, romantic salsa and cumbia. Celebrate summer with the hot Latin rhythms of this fabulous salsa trio.

The perfect sunny weather, complete with a breeze, attracted 359 people to the Morristown Green on July 9th and the Green became the site of a joyful intergenerational salsa dance party, inspired by the music of Grupo Sabor! 

Be sure to check out photos and video from the performance on

Here are some more PHOTOs from the salsa dance party on the Green:

And some additional VIDEOS: Enjoy the lively Colombian salsa by Grupo Sabor HERE . How can anyone resist dancing to this music? Dancers of all ages enjoyed moving to the music HERE and HERE.  
Even the Executive Director of the Mayo Performing Arts Center joined in the fun   and dancers of all varieties joined in the fun and moved to the beat of Grupo Sabor’s music. 


Malang Jobarteh (Kora), Famoro Dioubate (balaphone), Kevin Nathaniel Hylton (mbira)

July 23, 2019: Forestdance: Music of Africa 

The Forestdance Trio plays the music of Africa now, at once ancient and modern, spirit which moves in us all. From a world of deep musical tradition, motherland joins hands with all, in unity. With ancestral sounds ringing ever-fresh and present; healing sounds of the wind, water, heartbeat, earth, sky, and sun. Deep within us all, source. The wind whispers through the trees… Forestdance! The Trio features Famoro Dioubate on balaphon or bala (xylophone), Salieu Suso on kora (West African harp) and Kevin Nathaniel on mbira (Zimbabwean finger piano).

Some additional background about the trio:

A Yale scholar, teaching artist, mbira player and advocate of African culture, Kevin Nathaniel Hylton has performed at Lincoln Center, Juilliard, the Met Museum and Symphony Space and created multiple performing ensembles exploring the many facets of African (and world) music. His Forestdance trio features two widely renowned African musicians, Famoro Dioubate on balaphon (African xylophone) and Malang Jobarteh (nephew of Salieu  Suso) on kora (21 stringed African harp) whose musical traditions date back to the 13th century yet still intrigue and inspire listeners of today.

From Northeastern Guinea, Famoro Dioubate is the grandson of the legendary Djeli Sory Kouyate, one of the most renowned musicians in Guinea and since coming to New York City in 1999, has collaborated in educational programs at the Juilliard School and regularly performs with Keba Cissoko’s Tamalalou,  with Sekouba Kandia Kouyate (with whom he has also recorded) and even appeared on the Morristown Green with Sylvain Laroux’s Fula Flute ensemble as part of Music Beyond Borders of 2010.

Malang Jobarteh, from Gambia,  was born into a family of traditional storytellers of West Africa, known as griots in French and jeli, jail, guewel or gawlo in African languages. The jeli are the keepers of the extensive oral history of their people. Malang, a master kora player, is also the nephew of the great kora player Salieu Sosa, a descendant of the inventor of the kora.

Happily, the rainy weather abated (music can banish clouds?!) and Forestdance was able to perform outdoors to an appreciative audience of 215 who clapped, danced and joined in call and response refrains. 

Please visit for additional coverage, photos and videos from the performance on July 23rd.

Enjoy some VIDEOS from Forestdance’s performance:
Kevin Nathaniel Hylton leads audience members in dance and HERE, he explains the jeli or griot tradition of West Africa…where designated members of the community are the living repositories of the community’s entire oral history and culture. Kevin also describes and demonstrates the beaded gourd known as the shakere. 

HERE Kevin demonstrates the shakere (beaded gourd) along with instrumental music by Famoro Dioubate on the balaphone (xylophone) and Malang Jobarteh singing and playing the kora (harp) and HERE Malang demonstrates his skill on the koraHERE the trio plays one of their final pieces.

Here are some PHOTOS from the July 23rd performance :

August 6, 2019:  Mariachi Artistico (formerly known as Mariaichi Citlalli) : a taste of Mexico
This highly talented mariachi band performs a wide range of Mexican music from traditional to contemporary. Founded in 2000, the group’s members perform on trumpet, vihuela (5 string guitar-like instrument), guitarron (large guitar), and keyboard/accordion. Mariachi Citlalli has performed on national media and for such celebrities as Rosie O’Donnell, President Bush (Sr.), former Mexican President Ernesto Cedillo, Mariah Carey, and Conan O’Brien, among others. They have also performed at such venues as Madison Square Garden, Lincoln Center, the Ed Sullivan Theater, Shea Stadium, the Plaza Hotel, the Waldorf Astoria, and the United Nations.

Over 400 people enjoyed the festive, inspiring music as Mariachi Artistico concluded this year’s Music Beyond Borders season. The weather held and crowds came from far and wide (high school students studying Spanish came in from South Brunswick, seniors came in from Ridge Oak Senior Housing in Basking Ridge, folks from The Daily Plan It (Morristown) joined in the dancing along with babies to seniors from the the wider community.  The music reached us all – and created such joy and unity – as only the arts can do. It was a wonderful way to conclude our 10th anniversary season for Music Beyond Borders!!

Check out the writeup, photos and videos published by

Here are some PHOTOS from their performance:

Be sure to check out VIDEOS from the wonderful August 6, 2019 performance:

Who could resist participating in The Mexican Hat Dance ? Every age was seen dancing in line to the classic trumpet stylings of Francisco Navarette and his band’s rendition of Tequila. Young children came up with the most creative choreography and then the band concluded with its performance of La Bamba – which led to spontaneous conga lines and joyous dancing by all.  

Additional videos by Bill Lescohier for included:The Chicken Dance; La Bamba; Besame Mucho

It was a delight to see so many brown bag a meal, stop by while walking in town, take a break from work and bring friends to sample cultures from around the world while getting to know our neighbors. The world was literally at our doorstep!

“We hope that people will enjoy our wonderful free lunchtime outdoor concerts that celebrate the rich cultural diversity of the area,” said Allison Larena, President and CEO of the Mayo Performing Arts Center.  Tom Werder, Executive Director of Morris Arts, adds, “It’s exciting to collaborate with MPAC on this special series and to bring performing arts from around the world to the center of Morristown.”

The Mayo Performing Arts Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit performing arts organization, presents a wide range of programs that entertain, enrich and educate the diverse population of the region and enhance the economic vitality of Northern New Jersey. The 2018 season is made possible in part by a grant from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State. The Mayo Performing Arts Center has been designated a Major Presenting Organization by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

Now in its 46th year, Morris Arts is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building community through the arts. Using the arts to inspire, connect and engage, Morris Arts serves as a resource for Morris County with a special focus on arts programming in the community and the schools, arts advocacy, creative placemaking and support of the Morris Area community of artists and arts organizations.