Music Beyond Borders

Initiated in spring of 2010, this series of free outdoor world music concerts, reflects a collaboration between Morris Arts and Mayo Performing Arts Center, with the rainsite graciously provided by Morristown United Methodist Church (50 Park Place on the Green).

Each Music Beyond Borders program features a performance of world music/dance reflecting the diverse culture and population of the area.

“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 the Mayo Center on this special series and to literally bring the world to the center of Morristown.”






Music Beyond Borders 2019 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 Allison Larena, 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.

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), Malang Jobarteh 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 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 kora. HERE 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  Mariachi 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 Artistico 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; and  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.

Music Beyond Borders  2018 brings the Caribbean, Bali, South America and Gypsy/Balkan cultures to the Green, 12:30-1:30pm
Posted on May 25, 2018

You don’t have to wait in an airport, pack suitcases or endure a long flight to enjoy music and dance from around the world. It is all coming to the Morristown Green! Initiated in 2010, this series of free outdoor lunchtime world music/dance performances reflects an ongoing collaboration between Morris Arts and Mayo Performing Arts Center (with the rainsite graciously provided by Morristown United Methodist Church – 50 Park Place on the Green). Now in its ninth season, Music Beyond Borders not only reflects the diversity of our community but also taps into the cultural riches from multiple continents.
All performances are from 12:30-1:30pm. This year’s offerings include the following:

June 26, 2018: Random Test Reggae: Caribbean reggae
Drawing members from throughout the Caribbean, the band has been rocking the NJ Shore with authentic reggae and calypso for more than a decade. Paying tribute to pioneers in reggae and soca music, Random Test graced stages at The State Theatre (New Brunswick), the Patriot Theatre (at the Trenton War Memorial), the Stone Pony, First Night Morris and beyond. So, channel Bob Marley and get ready to dance in the Green to the lilting, joyous music of this fab Caribbean band. Website:; Video:

The weather was perfect – mid seventies, no humidity and a light breeze – with sunshine filtering through the grand trees of the Morristown Green. So, of course, the excitement was palpable among the nearly 400 members of the public who could not help but dance along to the infectiously joyful music provided by Random Test band members Danny Love (lead vocals), Bill Henry (keyboards), Keith Banger (drums) and founder/bassist Alan McIntyre. What better way to launch this year’s Music Beyond Borders series?!

Be sure to check out the coverage on

Here are some PHOTOS from the performance:

And enjoy some VIDEOS .
See some of the youngest dancers HERE and HERE along with an elegant 92 year old (in pink) also stepping out HERE. A couple just walking through the Green but then stopped to dance and others just moved to move! HERE the band performs Love, Sweet Love.


Balinese dance with BALAM Dance Theater

July 10, 2018: BALAM Dance Theatre: Balinese dance
Enjoy the elegant and exotic dances (and costumes) from Indonesia’s island of Bali with NYC-based BALAM Dance Theatre, an electrifying dance troupe critically acclaimed in the NY Times and Village Voice and featured in performances at Lincoln Center, DUMBO Dance Festival, Jacob’s Pillow and  multiple First Nights .  Embodying a fusion of contemporary dance with diverse cultural styles and movement, BALAM’s repertoire presents an opulent dance theatre integrating traditional, historic and contemporary choreography with striking masks, music, imaginative props and vibrant costumes to create a performance that appeals to (and engages) audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

BALAM’s performance at Music Beyond Borders will present its unique rendition of the Ramayana: Abduction of Sita, the legendary Asian/Indonesian epic depicting the battle between good vs. evil portrayed through archetypal characters. Spoiler alert: Good triumphs and restores the balance of order between cosmic forces of creation and destruction. 

“This new rendition of BALAM Dance Theatre’s signature work of the story ballet inspired by the Hindu epic, Ramayana: Abduction of Sita, reveals with greater clarity one of its deeper themes, a call for unity and peace.  Presenting work that express a message of inclusion and forgiveness is particularly poignant,” said Carlos Fittante, Artistic Director, BALAM Dance Theatre.


Despite brutally hot weather, the highly professional and exquisite dancers of BALAM Dance Theatre enraptured an audience of 261 who sat spellbound by BALAM’s unique performance of the  great Hindu epic, Ramayana, the Abduction of Sita.  Artistic Director and lead dancer, Carlos Fittante provided  background of the epic story, which depicts the battle between Good and Evil…and also shed light on the intricate gestures and movements unique to Balinese dance. An added  bonus was the opportunity to see the richly elegant, colorful and intricately detailed costumes  (and headdresses)  and to hear the unique sounds of Indonesian gamelan music which accompanied the performance. 

BALAM’s program, Balinese Dance and Myth, included the following pieces:
Legong Kraton, Condong, a traditional Balinese dance
Ramayana: Abduction of Sita, a fusion
a Dance Lesson for the audience. 

Check out VIDEO and  here are PHOTOS of the performance posted  HERE on by photographer Bill Lescohier and editor Kevin Coughlin. Here are some of those photos:


July 24, 2018: Eco Del Sur: Ancient and Contemporary South American Music
Eco Del Sur (“Echoes of the South”) shares the vibrant rhythms and memorable melodies of both ancient and contemporary music from multiple Latin American regions. Reflecting Pre-Columbian and Spanish cultures (the huayňo, sanjuanito, carnaval, chacarera, joropo, zamba, and cueca) as well as a blend of African with Pacific  and Atlantic Coasts and the Caribbean (the cumbia, porros, guajira, lando, festejo, etc.), Eco De Sur showcases indigenous and modern instruments and has performed at numerous folk festivals, universities and multicultural events throughout the United States.

Website: http://www.ecodelsur.nethttpindex.html

Well, it was bound to happen once in 10 years and today was the day when the uncertain, mercurial weather made us move inside. Our thanks to the Morristown United Methodist Church for being such a wonderful rainsite…spacious, with excellent acoustics and comfy, air conditioned quarters for the audience and the band.  Despite the gloomy forecast and torrential on and off rains, 98 hardy souls brought their enthusiastic appreciation to the concert. Eco Del Sur featured a wide music from Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru,  and other South American countries – coupled with a fascinating array of instruments….including goats’ hoof rattles and a flute made from a llama bone! Bandleader Jorge Gomez offered fascinating histories and explanations of the music and instruments during the program.

Be sure to check out the article, photos and videos captured  HERE by’s Bill Lescohier and click HERE to see the livestream video on the Mayo Performing Arts Center’s  Facebook page.

and some VIDEOS from their performance:

Click HERE to hear the bamboo flute (quena) duet  played by Jorge Gomez and Fabricio Hernandez here…along with singing, charanga (small guitar) music … and click HERE to sample this lovely panflute (zamponas) piece…with bonbon (drum), charanga and guitar. 

Here the  famous Cuban classic,  Guantanamera, as Fabricio Hernandez plays the guiro  and  click HERE  to here Fabricio play a beautiful solo on the charanga…with cajon (box percussion) and other accompaniment. 


August 7, 2018Tavche Gravche: Gypsy/neo-Balkan Trio
Thrill to the fiery and fascinating blend of Balkan-Gypsy-Flamenco-Jazz fusion featuring traditional Balkan and Eastern European music – from this award-winning NYC-based ensemble. Merging haunting Macedonian and Mediterranean melodies with dynamic improvisational elements, the trio maintains the explosive dance-able rhythms and energy of Balkan music. 

Macedonian-born and Juilliard graduate clarinetist Vasko Dukovski is a concert performer dedicated to breathing new life into the music of his roots. Steeped in both jazz and flamenco, Israeli-born guitarist Dan Nadel provides the fiery textural and harmonic palette for the band’s music. Jazz bassist Daniel Ori, also from Israel, is the trio’s founder, and his prominent sound is its foundation. Together, the trio pushes the boundaries of this unique blend of cultures, rhythms and colors to become an all-encompassing adventure for listeners.

This trio of virtuosi  has performed at The City Winery, Caramoor, on the main stage of NYC’s fabled Balkan “Golden Festival,” Zlatne Uste and its first CD won distinction as the “best world music album of 2014.”

 youtube: and


Sheltered by the majestic trees on the Green and entranced by the wonderful music of Tavche Gravche, the 240 or so music lovers who flocked to the Green, paid little mind to the humid, hot weather.  Traditional and intriguing Macedonian melodies, unusual harmonic twists, original works, ornamented and intricate melodic lines and some unique percussive techniques on clarinet kept the audience riveted on this talented trio whose performance concluded this year’s Music Beyond Borders series.

Visit for PHOTOS and VIDEOS of their performance and  click HERE, to see the live streaming of the  entire performance on the Mayo Performing Arts Center’s Facebook page.

Video: ;

Here are some PHOTOS from the performance:

So, travel the world on your lunch hour – no plane ticket needed!



Music Beyond Borders 2017 travels from Ireland to China 

Mark your calendars now and plan to spend your lunchtimes on Morristown’s Green enjoying world music showcasing Irish, Native American, West African and Chinese cultures. For the eighth consecutive year, Morris Arts and the Mayo Performing Arts Center continue their collaboration, presenting four free, outdoor, world music/dance programs during June, July and August 2017. All concerts will run from 12:30-1:30pm on The Morristown Green, starting June 27thh and continuing on alternate Tuesdays until August 8th. 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 27, 2017: Brian Conway, Irish Fiddle, with guitarist John Walsh

– “Certainly one of the finest Irish-American musician fiddlers…” Dirty Linen Magazine; – Irish Echo’s “Top Trad Artist for 2008”

New York-born fiddler Brian Conway is a leading exponent of the highly ornamented Sligo fiddling style made famous by the late Michael Coleman. The winner of two All-Ireland junior titles in 1973 and 1974 and the All-Ireland senior championship of 1986, Brian’s early studies were with his father Jim of Plumbridge County Tyrone and with Limerick-born fiddler/teacher Martin Mulvihill. However, it was the legendary fiddler and composer Martin Wynne who taught him the real secrets of the County Sligo style. Later, Brian met and befriended the great Andy McGann of New York a direct student of Michael Coleman, who further shaped his precision and skill on the instrument. Since 1979, he has recorded 5 CDs (including on the prestigious Smithsonian-Folkways label and the prominent Irish Label, Cló Iar-Chonnachta ), collaborating with top Irish musicians and as a soloist. A leading figure in the New York area Irish music scene, he also worked as an assistant district attorney but now, in recent retirement, devotes his full energies to the Irish fiddle and its rich tradition. The distinctness of his tone, the lift of his playing, and the deft ornamentation he brings to the tunes have placed him among the finest Irish fiddlers of any style, Sligo or otherwise. He has performed all over North America, Ireland, and Europe. He is also a noted instructor who has mentored many fine fiddle players, including several who have gone on to win All-Ireland Championships. Brian hosts regular sessions in White Plains, New York, and actively encourages countless musicians in the art of Irish music and fiddle playing.

Brian is accompanied by John Walsh, Irish-American guitarist, singer, and producer who has travelled across Europe and the US performing and teaching guitar with Paddy Keenan, Pat Kilbride, Jameson’s Revenge, Brian Conway, among others. Walsh recorded many well-received albums and educational videos. (He also treats people with Healing Tibetan Singing).

Approximately 500 people, including 80 children, enjoyed the artistry and delightful Irish tunes of these two wonderful musicians. covered the event – and you can check out the article, photos and video HERE.  
And here are some of the photos from the performance:

The Redhawk Native American Arts Council is a not for profit organization founded and maintained by Native American artists and educators based in NYC since 1994. Dedicated to educating the general public about Native American heritage through song, dance, theatre, works of art and other cultural expressions, the Redhawk Council draws its artists from indigenous peoples of North, South, and Central America, the Caribbean and Polynesia, sharing both historical and contemporary aspects of Native cultures. Producing four of the largest Native American heritage celebrations in the Northeast, the Troupe has performed for the President of the United States, at Woodstock, the Apollo Theatre, and Dance Theater of Harlem and appeared on such TV shows as Good Day New York and Regis & Kathy Lee, among others.; Video: and
Over 325 people, including over 50 children,  attended the performance by the Redhawk Native American Arts Council dancers, Cliff Matias (in turquoise), Raven Matias (in purple) and Valerie Rivera (in the jingle dress)…
Check out the wonderful writeup and videos provided HERE  by
Here are some photos from the performance:

And here are some VIDEOS from their performance: 

Raven Mattias performs a Mohawk Warrior Dance  while members of the public join Redhawk Dancers in the Buffalo Dance.

Valerie Rivera performs the Jingle Dress Dance and Cliff Mattias demonstrates a love song on a Native American flute.

Members of the audience join Redhawk in the Alligator Dance and Cliff Mattias demonstrates the complex, intricate moves of the fabled Hoop Dance.

July 25, 2017: Féraba: West African dance, drumming and tap dancing has a terrific feature article on Feraba and Music Beyond Borders HERE. and check out the post performance coverage – with photos and videos –  by HERE.


Explore the universal language of rhythm with this unique, award-winning multi-ethnic group. Féraba fuses traditional sounds and movements of West Africa with American tap dance, hip-hop and jazz, performing on international radio/TV, at Lincoln Center, Town Hall and throughout USA, Europe and West Africa.

Its artistic director, prominent tap dancer, Irene Koloseus  has performed throughout the US, West Africa and Europe, appearing with such world-renowned tap dancers as Dr. James “Buster” Brown and Savion Glover, among others. She is also a teaching artist leading award-winning workshops and residencies throughout the tristate area. Colleagues Ibrahima Kolipe Camar (a Master Drummer from Guinea, West Africa), Andy Algira (drummer, percussionist, balafonist and pianist with jazz and African music expertise), and Yalani Bangoura (Master dancer, performer, choreographer, acrobat and hip hop artist from Guinea, West Africa) join others in highlighting the unique ability of rhythm as a means of  promoting tolerance and cultural understanding.

Fabled dancer Gregory Hines states, “I am so impressed. I have never seen anything like this!”www.feraba.comVideo:

Over 385 people enjoyed the fascinating rhythms and high energy dancing of Feraba. Even the weather cooperated…no rain despite the clouds. Adults and children joined in the fun and learned some new steps along the way!

Here are some  PHOTOS from Feraba’s performance:

August 8, 2017: Music From China Trio

Embracing both traditional and new music, members of the NYC-based Music From China have performed with major symphony orchestras, chamber groups and such jazz greats as Ornette Coleman. This performance spotlights music for the erhu ( 2-string fiddle), yanqin (hammered dulcimer) and zheng (plucked zither with movable bridges). 

Hailed by the NY Times and Washington Post as a “master of the erhu,” praised for his “extraordinary” and “gorgeous” playing, Wang Guowei performs on the erhu, the 2 stringed spike fiddle (With snake skin resonator). He performs along with yangqin (hammered dulcimer with bamboo mallets) artist Susan Cheng, founder of Music From China, and zheng (21 string zither with movable bridges) virtuoso, Wang Junling, in an exciting and hauntingly lovely program featuring classical and folk arrangements that evoke scenes of nature, Chinese culture and the lifestyle of the Chinese people.

The group has performed at such institutions as Princeton, Duke, Yale, Vassar, Dartmouth, the Peabody Conservatory, Eastman School of Music, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Smithsonian Folklife Festival, and the Library of Congress, among others. As a proponent of new music, Music From China also commissions and performs works that extend Chinese music and instruments beyond traditional boundaries, innovatively mixing Chinese and Western instruments and forming a unique repertoire. Since its founding in 1986, Music From China has performed over 130 new works by 79 composers, of which 43 are commissioned and 43 competition prize winners. Music From China is also the first Chinese ensemble to receive an “Adventurous Programming” award from Chamber Music America and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) for creative programs that combine the music of East and West.

For the August 8th performance, the crowd was large and enthusiastic, bringing 428 people to the Green and spanning every age and ethnicity. 

Check HERE  and HERE for before and after performance coverage – with photos and videos by

Here are some PHOTOS from the performance:

And here are some VIDEOS  from their performance:

Click HERE and HERE to  hear and see Wang Junling performing the 1960 piece entitled Typhoon, a virtuoso solo for zheng (plucked zither).

HERE the trio performs Birds the Forest, uncannily mimicking the sounds of birds on the erhu (2 stringed Chinese fiddle played by Wang Guowei) and HERE they perform the traditional melody, Jasmine, utilized by Puccini in his opera, Turandot.  

Wang Guowei, master of the erhu, performs a solo HERE while Wang Junling demonstrates her skills on the zheng in this celebratory solo piece. 

Clearly influenced by the horse-centered culture of Mongolia, this piece is very pictorial in its depiction of  a Mongolian Horse Race (listen for the horses’ neighing mimicked by the erhu). 






From Polka to Tahitian Dance at Music Beyond Borders 2016

You don’t have to buy a plane ticket to enjoy music and dance from around the world…it’s all coming to the Morristown Green this summer and it’s all free!


Now in its seventh season, Music Beyond Borders continues to tap into the cultural riches from multiple continents and, this year, will present the following:


June 28, 2016: Smitty’s Polka Band Trio, now the Ziggy Zaggy Band

Pending thunderstorms did not deter 241 intrepid souls (among them many families with young children) who came to the Morristown Green to enjoy  and dance to the exciting music of Smitty’s Polka Band’s successor, the Ziggy Zaggy Band. Although Smitty has very recently retired, younger performers from his band (including Papa Bavarian) have taken up the mantle and expanded the repertoire to include such treats as the Beatles’ “She Loves Me” (in German), and other rock and pop favorites.

Check out the photos and video of the performance HERE on

PHOTOS from June 28th, 2016 performance on the Green:


Click HERE for a glimpse of the polka classic, Roll Out the Barrel and HERE  to see parents and children trying out their polka skills.

Who could resist The Chicken Dance or hearing the Beatles’ She Loves Me  sung in German?!

Click HERE to see all the kids dancing and HERE to catch a little of the band’s rendition of the favorite, Edelweiss (from The Sound of Music).

A little background on the original band:
Smitty’s Polka Band was founded around 1967 in Elgin, Illinois, and relaunched in NYC in 2014 with the mission of making the best Oktoberfest Beer Music here in the States. Since the relaunch, Smitty’s Polka Band has entertained countless party goers and has been featured multiple times on the Circle Line Bear Mountain Cruise as well as at the headquarters of Unilever and financial giant Mastercard.  Smitty’s was also the featured entertainment at the Mercedes Benz USA company Oktoberfest in 2013.  In addition to drums and brass, the trio includes a VH1 “featured artist,” namely the accordionist/lead singer, widely known as Papa Bavarian. Consistently ranked as the most booked accordion player in the United States, Papa Bavarian has performed at Derek Jeter’s Retirement Party, hosted by the Ronald McDonald House, among other noteworthy events. Be sure to come with your dancing shoes and be ready to polka around the Green!

July 12, 2016: Indian Ragas and Rhythms, with Shivalik Ghoshal on Tabla and Vocalist/Harmonium player Andrew Shantz

The weather was glorious – sunny and low humidity – and the crowds swelled to 346 to enjoy the intricate, meditative singing and tabla/harmonium accompaniment by this talented duo. Their concentration was intense – despite the noisy building construction and five ambulances whose blaring sirens intruded on the serenity of the Green. All that said, the audience was most enthusiastic and appreciative.

Chick HERE to see the video and photo coverage on

PHOTOS from the performance:

VIDEOS from the performance:

CLick HERE  to hear the meditative opening and then HERE to hear the buildup through rapid fire, intricate “unfolding” of the raga line.

Cllick HERE  and  HERE for  closeups of the complex drumming techniques of Shivalik Ghoshal on tabla and the singing/harmonium playing by Andrew Shantz.

And click HERE for a sampler from their final number.

The Assistant Director of Iselin’s Manjari School of Performing Arts as well as a tabla teacher, Shivalik Ghoshal performed all of the tabla drumming for the soundtrack of Academy Award-winning documentary Born into Brothels (2004) as well as at Lincoln Center with santoor maestro Sri Satnaam Singh. He has accompanied many maestros including Pandit Manilal Nag, Smt Girija Devi, Pandit Jasraj, Pandit Phalguni Mitra, and Ustad Ali Ahmed Hussain and numerous visiting Indian artists. The recipient of grants from New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Namashkar Foundation (CT), and Asian Arts Initiative (PA), Shivalik also received a citation from the New Jersey state legislature. He is currently working with Mary Zimmerman and Doug Peck on re-orchestrating the jazz/classical Indian-based music of The Jungle Book for productions at the Goodman Theatre and Huntington Theatre Company in Chicago. He is a student of tabla maestro Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri and comes from a renowned musical family.

Andrew Shantz is a keyboardist, vocalist, composer, producer and educator with a foundation in jazz and a penchant for musical exploration. Since 2008, he has been immersed in the world of Hindustani-North Indian – classical music as a vocalist and harmonium player with studies in Kolkata (Calcutta), India under Smt. (Shrimati) Madhumita Saha and in New York under Pandit Sanjoy Banerjee along with special guidance from tabla maestro Pandit Samar Saha. In 2015, he won a scholarship to further his vocal studies with Pandit Sanjoy Banerjee from the Tapati Basu Roy Charitable Trust. In 2012, Andrew founded Vanguard Music Studio with partners Anna Evangelista and Attila Mozsolits, offering musical instruction in private lessons, group classes and ensembles and in special workshops and performances.

Both Shivalik and Andrew participate in the Brooklyn Raga Massive (BRM), a cooperative alliance of  Indian classical musicians in the Brooklyn, NYC area. Managed by the artists, the Massive is a platform for all lovers of Raga music, (listeners and practitioners), to network, present concerts, lecture demonstrations, festivals, panel discussions and provide educational outreach to all ages. Breaking conventional formalities, the Massive presents top-notch Indian Classical and Raga-inspired musicians, in all their diversity, hosts local events, and weekly Raga Music Jam Sessions in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.


July 26, 2016: Mexico Beyond Mariachi

Broiling hot weather didn’t deter 242 hardy souls and the wonderful professional performers of Mexico Beyond Mariachi who did a splendid job sharing songs, dances and instruments along with the history of Mexican culture from ancient times until the present.

PHOTOS from their performance:

Cllick HERE to see some of the unique instruments, hear songs and traditional dances from Mexico’s rich cultural history.

For some additional songs and dances performed by this wonderful ensemble, click HERE and HERE

Described as an “exuberant feast for the senses,” Mexico Beyond Mariachi explores the long history of the diverse regions of Mexico, the rituals, myths, and celebrations with colorful costumes, authentic instruments, and lively music and dance. Evoking the variety and color of an outdoor Mexican mercado, or market, the group performs on drums, flutes, conch shells and shares dances of the pre-Hispanic through the modern eras. Their fascinating fusion of rhythms and harmonies – with roots extending to Spain and Africa – takes the audience from the time of the Aztecs to the present day. With ten years of experience and passion, Mexico beyond Mariachi has performed in 10 states, 300 venues, and reached over one million people across the world! Highlights from their 2015 calendar include 30 performances at the New York Botanical Garden’s Rose Hall for the blockbuster Frida Kahlo Exhibit in addition to performances in schools throughout five states. This special group of professional performers  shares their love for Mexican art and expression in their fascinating and enlightening performance.


August 9, 2016: Lei Pasifika – Tahitian and Hawaiian dance from the Pacific Islands

With temperatures in the 80s and low humidity, it was a perfect day to get a taste of Tahiti and  Hawaii. Over 405 people joined dancers Tamara Bejar and Christa Yamasuki on the Green as they showcased the intricacies of various Tahitian and Hawaiian dances. Their colorful costumes and unique instruments added to the visual delights and they invited the audiences – men, women and children – to try out various motions and learn their meaning and significance within the Polynesian culture.

During the performance, a large branch fell from one of the trees on the Green…probably weakened by recent severe storms. Click HERE to read about that in – with abundant photos by Kevin Coughlin and Bill Lescohier.

Here are additional PHOTOS from Lei Pasifika’s performance (and hula lessons!):

VIDEOS from their Aug. 9, 2016 performance:

Click HERE  to see dancing with traditional Hawaiian bamboo rhythm sticks and HERE to see the dancers performing with the colorful, feathered Uli Uli gourds.

For a little taste of the dancers’ hula lesson , click HERE and,to see Crista Yamasuki impressive hip work as she dances with some of the “warrior”  men-dancers (including Luis Martinez of Morris Arts’ board), click HERE.

And, click HERE  for the final number, watch these two accomplished dancers (Tamara Bejar and Crista Yamasuki) demonstrate their art.

Lei Pasifika is a performance group focused on the music and dances of the Pacific Islands, mainly Tahiti and Hawaii. Sharing and cultivating the exotic cultures of Polynesia, their performances embody the spirits of these islands, taking a magical voyage in time, places, and legends. Through performances, dance classes, and costume workshops, they share and maintain the culture and lifestyle that is so dear to them.

Founder and director of Lei Pasifika, Makalina Gallagher was born and raised in and around the Pacific Islands, living in the Marianas, Caroline, and Hawaiian islands most of her life. A graduate of Fordham University with a B.A. in Theatre and Drama, she has studied ballet, jazz, modern and tap in New York City.  With the Tiny Bubble Band and her Hawaiian Express Dancers, she has performed on Channel 13 WNET PBS, NYC Telethon, FOX5 Good Day New York, and at Bette Midler’s 4th Annual Hulaween Ball.  She has also performed at a benefit for the New York Restoration Project, on the Food Network with Donna Hanover (featuring Roy Yamaguchi of Roy’s Restaurant) and with Gordon Elliot’s Doorknock Diners, on FOX 5 Good Day New York with Mike Woods, with Don Ho, as well as on WB11’s Morning Show.  Her dancers and the Tiny Bubble Band were featured on MTV’s Beach House to promote the movie “American Wedding,” and were also seen in Times Square promoting FOX 5’s new show North Shore, as well as at the Flea Theatre benefit.  She is the organizer of the NYC Ukulele MeetUp group and teaches Hula at Lotus Music & Dance. With her students and dancers at the CAPA (Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans) Festival, she has participated in celebrating Asia Pacific Heritage Month as well as in former Mayor Bloomberg’s Asian Pacific Heritage event and various Asian Heritage happenings in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Gallagher has been involved with Lei Pasifika since its inception.

Click to learn about past years of Music Beyond Borders.