Mwenso and the Shakes June 20

 In B Side, Music, News

Benson Theatre will welcome Mwenso and the Shakes to the B Side stage Wednesday, June 20. The show begins at 7:00pm at The B Side of Benson Theatre, 6058 Maple St. The cost is $5 per person, and the doors open at 6:00pm.

This unique troupe of global artists presents music that merges the highest form of entertainment and artistry while commanding a formidable timeline of jazz and blues expression through African and Afro American music. Immigrating from Sierra Leone, London, South Africa, Greenwich Village, Madagascar, France, Jamaica and Hawaii, the Shakes now call Harlem their home.

Taking from the stylings of Fats Waller, Muddy Waters, James Brown and many other American musical legends, Michael Mwenso leads an electrifying show the New York Times calls “intense, prowling, and ebullient.”

Born in Sierra Leone, Mwenso migrated to London as a child, seeking refuge during his country’s civil war. He was raised by his mother until his early teens when she was deported back to her home country.

A frustrated actress, Mwenso’s mother frequented Ronnie Scott’s, London’s legendary jazz nightclub. She often dropped Mwenso off there. By age 12 or 13, he was already performing onstage. It was during this time that he was discovered by James Brown, who invited Mwenso to perform with him.

A decade later, Mwenso was leading late-night band sessions at Ronnie Scott’s when he caught the ear of Wynton Marsalis. He accepted Marsalis’ invitation to run Jazz at Lincoln Center’s late-night jam at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.

For more information about the group, visit


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