MARQUETTE – West African pop diva NaÃ¯ny DiabatÃ© (pronounced: NAH-ee-knee JAW-ba-tay) and New York-based filmmaking producer and musician Catheryn Smith will perform from 8-10 p.m., Friday (Nov. 4) at Northern Michigan University’s DeVos Art Museum. The concert follows the 6:30-8 p.m. opening exhibit of 39 Upper Peninsula artists into NMU’s permanent art collection.
DiabatÃ© is from Mali, West Africa. She is internationally recognized for her use of music to sing about social issues of importance to people. She has recorded nine CDs since 1990 and performed in folk and world music concerts throughout West Africa, as well as in France, Spain and Morocco. Her special area of interest is in the growing population of street children in West Africa due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Smith’s film productions also focus on social issues. A recipient of a Pursoff Foundation grant, she is currently conducting research on ancient Islamic texts and songs that have been stored for generations in family-owned libraries in Timbuktu, Mali. She plays the pedal steel guitar and piano and has performed with the 92nd Street Y Reading Orchestra. She also sings and studies the kora, a 21-stringed instrument from West Africa, with world-famous master kora-player Yacouba Sissoko.
DiabatÃ© and Smith are spending a week at Northern as part of the university’s Global Social Action through Art and Performance initiative. They are visiting several NMU classes and participating in a student video production.
Both the concert and the exhibit are free and open to the public. The art exhibit will be featured at DeVos until Thursday, May 5. Regular gallery hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.