An abstract representation of the act of percussion.
MacPhail Presents

A Concert for Peace

Date: Sat Mar 23 2024

Time: 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Room: Antonello Hall

Location: Minneapolis

Brought to you by MacPhail Center for Music and Ekwe.

This performance is free and open to the public.

Percussive Tranquility: Rhythms of Peace and Unity

Ekwe logo

Sponsored by MacPhail Center for Music and Ekwe.

Join us for an extraordinary concert where the language of music from around the world comes together to transcend borders and foster global unity and harmony. Immerse yourself in the powerful sounds of the ancient frame drum performed by Ekwe visiting artist Yousif Sheronick (Yo-Yo Ma, Laurie Anderson, Philip Glass), joined by an eclectic group of MacPhail musicians with special guest musicians from the local community. 

The evening’s music will feature themes of joy, celebration, harmony, and peace. It will mark the world premiere of compositions by Michael Cain and Barbara Cohen, along with the inaugural recipient of the Ekwe & Maia Dave Scholarship, Aaina Padith, whose piece will be composed in Chennai, India, and performed live in the hall via the Ekwe music app. 

Performers will include Michael Cain (keyboards/piano/bass), Barbara Cohen (vocals), JD Steele (vocals), Zacc Harris (guitar), visiting artist Yousif Sheronick (frame drum/hand percussion), RimShots!/Paul Babcock (marimba/percussion), David Feily (guitar), Abinnet Berhanu (drums), and Joe Strachan (keyboards). 

All attendees will receive a complimentary license to download the Ekwe music app.

Please join us for a frame drum and hand percussion workshop by Yousif Sheronick at MacPhail on March 22.

🎶🌟 #MusicalPremiere #TalentUnveiled #ScholarshipCelebration

When an attendee leaves this concert,
we don’t want them to walk out of the hall;
we want them to float out on cloud nine…
To remember the gift of being alive
and that we are sharing space and time with others…
I might describe the music this way:  
it’s going to be a celebration, it’s going to be a party,
and it’s going to be very moving.

Michael Cain


Michael Cain of the Michael Cain Trio

Michael Cain

After moving to New York in 1990, Michael Cain became a first call pianist, working with drum legend Jack DeJohnette for nine years, as well as Dave Holland, Steps Ahead, Ravi Coltrane, Bobby McFerrin, Stanley Turrentine, Lauren Hill, Joshua Redman, Pat Metheny, Charles Neville, Christian McBride, John Scofield, Robin Eubanks, and Meshell N’degeocello, among others. Michael’s numerous awards include a 2006 Grammy nomination for Dance of the Infidel, Meshell N’degeocello’s release on which Michael is pianist and co-arranger. He has recorded several records as a leader including Circa, a 1996 ECM release which featured Ralph Alessi and Peter Epstein, and served as producer for several recordings including Ron Blake’s Shariya, and Brian Landrus’ Traverse and Capsule.

As an educator Michael has been a Professor at the Eastman School of Music, the New England Conservatory of Music, the University of Minnesota, and Brandon University in Brandon, MB, Canada.


Barbara Cohen

Barbara Cohen is an award-winning singer/songwriter, film composer, multi-instrumentalist known for her distinctive voice, eclectic talent and ability to blend musical genres from folk to electronica, and world to modern-classical. Her career as a recording artist includes co-founding the Virgin Records’ band, Brother Sun, Sister Moon, collaborating with England’s rave luminaries, Orbital, and singing lead vocals for the French Electronica duo, Air. Cohen’s scores for film and television have been featured on HBO, PBS-POV, MTV and Al Jazeera America. Her awards include admittance to the Sundance Film Composer Lab Fellowship, BMI Conducting Workshop, the Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship Grant for Artistry and Composition.

As an educator Barbara is a faculty instructor for the EMRA (Electronic Music Recording Arts) program, at MacPhail Center for Music. She also taught for over twenty years at Musicians Institute in Los Angeles California. She holds a Bachelors in Music Composition, from Musician’s Institute.

Aaina Padiath
singer, songwriter, producer, performer

Aaina Padiath (India)

Aaina Padiath is a 20 year old aspiring singer-songwriter, producer and performer, She grew up in Dubai, U.A.E, a melting pot of world cultures, giving her a unique approach towards her music as well as several performance opportunities. She began performing regularly since the tender age of 9 and in very diverse genres such as Pop, Rhythm and Blues, Jazz and even Musical Theatre. Her vocal influences range from Adele, Aretha Franklin to Sunidhi Chauhan, H.E.R and Yebba. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Music at the KM Music Conservatory in Chennai, India. Ultimately, with her keen interest in contemporaneous issues related to life and the human condition, she hopes to make meaningful music that talks to these issues.

Featured Artist

Yousif Sheronick
Frame Drum, Hand Percussion

Yousif Sheronick

Hailed by the New York Times for his “dazzling improvisations” and his “wizardry on a range of humble frame drums” Yousif Sheronick enjoys an active career as percussionist, composer, producer and educator. Having studied classical percussion through a Masters degree at Yale, Yousif went on to study music from Brazil, India, Africa and the Middle East which he seamlessly incorporates into his playing. Yousif’s unique skills in both World and Classical music have led him to perform with a diverse range of ensembles and musicians including Philip Glass, Yo-Yo Ma, Laurie Anderson, Ethos Percussion Group, Lark Quartet, Silk Road Ensemble, Branford Marsalis, Sonny Fortune, Glen Velez and Paul Winter. His many musical influences are highlighted in duoJalal, his venture with violist and wife Kathryn Lockwood. A feature article in Drum! Magazine highlighted Yousif’s versatility in an article titled “At The Corner Of The World”. His online Frame Drum School now boasts over 1000 enrolled students from 68 countries.

Yousif will be holding a workshop on the frame drum at MacPhail on March 22nd.


Michael Cain‘s numerous awards include a 2006 Grammy nomination for Dance of the Infidel, Meshell N’degeocello’s release on which Michael is pianist and co-arranger. He has recorded several records as a leader including Circa, a 1996 ECM release which featured Ralph Alessi and Peter Epstein, and served as producer for several recordings including Ron Blake’s Shariya, and Brian Landrus’ Traverse and Capsule.

Barbara looking off to the right

Barbara Cohen‘s career as a recording artist includes co-founding the Virgin Records’ band, Brother Sun, Sister Moon, collaborating with England’s rave luminaries, Orbital, singing lead vocals for the French experimental duo, Air, and releasing critically acclaimed albums, both as a soloist and with Red House Record’s band Farm Accident and Girl & Her Monster Record’s band Little Lizard.

JD's headshot

JD Steele is the director of the MacPhail Community Youth Choir (MCYC) and teaches in the Partnership Program at MacPhail.  Along with his siblings who compromise the Twin Cities dynamic vocal group, The Steeles, J.D. has garnered every major music award and accolade the state has to offer. He and his family began touring the international hit show “Gospel at Colonus” with Morgan Freeman around the world before landing on Broadway in 1988. He has also produced, performed and recorded seven Steele’s albums, and has gone on to write, produce and perform and record with Prince, Donald Fagen, George Clinton, Mavis Staples, Kim Carnes, The Sounds of Blackness and many other artists.

J.D. has also developed a choral group of 200 street kids at an orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya, called Shangilia. Since, they have performed in Nairobi, Europe and the United States. They were featured at the 2010 Flint Hills International Children’s Festival in St. Paul performing with MCYC.

Zacc Harris

Zacc Harris is a guitarist and composer based in Minneapolis since 2005. He co-founded the collective Atlantis Quartet in 2007 which has released five critically acclaimed albums to date and received a McKnight Fellowship in 2015. He leads the Zacc Harris Group which has put out two albums, The Garden (2012) and Small Wonders (2021), the latter of which was named in Downbeat Magazine‘s Albums of the Year list. In 2017, Harris put out a trio record, American Reverie, exploring classic folk and Americana songs through a jazz lens. In addition to performing, Harris teaches music at Hamline University and Carleton College. 

David Feily performing

David Feily transplanted to the Twin Cities from Maryland and has firmly planted himself in the music scene as a multi-instrumentalist, composer, musical director, educator, and collaborator. You can find David writing and performing with various ensembles such as Minneapolis String Project, BZ3 Organ Trio, and LA Buckner’s BiG HOMiE band. He also performs for artists including Charles Lazerus, Steve Cole, The Steeles, Kevin Washington, Jamecia Bennett, Lucia Sarmiento, Brandon Commodore, Esera Tuaolo, and theater troupe Rhythm Street Movement. 

Adult playing drums

Paul Babcock has over 35 years experience teaching percussion/drum set. He enjoys working with students of all backgrounds to discover their passions for music and percussion to see how far they can go on this exciting journey. Paul developed the MacPhail percussion ensemble Rimshots!, who have performed across the United States and abroad.

Rimshots! is MacPhail’s Premier Percussion Ensemble for ages 12-18. Rimshots! strives to bring relevant and exciting compositions for percussion to MacPhail and community stages. The highly motivated percussion students play myriad instruments that range from triangle to timpani to table-tops. Rimshots! performs concerts in a variety of settings throughout the community. Rimshots! auditions take place each August. 

Abinnet Berhanu

Virginia transplant Abinnet Berhanu started his fascination with music on the trumpet but later fell in love with the sheer power of drums.  Having a reputation for being a passionate, explosive drummer, Abinnet has had the opportunity to work with Steve Wilson, The Minnesota Orchestra, Bruce Harris, Russ Johnson, Allyn Johnson, John D’Earth, Justin Kauflin, Russell Wilson and Mike Hawkins amongst others. His appearances include the Kennedy Center, Library of Congress, The White House, Blues Alley, Bohemian Caverns, DC Jazz Festival, Embassy of Sweden, Embassy of Gabon, Embassy of Australia, Baltimore Artscape and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. His group ‘Hebret Musica’ released their self entitled  debut album in 2019 and was described by Jamie Sandel of Washington, DC’s Capital Bop as having “a feeling of open-hearted sincerity permeating the music. It’s that sentiment — conveyed through lush melodies and satisfying harmonies — that makes his songs stick in your head long after the concert ends.”

Joe Strachan, a versatile pianist based in Saint Paul, brings a decade of musical prowess to national and international stages. Joe’s career includes accompanying dance, performing on synths and electronics, and composing for a diverse range of collaborations in dance and theater. Recent work includes touring with Craig Finn, and Mixed Blood Theater, as well as performing locally with ThoughtCast, Charanga Tropical, Ahndendet, Little Boat, the Interstellar Cowboy band, Wheel Eternal, and HatchDance. Joe’s work has been recognized with awards such as the Next Step Fund (2020). 

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