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Published: Friday, 4/8/2005

Libana's musical scope extends around the world

Libana Libana

The seven masterful musicians and singers of Libana bring their enchanting global performance to town at 7 tonight in Trinity Episcopal Church.

Selections will include haunting harmonies of the Balkans, an intense, percussion-driven exorcism dance from Egypt, and irresistible Latin rhythms. Libana (pronounced lie-BAH-na) also will perform a Hawaiian hula in honor of the volcano goddess Pele, a song written by contemporary Nepalese women, and works from Africa and the Mediterranean region.

The two-hour show includes dance and is suitable for all ages.

"We explore the music and dance traditions of various cultures as well as the contemporary voices of songwriters around the world," says Susan Robbins, who founded the Boston-based group in 1979 with a goal of finding pieces that reflect women's often-undocumented musical heritage. The group takes its name from a 10th-century Moorish poet and philosopher.

Among Libana's instruments are clarinet, pennywhistle, bamboo flute, guitar, double bass, and the oud, a fretless stringed instrument. Its percussion collection includes the hour-glass-shaped clay dumbek, the ipu (a gourd drum), and the bendirs (a snared, frame drum from Algeria).

Members range in age from 43 to 54 and include a nurse, graphic designer, home schooling mom, and directors of an alumni center and a neighborhood health center.

Libana's greatest challenge may be the members' philosophy to personalize the vision they have for the world.

"There has been an inherent commitment to having each one of us be a fully creative, participatory, and inspirational element of the group," says Robbins.

Libana performs at 7 tonight in Trinity Episcopal Church, Adams and St. Clair streets, between COSI and the Valentine Theatre, in downtown Toledo. Parking is free in the Four SeaGate garage off St. Clair Street. Tickets are $15 at the door. Information: 419-243-1231 or www.trinitytoledo.org.

Contact Tahree Lane at:


or 419-724-6075.

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