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Paul Simon's Longtime Bassist To Speak About "Under The African Skies" Documentary During North Fork Screening

Julia Braat

East End Arts is teaming up with Peconic Landing for a screening of Under African Skies at the Peconic Landing Community Center Auditorium on Saturday, February 4th at 4 p.m.

Joe Berlinger's 2012 documentary follows musician Paul Simon's return to South Africa to explore the journey of his Grammy Award-winning Graceland album. Controversy swirls as Simon receives backlash for allegedly breaking the UN cultural boycott of South Africa.

"The film skillfully interweaves several strands to tell a true story with a happy ending," noted Stephen Holden of The New York Times. "The spine of the movie is a recent conversation between Mr. Simon and Dali Tambo, the South African co-founder of Artists Against Apartheid."

In 1985, the musician traveled to Johannesburg, when apartheid was still in effect, to record most of Graceland's instrumental tracks - without permission from the African National Congress. That violated the United Nations' cultural boycott of South Africa.

Following the screening, Simon's bassist Bakithi Kumalo, who is currently leading East End Arts' artist-in-residence program, will take part in a Q&A.

Kumalo is a South African bassist, composer and vocalist who has worked with numerous diverse artists including Gloria Estefan, Herban Hancock, Chaka Khan, and many more. Still active as a solo artist, he has four albums under his belt along with three children's albums that he recorded with his wife. "I picked up the bass early and realized I could follow the groove of a tune with it," Kumalo shared. "I could play the bass lines from a cappella music, and I learned how to develop lines based on the left-hand work of accordion players in the township bands."

In addition to the Q&A, Kumalo will host East End Arts' Music Masters Mentorship Program Final Concert on Saturday, February 11th, which is open to the public. The show will take place at Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center and tickets are $10.

Admission to the Under African Skies screening is free.

Peconic Landing Community Center Auditorium is located at 1500 Brecknock Road in Greenport. For more information, call 631-727-0900 or visit eastendartsorg.net.

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