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We are pleased to host African Showboyz as part of our integrated series at N4th Theatre, where we bring musicians to perform for the developmentally disabled artists at N4th and invite the community to come join the fun and see the great work they do there. Community spots are limited to 60 people and reservations are required.
Napoleon, Joseph, Moses, Isaac and JJ Sabbah, all brothers, are the African Showboyz. The boyz were born and raised in Binaba, a small village in the northeast region of Ghana, West Africa.
In Binaba, it is the way of the village for the men to marry multiple wives. The Showboyz are born from the same mother and the same father, though collectively there are 54 children from their father descent. Napoleon, the elder of the brothers, received a vision from his grandfather named Apabum Abugri during a juju practice at a very young age. He was to embark on a world journey in effort to bring recognition to the suffrage of the African people and feed his ever-growing family. Napo engaged Joseph, next of kin; his "backbone," and they made instruments from thigh bones and hides of village kills that had been given to the chief's palace. Isaac was taught village dances to accompany Napoleon's kone and Joseph's siyak, and in 1983 the three Sabbah children set out on two bicycles to play for neighboring villages. In 1987, Isaac learned the bind douk and JJ and Moses were added, playing the bin bill and tonton sanson, and the African Showboyz emerged as Africa's pentacle of conscious musicians. They began touring neighboring countries and performed before enthusiastic audiences in Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Niger, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Libya, and Cote d' Ivoire, while collaborating with Fela Kuti, Femi Kuti, Alpha Blondy, Freddie Meiwey, Ras Kimono and Stevie Wonder. It is fascinating to note that while touring in Africa, the brothers carried no documentation but simply performed for immigration officials at the borders and were permitted access.
In 2012, The Showboyz joined the Mickey Hart Band on their final three shows of 2012. They received such an overwhelming response that Hart decided to bring them on tour this year.
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Photo of Lyle Lovett by Michael Wilson. Photos of the Guerrilla Girls, Suzanne Vega, Cowboy Junkies, Po Girl, Wagogo and Sam Bush by Alan Mitchell.