Djembe! debuts under Elation lighting rig
Tuesday, 14 May 2019
djembeDjembe! is a celebration of African culture (photo: Liz Lauren)
USA - Djembe! The Show is an energy-filled, theatrical concert experience that mixes traditional West African beats with modern takes on contemporary music that has toured Europe and even been featured on Ted Talks and Oprah’s Super Soul Sessions. It made its limited US debut at the Apollo Theatre in Chicago with lighting design by Zach Blane who used an all Elation LED lighting rig to accentuate the production. Support was provided by Elation dealer ILC.
Djembe!, which opened 10 April and ran through 12 May, is a celebration of African culture with drumming and musical performances by a cast composed mostly of West African musicians. Guests of the show were handed a drum – a djembe – and invited to play along.
The Apollo Theatre features a three-quarter thrust stage with the audience on three sides, a setup that gives guests an intimate experience. According to LD Zach Blane, it also gave lighting a large role in Djembe. “Separate of supporting all of the beats of the piece tonally, the basic lighting need to have everyone be seen requires more lighting than a traditional end stage set up,” he said. “There are three points of vision at all times and it required three times the amount of lighting to render the piece, as designed.”
Used to reinforce the energy and emotion of the show was an all LED Elation lighting rig of ellipsoidals, moving heads, Pars and battens with the mid-air projection canopy coming from Antari F-4 Fazers. Blane says that haze, and the “air lighting” it makes possible, played a very important role in the piece. “Because the audience wraps the stage, everyone has a different experience of the show depending on where they are sitting,” the designer explains.
“The Elation ACL 360i and Platinum fixtures did a lot of heavy lifting in this regard. There were also many hanging fixtures, encased in hemp baskets, like ones you would find in a small village in West Africa, throughout the space, that hung over the audience, with full LED/pixel map control that aided in the ‘air visual’ to keep it all one cohesive image. I wanted the audience to feel like our ‘world of Djembe’ was wrapping them in a hug, or like we were somehow suspended, in the trees, in this whimsical place, all together.”
Placed strategically throughout the space were 15 Artiste DaVinci LED moving heads, which operated as concert lights as well as face light for the three sections of audience. Over the stage were six Fuze Wash Z350 single source Par moving heads outfitted with snoot attachments.
Providing a full-colour gobo option from all four corners of the space were 20 Colour 5 Profile LED ellipsoidal spots, which the designer says he used for filling in shadows and giving a soft texture throughout the stage and the air.”
The designer thanks John Dunn and Jean Lariviere (Elation), Grant Simmon (ILC), Nykol Dedreu, Lane Marsh, Margaret Hartmann, and Daniel Friedman (Djembe) “for their help in making this rig a reality.
(Jim Evans)

Latest Issue. . .

Tweets from our Friends