Trombonist and composer Craig Harris composed “Souls Within the Veil" in 2003 to commemorate the centennial of W. E. B. Du Bois's seminal work, The Souls of Black Folk. A 10-piece ensemble interprets Harris’ musical score, which captures the book’s timeless social commentary, using Du Bois’ concept of Double Consciousness, the "two-ness" of being African and as well as American.
Born in Hempstead, N.Y. in 1953, Harris is a graduate of the renowned music program of SUNY at Old Westbury. Profoundly influenced by its legendary founder and director, the late Makanda Ken McIntyre, Harris' move to New York City in 1978 quickly established him in the forefront of young trombonists, along with Ray Anderson, George Lewis and Joseph Bowie.
First playing alongside another of his teachers, baritone saxophonist Pat Patrick in Sun Ra's Arkestra for two years, Harris embarked on a world tour with South African pianist/composer Abdullah Ibrahim in 1981. Highly affected by their stay in Australia, Craig played with Aborigine musicians and returned with a dijeridoo, a haunting wind instrument that has become a part of his musical arsenal ever since.
Upon his return, Harris became a member of such major groups as David Murray's Octet, the Beaver Harris-Don Pullen 360 Degree Musical Experience, Sam Rivers's various orchestral aggregations, Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy and many, many more. He also played for Lena Horne in her Broadway orchestra for a year, and was a frequent collaborator with theater artist Sekou Sundiata.
"Like ‘Souls’," says Du Bois scholar Tony Monteiro, "Souls Within the Veil' is African in its cultural anchorage and its Humanity. It is elegant music which rediscovers African sublimity."
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