QUEENS, N.Y. — The Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning mixes the rich, vibrant and scintillating sound of four continents in its New Young Artists (NYA) concert series scheduled for Friday, March 16 and Saturday, March 17 at 7 p.m. The NYA series will showcase African, jazz, rhythm and blues, funk, reggae, and Latin music; audiences can travel the world in just two days.

Performers Francis Mbappe, Solade and Simona Premazzi will whet musical palettes through these astounding evening concerts.

Friday evening, Simona Premazzi will perform music from her recent recording, “Looking for an Exit.” Premazzi is a young, fresh talent, who grew up artistically in Milan. She will tickle the ivories with Italian flair, fusing jazz and funk in her contemporary knock-out compositions. She studied with Fred Hersch, Jason Moran and Jean Michel Pilc, and also plays with Carol Sudhalter, among others.

On Saturday evening, Panama-born Argentinean triple-threat composer, singer and trumpeter Solade will rock the hall with her unique vocal blend of reggae and jazz with Brazilian overtones. Her performance has been stylistically compared to Billie Holiday in blue, Sade in sincerity, Bob Marley in funk and Miles Davis in attitude.

“The New York Times” calls her playing “streamlined and lyrical.” On Saturday evening, she will perform selections from her CD – “Boro Song” – produced by FM Groove, Inc. – Mbappes’s music-production company.

Also on Saturday, Mbappe and FM Tribe will perform selections from his recent recording “Celebration” – a new kind of music that blends many of the best elements of African music, jazz, funk, and rhythm and blues; Mbappe will be honored at the ceremony with a special reception on March 17 at 6 p.m. for his contributions to the world of music.

A sought-after bass player, Mbappe has graced the stage with musical greats such as Herbie Hancock, Manu Dibango, Fela Kuti, Ashanti Tokoto and many others. He appears on the renowned “Waka Africa” release which features Peter Gabriel. Mbappe also co-produced and arranged the album “Guido Vittale” for Koning Plank, featuring Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart, and worked on music for the film “Young Maestro” featuring Elizabeth Taylor.

A series ticket is $30 which includes admission to Friday and Saturday concerts and the special honoree reception; a single ticket is $20; the reception is $15; discounts are available on single tickets.

The Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning is housed in a landmark building owned by the City of New York and supported, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency; the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs with support from Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg; Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin; the New York City Council; Council Speaker Christine Quinn; the Queens Delegation of the Council; Majority Whip, Councilman Leroy Comrie; and Queens Borough President Helen M. Marshall.

Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning is located at 161-04 Jamaica Avenue, Jamaica, NY 11432. For more information and directions, call 718-657-7400 extension 152 or visit

[tags]Simona Premazzi, Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, New Young Artists Concert Series, live music in New York[/tags]

Tabitha Angel Berg is an aspiring author and musician and joined eNewsChannels in Nov. 2006 as an editor and mistress of the WP-based content management system (CMS). She likes ferrets better than cats and tea better than coffee, and is a devout iPad evangelist. Nobody pays her to like Dr. Pepper, but wouldn't you like to be a pepper, too?