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Sankofa Sounds: Shakoor Hakeem brings the Aùra Trio to our studio

Shakoor Hakeem and Aura
Shakoor Hakeem and Aura at WRTI

Philly-born percussionist Shakoor Hakeem is a boundary-pushing "industrial sound architect" who draws on his Afro-Cuban musical roots to create imaginative and innovative soundscapes. He uses the sounds of his surroundings as a starting point for his compositions, capturing the unique essence of each space and turning it into magic.

He has performed with some of the most cutting-edge artists in the industry, including Antione Roney, Graham Haynes, and Wallace Roney. Onstage, Hakeem's commanding presence and minimalist playing style — which focuses on color, texture and composition — leave a lasting impression on audiences.

With Aùra, the boundary-breaking percussionist has created a trio that blends dance, African diaspora folklore, and Black American music into a captivating and electrifying sound. Alongside flutist Elijah J. Thomas, drummer Benjamin Singer and special guest saxophonist Yesseh Furaha-Ali, Hakeem creates a powerful fusion of rhythm, melody, and movement that showcases his incredible musicianship and creativity.

WRTI has chosen "Sankofa" as our theme for Black History Month. It’s a powerful Akan word that encourages us to look to the past to inform our future. In tune with this idea, WRTI is proud to present Sankofa Sounds, a series of jazz videos curated by J. Michael Harrison, releasing every Monday morning throughout the month. Our video presentation of Hakeem and the Aura Trio is an experience not to be missed.

“For this special Black History Month exclusive video presentation,” says Harrison, “the percussion experience known as the Aùra Trio is enhanced by tenor saxophone and is both mesmerizing and addictive. Their high-powered rhythmical soundscape excites, delights and provides a level of validation. The energized visual imagery of their performance should not only be heard, it’s imperative that they be seen as well.”

Whether you're a fan of jazz, world music, or simply innovative and engaging soundworlds, Hakeem and Aùra are sure to provide an unforgettable musical experience that you won't soon forget.

The Aura Trio is Shakoor Hakeem on percussion, Ben Singer on drums, and Elijah Thomas on piano and flute. Recorded at WRTI in Philadelphia.

Producer: J. Michael Harrison
Director of Production: Tyler McClure
Video Production: Jason Fifield
Audio Production: Paul Marchesani, Ryan Hankins

Bobbi I. Booker is an award-winning multimedia journalist and radio personality whose velvety voice has been a mainstay in the Delaware Valley for over two decades. She can be heard on Spirit Soul Music, Sundays from 6 to 9 a.m., and Jazz Through the Night, weeknights from 12 midnight to 6 a.m.