Born in Great Britain and raised as a child in Uganda, Stephen Kent discovered his musical calling some 30 years ago in the remote and forbidding expanse of Australia’s Northern Territory. As musical director for Circus Oz he encountered the region’s indigenous people and the hypnotic didjeridu, a drone instrument usually carved from a termite-hollowed eucalyptus branch. At first the conservatory-trained French hornist applied didjeridu techniques to brass settings, but his fascination with ancient instrument took on a life of its own. Rather than trying to imitate traditional Aboriginal styles, Kent created his own approach, composing beautifully textured contemporary music. Based in the Bay Area since the early 1990s, he first gained widespread notice in Trance Mission, a band that paired his sinuous rhythms with Beth Custer’s clarinet wizardry. Since then he’s collaborated with masters such as Airto Moreira, Zakir Hussain, Omar Sosa, and Habib Koité. Most recently, he co-founded the Sufi trance trio Baraka Moon with Qawwali vocalist Sukhawat Ali Khan and percussionist Geoffrey Gordon. In a perfect pairing of a sacred instrument with a sacred space, Kent brings the incantory didjeridu to the Advent church's resonant walls in what promises to be an immersive musical experience.
Stephen Kent didjeridu