Festival Friday Radio is a weekly blog series showcasing Spoleto Festival USA’s 2017 visiting artists. Each Friday, tune in for these hand-selected playlists that highlight a musician’s top 10 tracks—or get exclusive, artist-curated lists that reflect their own listening preferences.
What inspires master tap dancer Ayodele Casel to lace up her shoes and tap away? We spoke with the native New Yorker—who will take the Festival stage at the Woolfe Street Playhouse for six performances of her semi-autobiographical world premiere, While I have the Floor (CLICK HERE for tickets! Due to high demand, a performance has been added on Saturday, June 3 at 2:00pm.)—to find out. Below, she shares 10 songs that help motivate new bits of choreography and elaborates on a few of her selections:
“Acid,” by Ray Barretto: “I never get sick of listening and dancing to this song. I love the simplicity of the bass line and the groove of the clave, as well as when the musicians take their solos. It’s soulful, funky, and musically delicious.”
“Summertime,” by Oscar Peterson: “Oscar is one of my all time favorite pianists and jazz musicians. His musicality and point of view is sublime. I often rewind certain phrases in this version to appreciate them again and again.”
“El Ratón,” by Cheo Feliciano with Fania All Stars: “I believe the best Latin music happened in the ’70s, and that list of bests includes the Latin music giants, Fania All Stars. In this version, the roar of the audience as they listen to Cheo singing the first line still gives me goosebumps. The group’s artistry is still unmatched today.”
Interested in hearing more from Casel? In addition to her world premiere, which offers a window to one-woman’s experiences with cultural displacement and the determination to find her own voice, the gifted choreographer and dancer will sit down with CBS News correspondent Martha Teichner as part of the Festival’s Conversations With series. CLICK HERE for tickets to the June 2 event.
Photo (at top) by Michael Higgins