Three-piece groove: Trio bring Afrobeat and hip hop to classical

Flute loops: Domenica Fossati, Lisa Maree Dowling, and Owen Weaver formed their band, Concert Black, as a melding of classical, Afrobeat and hip hop.
Photo by Ken Yapelli

This one time at band camp, we listened to some R. Kelly.

Every member of the flute, double bass, and percussion trio Concert Black has a wealth of classical experience, but their collaboration is the result of bonding over their love for the funky.

“We really got together over listening to ’90s R&B like En Vogue and R. Kelly and raunchy stuff like Riskay, but we were all reared in this classical world,” said percussionist Owen Weaver, who will perform in DUMBO with his band mates on March 26.

The trio got its start when all three members performed at the 2011 Bang on a Can festival — a place where classically trained musicians can let loose.

“It brings people together from all over the world who have an affinity for weird music,” said Weaver. “It was a perfect place for us to meet.”

Weaver exchanged numbers with flautist Domenica Fossati and bassist Lisa Dowling, and later they formed their group.

The band’s music, with its melding of styles, sounds like an abstraction of later-era, instrumental Frank Zappa mixed with Tricky. Fossati also plays in Afrobeat bands, Dowling is a DJ, and Weaver is interested in solo percussion and electronic experimentation. Consequently, their shows tend to be more like indie-rock club shows than traditional classical performances.

“We put down the music stands and try to get rid of some of the stuffiness of classical,” Weaver said.

Concert Black at the Galapagos Art Space [16 Main St. at Water Street in DUMBO (718) 222–8500, www.galapagosartspace.com]. March 26, 7 pm, $15 advance, $20 door.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.

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