Philadelphia, Feb. 25, 2016 - Intercultural Journeys continues the 2015/16 Season: The Artistry of Identity and Transformation  with The Mandinga Experiment, the latest project from percussionist/vocalist Alex Shaw.  In addition to acting as Curator for Intercultural Journeys, Alex is the Director of renowned Brazilian band Alô Brasil and a long-standing member of Spoken Hand Percussion Orchestra. Alex will present a collaborative tribute to the Afro-Brazilian martial art Capoeira Angola and its resilient cultural legacy of resistance against oppression.  This performance will be accompanied by live vintage visuals and feature musicians, dancers, and capoeiristas from the U.S. and Brazil. The Mandinga Experiment is an amalgamation of original compositions and contemporary interpretations of traditional Afro-Brazilian rhythms and songs.

IJ is pleased to once again offer an additional opportunity for dialogue before the performance with Food for Thought.  This free program consists of a casual potluck-style meal and guided discussion on a topic related to the concert. On March 11, the topic will be Capoeira and Black Consciousness. We'll have featured remarks from Dr. Kenneth Dossar, Professor of Intellectual Heritage at Temple University, who will speak about the history of capoeira and the relationship of this Afro-Brazilian martial art to Black Consciousness. This event is open to the public, but guests are requested to RSVP and bring a food item to share.  

“I consider this a tremendous opportunity to present my intercultural work to the Philadelphia community, in which I am uniting artists from both Brazil and the U.S. in a collective tribute to the legacy of capoeira and other Afro-Brazilian traditions," said Alex Shaw about his newest work. "The Mandinga Experiment is an evolving interdisciplinary artistic endeavor of consciousness, through which I am weaving threads of identity, heritage, and spirituality.”

The concert will take place at 8pm in the Ibrahim Theater at International House. Tickets are $15 for General Admission, $10 for IHP members, and $8 for students. To purchase tickets, visit or call 215-387-5125, ext. 2.



Casual potluck-style reception with guided discussion*

Friday, March 11, 2016 - 6pm

The East Alcove, International House (3701 Chestnut Street)

*Guests are requested to RSVP and bring a food item to share.



Alex Shaw: The Mandinga Experiment

Friday, March 11, 2016 - 8pm*

Ibrahim Theater, International House (3701 Chestnut Street)

*Featuring post-concert discussion with the artists.


Mandinga (mahn-JING-gah)

The term mandinga has various meanings throughout the Americas and is derived from the West African “Mandinka” ethnic group. In the capoeira philosophical context, it holds a positive connotation and typically refers to a mysterious or magical characteristic or ability that one has to disguise their intentions as a means of achieving an advantageous position, through smooth and creative expression, gesture, and movement. In the context of this artistic project, the concept of mandinga has been extended to explore the creative transformation of these rich cultural traditions as a means of sharing and honoring the often-underappreciated legacy of capoeira and its contribution towards cultural resistance against race-based oppression. 

About Alex Shaw

Alex Shaw is a percussionist, vocalist, composer, curator, and arts educator specializing in Brazilian music traditions. An alumnus of Swarthmore College, Alex settled in Philadelphia in 2000 and soon became deeply embedded in the dynamic community of percussion and drumming. He is a long-standing member of Philadelphia's award-winning Spoken Hand Percussion Orchestra and Director of Brazilian ensemble, Alô Brasil.  A freelance arts educator since 2001, Alex has taught, lectured, and performed regularly throughout the mid-Atlantic region, and has also worked as an accompanist for several dance companies and universities. Since 2008, Alex has served LiveConnections as both a board member and a lead facilitator for their music education programming. He joined the music faculty at the University of the Arts in 2010, became curator for Intercultural Journeys in 2014, and joined Temple University music faculty in 2016.

He has been awarded several competitive artist grants to support his music research and study in Brazil, including Arts International’s Artist Exploration Fund (2004) and the Independence Foundation Fellowship in the Arts (2007). In 2012 he was honored with an Emerging Legacy Award at the UPenn MLK Commemorative Symposium for Social Justice.  In his most recent artistic project, presented in 2014 by Intercultural Journeys, Alex directed a collaborative tribute to the cultural legacy of the Afro-Brazilian martial art Capoeira Angola. This project featured original compositions and contemporary arrangements of traditional capoeira songs combined with vintage live visuals.

About Intercultural Journeys

Intercultural Journeys uses the arts to promote peace and greater understanding between people of diverse backgrounds, faiths, and cultures with the aim of catalyzing social change and awareness. Intercultural Journeys was founded in 2002 by Philadelphia Orchestra cellist Udi Bar-David, philanthropist Carole Haas Gravagno, Majid Alsayegh and Sheldon L. Thompson. Together, they recognized the role that music could play in sparking dialogue between people of different backgrounds. Since then, Intercultural Journeys has held over 160 concerts and partnered with a diverse roster of local and international artists. IJ events have been held not only in the Greater Philadelphia area but also across the United States and even abroad in countries such as China, Spain, Italy and Israel. 

Media Contact

Lindsey S. Crane, Managing Director, 215-387-2310                                     

High res images available upon request