Alum earns award for music, cultural contributions

Kahil El‘Zabar ’77 will receive the French Ministry of Culture’s award, Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, which recognizes eminent artists, writers and other members of the cultural community who have contributed significantly to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world.

Cultural Services at the Consulate General of France in conjunction with The Bridge, a transatlantic collaboration between France and the United States to further opportunities for creative music, and The Shrine, a nationally acclaimed live music and dance venue in Chicago, have planned a public award ceremony in his honor on May 5 at 6 p.m. at The Shrine. He will perform with Dwight Trible later in the evening during a free concert that is open to the public.

“This event is a major acknowledgement of the crucial role of the sister cities Paris and Chicago’s ongoing cultural conversation in fostering and strengthening the ties between France and the United States,” according to one press release.

Elzabar is a multi-award winning percussionist/composer/band leader and is also an accomplished educator, arts presenter/organizer and cultural activist.

Among Elzabar’s achievements: He has performed and collaborated with luminary artists from diverse genres, such as Dizzy Gillespie, Stevie Wonder, Eddie Harris, Nona Hendryx, Pharoah Sanders, Donny Hathaway, Paul Simon, Lester Bowie, Cannonball Adderly; poet Ntozake Shange; rock groups such as Poi Dog Pondering and Sonja Dada; and international DJs like Oshun Lade, Henrik Schwartz, and IG Culture.

As a composer, Elzabar is heralded for his arrangements of Disney’s theatrical version of The Lion King. He has also scored music for the feature films Mo’ Money (Columbia Pictures), Love Jones (Newline Cinema), and How You Like Me Now? (Universal Pictures).