WORD-BEAT is Charles Williams and Tom Teasley
WORD-BEAT combines the artistry of singer/ actor Charles Williams and global-jazz percussionist Tom Teasley in programs featuring the inspirational texts of such authors as Langston Hughes and Nelson Mandela as well as African folk songs. All are accompanied by inventive percussive rhythms and melodies. The duo has performed their critically acclaimed melding of music and voice at prestigious venues and before academic audiences in the U.S. and Europe. Williams and Teasley achieve a true marriage of ancient melody and future sounds, of Africa, the West and beyond. They have recently added a program featuring the 12th century mystic poet Rumi accompanied by Tom’s original music and inspired by Middle Eastern cultures. Timeless world rhythms evoked by Teasley’s masterful blend of ethnic percussion and cutting-edge electronics underscore traditional verse delivered in spirited performance art mode by Williams. The two artists, each successful in their own right are both are dedicated educators presenting concerts and clinics throughout the world.
In this their second CD, WORD-BEAT presents an enthralling performance entitled "The Soul Dances." Drawing heavily on various African proverbs and traditional African-American spirituals, WORD-BEAT delivers ancient wisdom wrapped in powerfully percussive grooves and uplifting melodies. This second WORD-BEAT offering is a triumphant celebration of the human spirit in both song and verse, underscored by Teasley’s coloristic approach to the drum set and a variety of hand percussion instruments from around the world together with Williams’ deep, commanding baritone vocals they make a joyful noise that stirs deep emotions and heavy thoughts as it invites us to get up on the goodfoot…” Bill Milkowski
The duos’ first CD, "Poetry, Prose, Percussion and Song," vitally interprets the moving words of Langston Hughes and James Weldon Johnson with spirituals from the Deep South and additional narratives that seek to explore the rich depths of the human heart.
Louisiana-born artist Charles Williams has won international acclaim since his opera debut at the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy. He has performed in theaters and opera houses, and for radio and television in Munich, Berlin, Hamburg, Zurich and Vienna. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Sportin’ Life in “Porgy and Bess.” He has also performed at Carnegie Hall, The Barns at Wolf Trap, The Smithsonian Institute, and The Kennedy Center. In the summer of 2004 he toured Europe as a cast member and vocal coach of “The Temptation of St. Anthony” directed by Robert Wilson with music and book by Bernice Johnson Reagon. The production performed at the Paris Opera (l'Opera Garnier) in Nov-Dec 2005. He is currently developing a one-man cabaret show with composer/lyricist Dan Sticco. Mr. Williams is on the faculty of the Levine School of Music in Washington, DC where he teaches voice and music theater. He serves as vocal consultant for Sweet Honey In The Rock and was a vocal panelist for the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts for three years. He has taught vocal and musical theater workshops in Salzburg, Austria, and was Guest Instructor at the Hochschule der Küenste in Berlin. He has also conducted workshops in Music Theater, voice and opera at the Muse Machine in Dayton, Ohio. He has released a CD of Spirituals and selections from the American Musical Theater
Tom Teasley, described in the Washington Post as a "percussionist in the widest and most exuberant sense of the word", performs on a wide variety of percussion instruments ranging from an assortment of hand drums from around the world; drum set, orchestral percussion and a variety of current electronic instruments. Teasley is recognized throughout the world as a fusion percussionist and recording artist. He is highly regarded as a clinician in the field of world percussion. He holds the unique distinction of having presented at PASIC, the world’s largest and most prestigious percussion event, on three occasions. “…percussion wizard Tom Teasley deserves his own slot in the CD bins… maybe his own store… Besides having the God-given gift of groove, Teasley is a true textural artist.” Peter Aaron Jazz Improv Magazine
His multiple musical interests have instilled in him the need to create new sounds by combining timeless musical practices with contemporary influences. He has appeared as soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles World Music Festival, many music festivals in Europe and the Kennedy Center where he was Artist-in-Residence. Tom produces hundreds of his solo performance “The Drum: Ancient Traditions Today”. In addition, he has presented clinics and performances throughout the US and Europe including Eastman School of Music and Princeton University. His numerous recordings and videos have met with critical acclaim from print media, including Modern Drummer Magazine where he was the subject of a feature article. His music is aired throughout the country and is often featured on NPR, including “All Things Considered”.
Tom has served as the Chair of the Percussion Department at Levine School of Music in Washington, DC where he is Artist-in-Residence. He also serves on the faculty of the University of the District of Columbia.
WORD-BEAT is available for concerts, workshops, and master classes in vocal technique and global-fusion percussion techniques.
THE SOUL DANCES is WORD-BEAT's second CD. Drawing heavily on various African proverbs and traditional African-American spirituals, Word-Beat delivers ancient wisdom wrapped in powerfully percussive grooves and uplifiting melodies. A triumphant celebration of the human spirit in both song and verse, underscored by Teasley's coloristic approach to the drum set and a variety of hand percussion instruments from around the workd and augmented by the dynamic presence of guest artists.