Have you ever noticed that the most joyous music often comes from the most troubled places? Such is the case with Uganda, where musicians spread a message of hope that flies directly in the face of the country's longstanding civil war. That sense of pride informs the performance at 7 tonight of Spirit of Africa
, a touring ensemble of Ugandan children and teenagers that visits the Carlsen Center at Johnson County Community College (12345 College Boulevard in Overland Park, 913-469-4445). Many of the two dozen orphans who make up the group lost their parents to AIDS, an epidemic that still plagues Uganda. Spirit of Africa performs the kind of joyful, rhythmic, call-and-response music that Paul Simon channeled on Graceland
, employing vibrant dancers, polyrhythmic hand drumming and native musicians to tell the Ugandan story. Tickets cost $14 for children and $28 for adults.
Fri., Feb. 29, 7 p.m., 2008