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South African cellist Abel Selaocoe (pronounced Sa-LAU-chay) is redefining the parameters of the cello. Abel combines virtuosic performance with improvisation, singing and body percussion, and focuses on highlighting the links between Western and non-Western musical traditions to help classical music reach a more diverse audience. He’s the perfect guest for Passport to Africa.

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In 1890, the Romantic French composer Camille Saint-Saëns traveled to Ceylon, then to Alexandria and Cairo. During his travels, Saint-Saëns collected much of the region’s indigenous music, often transcribing themes on the spot. While in Egypt, he composed Africa, a fantasy for piano and orchestra based on genuine North African sources, including various songs and dances of Egypt and Algeria.

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