Duke Performances: Moonchild: A Celebration of the Life and Music of Yusif Salim

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( Fri., Oct. 28, 2022 - Sat., Oct. 29, 2022 )

Hayti Heritage Center, 804 Old Fayetteville Street, Durham, NC 27701


Jazz pianist and composer Yusuf Salim — known by his friends as Brother Yusuf — was born in Baltimore but spent the last three decades of his life in Durham, NC. In his adopted hometown, Brother Yusuf became a cultural catalyst, helping to establish a thriving, nationally visible jazz scene by nurturing the younger musicians in his orbit, including Nnenna Freelon, Chip Crawford, and Rachim Sahu, among others. This special two-day celebration of Brother Yusuf’s life and legacy at Durham’s historic Hayti Heritage Center begins on Friday, October 28, with North Carolina Central University jazz studies director Brian Horton leading an electrifying big band assembled for the occasion through new arrangements of Brother Yusuf’s compositions, featuring celebrated saxophonist Gary Bartz and multi-GRAMMY-nominated vocalist Nnenna Freelon. On Saturday, October 29, a smaller ensemble will showcase Freelon and four other Triangle-based vocalists — Frankie AlexanderEve CorneliousLois Deloatch, and Adia Ledbetter — spotlighting the intimate lyrical explorations of Brother Yusuf’s music.

Part of Duke Performances’ Building Bridges: Muslims in America series, the celebration will also include a free public panel discussion and an introduction to ‘Moonchild,’ a documentary film in production about Salim’s life by Durham filmmaker Kenny Dalsheimer. The conversation will touch upon Brother Yusuf’s lifelong musical and spiritual journey, including his embrace of Islam as a means of fostering peace, love, and unity — and his approach to building a community in which music could serve as a force for lasting connection and transformation.



  • Friday, October 28, 2022 at 8:00 PM
  • Saturday, October 29, 2022 at 4:00 PM