Archive for February, 2010
I know that this blog is primarily about listening to great world music rather than making it, but a little active participation in the performance now and then never hurts. If you’d like to try your hand at singing in Yiddish, while gaining valuable exposure to the Jewish song repertoire, then head on over to the Boston Workmen’s Circle (Center for Jewish Culture and Social Justice) for their group singing sessions. Participation is very easy as there is no prior knowledge of Yiddish or particular level of singing expertise required. Sounds like a lot of fun to me and very educational to boot. You can enjoy these musical gatherings on the 4th Thursday of every month, however, I would check the center’s event calendar before attending, just to be on the safe side.
In addition to this group activity, the center also sponsors a coffee house three or four times a year, featuring Jewish music performed by professional artists from the local community. They are also home to the largest Jewish community chorus in the country. A Besere Velt (A better World) performs a number of concerts throughout the year, including a special performance with the highly acclaimed Klezmatics entitled Stand Up Sing Out!, and has also recorded a cd. True to their name, this groups sings Yiddish folk songs, the lyrics of which depict the plight of the Eastern European immigrant and cry out for social justice and equality for all. Subscribe to The Workmen’s Circle mailing list and you will be informed of any upcoming performances of special musical interest. If you want to get further involved, you can become a member of the organization or read their newsletter.
Event Details :
When: Thursdays (4th one of every month) (7:30-9:00 p.m.)
Where: Boston Workmen’s Circle (Brookline)
More Info: Contact list
Don’t Miss One of the Best Dance Parties of the Year!: Balkan Music Night is Sure to Please – Saturday, March 13th (7:00 p.m. – 2:30 a.m.)
Attention!!! Must see video of Balkan Music Night 2009 (some highlights)
Balkan Music Night, in my opinion, is one of the most innovative and creative world music events that the Boston area has to offer- and it is definitely a lot of fun too! I should know because I, myself, went last year and was so glad I did. This annual one night festival, sponsored by the Folk Arts Center of New England (FAC), is now in its 25th year, and I can see why. Every year, over 20 Balkan music ensembles from Boston and beyond gather to perform- all under one roof. They serve as wonderful accompaniment to plenty of lively folk dancing and group singalongs which go on all evening long and well into the wee hours of the morning. Those Slavs sure know how to party!
The evening begins with a 2 hour concert featuring a few of the participants a sort of sneak preview of good things to come. Then the dancing begins! Beginners and singles are encouraged to participate along with the rest of the crowd, as dance formations are set-up for groups rather than couples and there is an instructor on hand at the beginning of each new dance to teach the steps to the novices. In fact, in some cases, the steps are so basic that they can quite easily be followed on one’s own. Folk ensemble participants range from small instrumental groups to large choruses, each performing about a half hour set, so there is a wide variety of music to be heard and enjoyed as you dance the night away. There’s even a few scattered performances throughout the evening of specially trained folk dance groups, each putting on their own little show for the crowd. Chances are that all this exercise will cause you to work-up quite an appetite. You can satisfy your hunger by paying a visit to one of the food vendors on hand in the lobby selling all kinds of delectable treats. And while you’re there, you can browse through the display of folk music cds on sale from the Folk Arts Center of New England’s music store, Little Shop of Horas. (See previous post – 5/23/2009)
I am certain that the multidimensional nature of this event is a key factor in allowing it to sustain its popularity year after year. In addition to the magnificent dance party described above, there is an alternative performance venue that attendees can opt to visit if they are looking for a more intimate, low-key atmosphere in which to enjoy this wonderful evening of live Balkan music. Smaller ensembles will be performing in this sit-down-concert-style Kefana where you can rest assured that there is more great entertainment to enjoy. So, whatever your particular mood dictates for the evening, be it a high energy dance party or a relaxed, laid-back retreat, Balkan Music Night is sure to please!
When: March 13th – Saturday (7:00 p.m. – 2:30 a.m.)
Dancing begins at 9:00 p.m.
Tickets: $25.00 (Whole event), $20.00 (Concert only), $15.00 (Dance party only)
$1.00 discount (FAC members) / $2.00 discount (Seniors and children under 12)
Attention!!! For further important purchasing details consult the event page.
Experience the Amazing and Highly Unique Sound of Tuvan Throat Singing as the Alash Ensemble Comes to Boston – Friday, March 5th @ 8:00 p.m.
Listen to Alash singer.
The unique character of Tuvan throat singing is based upon the capability of the human voice to produce multiple pitches simultaneously sometimes up to four at one time, and in some cases, with lyrics no less. That’s an awful lot for one voice to handle. This amazing vocal technique is the most highly valued cultural treasure that Tuva, a tiny republic of Russia, has to share with the rest of the world. Unique to this region located in southern Siberia next to Mongolia, this manner of singing was long hidden from global view, practiced only by the local herdsmen in the area who initially developed it.
The Alash ensemble, named for a Tuvan river, is steadfast in its mission to bring this ancient intriguing vocal art to audiences around the world. Not only do they sing, but they also accompany themselves on a myriad of ethnic instruments, often adorned with carvings of horses’ heads, as horses hold a special place of honor within their native culture. Even though these musicians are highly trained in Tuvan traditional styles, they also have a great respect for and love of Western music genres as well, and consistently bring elements from them into performances of their own native repertoire. This practice they say is a way of not only assuring the group its own special musical identity, but also of keeping the ancient genre of throat singing in a highly important continual state of development and growth.
I highly recommend that you take a look at the group’s web site if you have any further interest in more information of any kind. There is a ton of material here! Some of the highlights include, background on the vocalists, Tuvan throat singing techniques , and ethnic instruments used for accompaniment (complete with sound and/or video), media coverage of Tuvan life and culture, performance reviews, a photo gallery, and a cd store. Go ahead and poke around to see what else you can find on your own in addition. All in all, if you’re looking for a unique and educational listening experience, I can guarantee you that you will find both at this special performance of the Alash ensemble.
Concert Details :
When: March 5th – Friday @ 8:00 p.m.
Where: Amazing Things Art Center (Framingham)
Tickets: $22.00, $21.00 (students and seniors), $19.00 (members)
Purchase online or by calling (501) 405-ARTS/x2787
Don’t Miss Boston’s First Jewish Music Festival: One Whole Week of Top-Notch Cultural Entertainment – March 6th – 14th
The Boston Jewish Music Festival (March 6th-14th) looks indeed to be a full week of some of the very best in world music entertainment! This musical extravaganza is designed with the aim of further uniting the local Jewish community through it’s exposure to some of the native culture’s best and brightest international and local stars, while entertaining the rest of us non-Jews as well. The opening concert will start things off on a “high note” with performances by Klezmer revival greats The Klezmer Conservatory Band along with prolific recording artists Golem. Other well-known names appearing throughout the week will include Ladino star Flory Jagoda, platinum recording artists Habanot Nechama of Israel, and the increasingly popular Israeli vocalist, Ruth Dolores Weiss.
Audiences will be treated to international Jewish music of all genres from classical to folk to rock-n-roll, and everything in between in the form of concerts, workshops, lectures, parties and more, designed for listener’s of all ages. Events are to be held at various concert venues throughout the Boston area. Take a look at the festival brochure for performance details, complete with photos of the participants. If you want a general idea as to what the festival is all about, as well as a bit of an education on certain aspects of Jewish music, then you will find this article from the Phoenix to be of interest.
In order to obtain tickets, just visit the festival web site and look in either the Event Info or Tickets sections for purchasing details which will vary with each individual event. If need be, you can also contact the event organizers for further info.
If you are interested in further supporting the Boston Jewish Music Festival, there are various ways to do it including donating either funds or your time, or just by keeping abreast of local news relating to the festival itself or Jewish music in general. In order to stay informed, you can read the blog or join the mailing list (see far right of web site screen). However, the very best way to support this most valuable cultural cause is, of course, to simply come to the festival and enjoy it! And don’t forget to tell others all about it so the event will become even bigger and better next year.
St. Patrick’s Day Is Fast Approaching: Get a Heads-Up On All the Upcoming Musical Celebration with the Boston Irish Tourism Association (BITA)
St. Patrick’s season is just around the corner! That’s right- I did say season because in Massachusetts, which is hailed as the most Irish-American state in the entire nation, it is a long-standing tradition that this particular holiday be celebrated for a lot longer than just one day. That’s definitely good news, of course, for local Irish music fans. The best way to assure yourself that you do not miss out on any of all this upcoming action is to keep informed of concerts and other related events well ahead of time. You can do just that by visiting the web site of the Boston Irish Tourism Association (BITA).
First and foremost, you definitely want to take a look at their March event calendar which lists quite a lot of the local holiday happenings taking place in the area. Musically speaking, I noticed amongst the listings several wildly popular artist’s names such as The Chieftains, The Celtic Tenors, and Riverdance, to name a few. So, buy your tickets now as some of these events are sure to sell out. You might also want to peruse their informative summary article which will give you an overall picture of the local festivities for this year.
Don’t stop at St. Patrick’s season though, because BITA’s web site is a good source of Irish music and dance event announcements no matter what time of the year it is. For instance, in the Cultural Venues section, mention is made of a few annual music/dance festivals that look to be very entertaining indeed. Under Cultural Groups you will find listings for performers, Irish music radio programs, and local cultural organizations. If it’s live music entertainment in an informal setting that you are seeking, then take a peek at the Pubs & Restaurants section. In addition to their informative press releases on various events, which can be found in the Media section of the web site, BITA also publishes their own handy little annual magazine entitled Irish Food and Culture Guide. It can be obtained for free at the tourists’ kiosks either in Copley Square (corner of Boylston and Dartmouth streets) or at the Boston Common (Tremont street side).
Celebrate Chinese New Year 2010 through Music with the Boston Chinese Chamber Music Group – Sunday, February 28th (2:30-3:30 p.m.)
After their well received performance of last year, the Boston Chinese Chamber Music Group returns to the Boston Public Library to ring in the Chinese New Year. Welcome in the Year of the Tiger, while being serenaded with the ethnic sounds of Chinese traditional instruments such as the Guzheng, Erhu, and bamboo flute. Performing since 2001, this ensemble includes many award winning artists amongst its membership, so you know that you will be in for a real treat indeed! To top it all off, there will also be ethnic dance performances as well. This promises to be a family-oriented and economy-friendly (free) performance, so come on over to the public library and bring along the whole gang along!
Where: Boston Public Library @ Copley Square
Venue: Rabb Lecture Hall (Ground floor of the Johnson Building)
When: Sunday, February 28th (2:30-3:30 p.m.)
Admission: Free to all
For additional info. contact: 617 – 536 – 5400
Join Boston’s Own Award Winning Global Fusion Band Atlas Soul for an Evening of Great Music for a Great Cause: Help Bring Education to the Children of Ghana – Friday, February 26th, from 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.
Listen to Atlas Soul.
Atlas Soul is undeniably one of Boston’s best global fusion bands and they have the awards and the fans to prove it! What I find most intriguing about them is their ability to successfully blend musical elements from so many diverse cultures into one great sound. At last count, I found them to be singing in six different languages to the tune of their own truly unique brand of music which is a combination of at least 16 different genres from various parts of the world. (for further details on Atlas Soul, please check out my previous post on the band – 9/17/2009) The group’s motto is World-Music-for-World-Peace which rings true not only through their heavily internationally influenced music, but in their actions as well. They are excited to announce that all proceeds from their next performance will go to support Blue Kitabu, a local African children’s relief organization, in their efforts to build a new school as well as an educational program for the children of Ghana.
Joining Atlas Soul in this benefit concert will be the ZMP Band for what promises to be a night of great music and lots of dancing fun. Add to this an all-you-can-eat Mexican buffet, compliments of event hosts Cantina La Mexicana (complete with Boston’s Best Award winning burritos), and you have quite the perfect evening in store. In addition, for a little added excitement, door prizes will be raffled off, including African batiks and restaurant gift certificates. So why not give yourself one great evening for one great cause!
Event Details :
When: February 26th – Friday (9:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.)
Where: Cantina La Mexicana (Taqueria La Mexicana)
Tickets: $25.00 (Includes entertainment, buffet, and 5 raffle tickets)
Available at Blue Kitabu’s web site OR at the door
More Info: (617) 776-5232