Archive for February, 2010

Come One, Come All to the Yiddish Singalong! – Select Thursdays (7:30 – 9:00 p.m.)

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)

Admission: Free

More Info: Contact list

(Neighborhood Restaurants)


February 28, 2010 at 3:26 pm Leave a comment

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!  







Event Details:

When: March 13th – Saturday (7:00 p.m. – 2:30 a.m.)  

               Dancing begins at 9:00 p.m.

Where: Friends of the Performing Arts in Concord

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) 

           Available online OR by mail order OR by calling (781) 662-7475

Attention!!! For further important purchasing details consult the event page. 

February 24, 2010 at 7:53 pm Leave a comment

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 vocalistsTuvan 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

(Neighborhood Restaurants)




February 22, 2010 at 1:17 am Leave a comment

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.




February 20, 2010 at 10:00 pm Leave a comment

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 ChieftainsThe 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).



February 17, 2010 at 3:09 pm Leave a comment

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! 




Concert Details:

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

February 14, 2010 at 3:26 am Leave a comment

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



February 12, 2010 at 8:11 pm Leave a comment

Belly Dance New England: A One Stop Source of Info on Belly Dancing and the Music That Goes with It

The Belly Dance New England web site aims to be a catch-all for information related to belly dancing in the New England area. True to its word, it provides listings and articles related to many different aspects of the art. From a world music/dance perspective,  you’ll find a ton of info here. First and foremost, there are local event listings both on the homepage and in the calendar section. There’s also a nifty little feature area entitled Sequins of Events (love the clever play on words here) which contains articles of miscellaneous interest, including additional event announcements, reviews and other news items. For a list of individual dancers and their performance dates, you can check out this link. By the way, if you’re still looking for opportunities to support the Haitian relief efforts, they have provided a separate listing for such benefit events specifically.

Looking for a great way to express yourself, get exercise, and at the same time be able to listen to lots of Middle Eastern music? Why not take up belly dancing for a little fun. I do, myself,  and absolutely love it! The best part though, I have to admit, is just moving my body to all that wonderful Arabic music. Belly Dance New England can get you started in this wonderful activity with their listings of teachers and available classes, as well as local vendors which specialize in belly dance oriented products, including music. 

I also want to make special mention here of this music education link. What a great place to explore if you just want to learn more about the belly dance music genre in general, or as it relates to the New England scene locally. Now that I  have given you some of the highlights of all that Belly Dance New has to offer to the world music listener, go ahead and poke around the web site and see what you can discover for yourself! Subscribe to their RSS feed for event updates and/or to their bi-monthly online magazine, for more in-depth information from the belly dance world.

February 10, 2010 at 7:21 pm Leave a comment

Haitian Relief Benefit Concert at Johnny D’s: Don’t Miss International Star & Haitian Singing Icon Emeline Michel in a Special Appearance – February 18th, Thursday @ 7:30 p.m.

Listen to Emeline Michel.

On Thursday evening, February 18th, Johnny D’s in Somerville is the place to be for fantastic world music and dancing fun. All of the proceeds from this Haitian relief benefit concert will go to support Oxfam America in their efforts to bring much needed aide to the citizens of this country in crisis. Headlining the show will be one of Haiti’s biggest and brightest stars ever, songstress Emeline Michel, to be accompanied by Boston’s local world music greats Zili Misik, Samba Tremeterra, and Alex Alvear

Singing sensation Emeline Michel has been dubbed “The Queen of Haitian Song” and is enjoying a stellar career spanning over two decades thus far. Also an accomplished songwriter and producer, she has endeared countless fans of her native homeland and world-wide with her mesmerizing stage presence and trademark style, which is a blend of traditional Haitian beats such as compas, rara, and twoubadou and other genres including, jazz, pop, bossa nova, and samba. All this is punctuated with wildly popular socially concious, uplifting, and though-provoking lyrics. 

From gospel singer at her local church, Michel’s career has propelled her to national  stardom, not only in her native Haiti, but where she has lived elsewhere in her travels, including France, Canada, and the United States. She has gone on to become a favorite amongst singing fans in the Caribbean area and world-wide, as well.  After landing numerous recording contracts in all of the countries where she has worked during this lengthy career, she has now formed her own production company, Production Choral De Feu, in order to better project her own pure artistic vision to the rest of the world. This vision has earned her such honorable performance invitations as to be the leading act at former president Clinton’s 2006 Clinton Global Initiative, a prestigious gathering of over 2,000 of the world’s most influential leaders and philosophers. 

Don’t miss out on what promises to be a night of  fabulous entertainment. Best if all, its for such a great cause!


Event Details :
When: February 18th – Thursday @ 7:30 p.m. 
Where: Johnny D’s Uptown (across from the Davis Square T stop) 

Admission: $20.00 cover charge (Table reservations optional) (Dinner menu)

More Info:  617-776-2004 


February 6, 2010 at 4:45 pm Leave a comment

Keep Tabs on Boston Area Reggae Events with Reggae 4i

If you want to be sure and not miss out on any of the major reggae concerts which are happening in and around Boston, then you certainly want to keep connected with the folks at Reggae 4i  on a periodic basis, as they list  some of the biggies on their web site. Although these event listings are not meant to be extensive, they are definitely informative and worth taking a look at now and then. The site also contains lots of sound links for your listening pleasure, which are the courtesy of artists represented by KRucial Reggae, a local agency. Some of these musicians are based in the Boston area, so if you like what you hear, you can make it a point to attend some of their performances in person. Furthermore, if you subscribe to the Reggae 4i newsletter, you will be treated to free MP3 downloads  and special discounts.



February 3, 2010 at 2:30 pm Leave a comment

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February 2010