Archive for September, 2010
Take In an Evening of Premier Latin Jazz with Cuban Star Chucho Valdes and His Afro-Cuban Jazz Messengers: October 28th, Thursday @ 8:00 p.m.
Chucho Valdes comes to the Berklee Performance Center as part of the famed Boston Celebrity Series. He is regarded as one of Cuba’s top musicians amongst those jazz artists who continue to maintain their residency there. Not only is he an international star with respect to his piano virtuosity, but has also produced a successful career as a composer, arranger and bandleader. All About Jazz magazine views his artistry as a delightful combination of Cecil Taylor’s improvisational technique, Keith Jarrett’s melodic compositional style, Frederic Chopin’s steady rhythmic structuring, Ray Charles’ gospel oriented tunefullness, and many other notable attributes of the world’s most legendary artists. For this special performance, Valdes brings with him an all-star six piece jazz ensemble from Cuba which includes vocals. As a highly talented bandleader he has managed to highlight each performance of the group with his magnificent piano artistry while still allowing the other band members to adequately display their own virtuosity as well.
Valdes began on the piano at age three and was already leading a band by the tender age of sixteen. As the son of Cuban star Bebo Valdes, he continued to successfully develop his own music career which eventually led to the formation in 1973 of what was to become the number one band in all of Cuba, Irakere. Even though he has since further developed his performance career as a soloist and member of numerous additional ensembles, he still continues to direct this much beloved jazz orchestra. They are recognized as a leader in rhythmic innovation. As both a composer and performer Valdes has been awarded a Grammy no less than three times. (1978, 1998, and 2003) He has recorded over 80 cds and performed alongside such jazz greats as Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, Wynton Marsalis, and Chic Corea. Why not join some of Cuba’s best jazz artists for an evening of what promises to be some great music indeed!
When: October 28th, Thursday @ 8:00 p.m.
Where: Berklee Performance Center (Back Bay)
Tickets: $34.00 – $46.00
Purchase tickets online here
More Info: 617-482-6661
Help Save Our Wonderful Planet to the Beat of Global Rhythms: Drumming for the Planet Takes Place On: November 6th, Saturday @ 7:00 p.m.
Save the planet how? You may be asking. The answer is by reversing the global warming trend and the ghastly havoc it is wreaking upon our environment at this very moment. Yikes!!! This is a message which I have posted to the general public before and quite definitely is worth repeating time and time again as global warming poses as serious threat indeed to the well-being of our entire planet. Thanks to ethnomusicologist and world musician Warren Senders, he and his dedicated and talented colleagues now have a vehicle by which they can contribute to a cause that they all feel very passionate about, which is to reverse this devastating environmental trend. “Drumming for the Planet” is the third installment of a benefit concert series which professor Senders, himself, has produced in order to employ world music as a catalyst in order to rally support for the efforts of 350.org, an environmental organization which is dedicated to lowering the levels of CO2 in our atmosphere. This should in turn eventually put an end to global warming. These special performances involve local world music artists who represent various genres from all over the globe as this is indeed a world-wide crisis in the making. Quite simply what we have here is an evening of great world music supporting a great world cause.
Rakalam Bob Moses (video) – Currently a professor at the New England Conservatory of Music, Mr. Moses began his drumming career in contemporary/jazz music at age ten and rose to become one of the world’s top percussionists, having performed with likes of Charles Mingus, Pat Metheney, Abbey Lincoln, Terumasa Hino, Tsziji Munoz, and many many other international stars. As a composer and recording artist, he has received world-wide critical acclaim in such heavily circulated publications as Downbeat Magazine. He is the founder of the highly successful world music funk ensemble Mozamba which has been delighting its audiences for over 20 years.
Agbekor Drum and Dance Society (video) – Under the direction of Tufts University’s professor David Locke, this African drumming ensemble has been together for decades. They enthusiastically present to their audiences the indigenous music of the Ewe people of Ghana, Benin, and Togo. This music is highly characterized by its rhythmic intricacy and performances also involve the addition of vocals and dancing.
Akshay Navaladi (with Sri Ravi Torvi) (video) – This tabla virtuoso began his highly successful career at an early age as a recipient of the Ugadhi Purashkar award (2002) for child prodigies. Since then he has gone on to win additional national honors and has also appeared on Indian national television. He has performed with top artists of both the Hindustani and Carnatic disciplines including Shri K. N. Padmanabhan, Srimati Komala Varadhan, and Ustaad Iqbal Ahmad Khan. During his appearance at “Drumming for the Planet“, he will be accompanied on the harmonium.
For further info about these exceptional performers visit this link.
Last October, I had the fortune of attending an earlier concert, also put on by Mr. Senders for the same wonderful cause, this time in recognition of “International Climate Change Awareness Day.” As an ardent lover of world music, I thoroughly enjoyed the entire evening. Here is a summary of some of the highlights of that event, complete with photos. As I have said so many times before, it is truly a wonderful thing when world music can be employed as a catalyst in support of global well-being in any form. Kudos to Mr. Senders for giving us, the audience, yet another opportunity to be a part of such a wonderful project, complete with such exquisite music!
All proceeds of this event go to benefit the mission of 350.org.
When: Saturday, November 6th @ 7:00 p.m.
Where: Emmanuel Church (Boston)
Advance purchase options for tickets are available until 3:oo p.m. on the day of the concert
More Info: 781-396-0734 OR email@example.com
Dance the Night Away to the Latest Greek Hits and Timeless Classics @ the Umbria Ristorante’s Ultra Lounge: October 10th, Sunday (10:30 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.)
There’s a Greek dance party going on in downtown Boston over the Columbus Day weekend, and guess what? You’re invited! Come on out to Greek Night at the Umbria Ristorante’s Ultra Lounge and dance with your dj host to the latest contemporary Greek hits as well as some old familiar classics. When it comes to this type of event in the world music arena, those Latinos can sure show the rest of us how to party and the number of dance evenings they host in the Boston area is astronomical! Well now, if a night of dancing and prancing is at all your thing then here’s your chance to enjoy a little change of pace- Greek style. Oh, and just so you’ll be aware, these folks cater to the 25 and over crowd and appropriate party attire is the word of the evening. I, myself, relish the excuse to dress-up in a little glitz and glamour now and then.
The restaurant itself is an Italian-style steak house, so if you come early, you can enjoy dinner. In addition to the usual steaks and chops which are to be expected, the menu also offers some Italian-style pasta and seafood dishes as well. For starters you can enjoy a wild mushroom and dolce garganzola soup … Perhaps to be followed by Chilean sea bass all’Acquapazza (in a garlic and herb marinara sauce), lobster Fra Diavolo (in a spicey marinara sauce), or seafood Cioppino (fish stew). Check out the rest of the menu here. So, if you’re looking for a fun and entertaining way to familiarize yourself with some popular Greek music or an opportunity to just enjoy dancing to the already familiar, then Greek Night is the event is for you.
When: October 10th, Sunday (10:30 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.)
Where: Umbria Ristorante (Ultra Lounge) (downtown Boston)
Admission: $20.00 cover charge
More Info: 617 – 338 – 1000
Spend an Evening at the Balinese Opera Where East Meets West: “A House in Bali” Comes to Boston: Octoer 8th – 9th, Friday & Saturday @ 7:30 p.m.
View excerpts from A House In Bali.
This world music opera showcases the unique and innovative compositional talents of MIT professor Evan Ziporyn who is known for his masterful abilities at harmoniously blending the ancient traditional music of Bali with progressive sounds from the West. A multi-media showpiece, A House in Bali features an intriguing global combination of various music and dance genres performed by the Balinese gamelan Salukat (Dewa Ketut Alit, director), the electronic music ensemble Bang On A Can All-Stars, Balinese dancers (Kadek Dewi Aryani, choreographer), and singers from Bali and the West. All of this is accompanied by a projected media display of the traditional performing arts of Bali. Ziporyn brings his 28 years of traditional gamelan experience to the mix while redefining this ancient performing art within a truly leading-edge Western musical setting. He is assisted in this effort by librettist Paul Schnick, director, Jay Scheib, and set designer, Sara Brown.
Travel to what was Bali during the 1930s with Canadian musical prodigy Colin McPhee who has abandoned his studies in Paris to pursue a passionate interest in Balinese gamelan music. As he establishes residence in Bali, he must not only gain the favor of local village folk, but also successfully hold off the destructive advances of Dutch government officials who are determined to foil this young musician’s plans to revive what he fears is a dying art. Joining McPhee in this cultural mission are anthropologist Margaret Meade and artist Walter Spies. Sadly this true story does not end well for the composer who is ultimately expelled from the country he has grown to love and respect. Nonetheless though, he is still revered as a local hero in Bali to this present day. The production is not only entertaining, but culturally educational as well, as it depicts events surrounding a century of Western involvement in Balinese affairs. You can read the rave reviews at the show’s website. For further information on this leading-edge composition as well as some of the composer’s personal insights on his work, check out this article from the Boston Globe.
Professor Ziporyn has led a distinguished career not ony as a composer, but also as a performer and musical director as well. His work has received world-wide critical acclaim and his compositions, some of which have been commissioned by the top names in the music business, are widely recorded and played frequently the world over. In addition, he has collaborated on various projects with several well-known composers. As a performer he has appeared at major venues, played and/or recorded with some of the world’s best musicians, and been associated with a number of large record labels. He has appeared more than once on National Public Radio and directed not only some of the top Balinese gamelans but Western music ensembles as well. Check out the details of this illustrious career on the show’s web site. The list of well-known names with which Ziporyn has been associated goes on and on. Come and experience an engaging musical union of East meets West as “A House in Bali” comes to Boston.
When: October 8th & 9th, Friday & Saturday @ 7:30 p.m.
Where: Cutler Majestic Theatre (downtown Boston)
Tickets: $30.00, $40.00, and $50.00
Purchase online here
More Info: 617 – 824 – 8000
Help Save the Rainforest While Enjoying the Fabulous Flamenco Music of Juanito Pascual and Friends: October 9th, Saturday @ 8:00 p.m.
Oh boy!!! As always, I am excited to see benefit concerts put on by world musicians which support the well-being of our wonderful planet, whether it be with respect to world peace, the environment, helping those in need, or any other pressing global issue. Local flamenco sensation Juanito Pascual and his ensemble are giving just such a concert in order to support the environmental restoration efforts of the Junglewood artist community, located in Panama’s dense rainforest. Junglewood, which includes a yet to be constructed center for the performing and visual arts, will be a vital part of the rainforest rehabilitation program of the Mamoni Valley Preserve. The residents of this community, which is still largely under development at this stage, will be actively engaged in exploring the positive connections between the artistic creative process and effective environmental preservation strategies.
The central message of this very special evening will be that music can indeed be a strong motivational force behind a desire to honor and protect one’s natural environment. Juanito Pascual is also extremely proud to musically commemorate the occasion of his recent appointment as an additional co-founder of Junglewood. As a guitarist and composer, he is currently recognized internationally as one of the brightest new stars in the world of flamenco music. He brings to the genre his own distinct brand of world fusion and is heralded in Spain, the heart of flamenco, as a true master of his craft with respect to his creatively virtuosic and emotionally vibrant playing technique as well as his leading edge compositional style. As a graduate of the New England Conservatory, he has already gone on to lead quite an impressive career at such a young age, while enjoying the privilege of working with many of the world’s top musicians and dancers along the way. For this special performance he has gathered together a fine cast of instrumentalists to accompany him including: Stan Strickland (vocals, saxophone, flute), Jose Moreno (flamenco dancing, vocals), Rohan Gregory (violin), Sergio Martinez (percussion), Tal Gamleili (bass), Seiki Tamura (guitar), and other special guests. Don’t miss this opportunity to help save the rainforest in a truly unique and creative way while treating yourself to some of the best flamenco music around!
When: October 9th, Saturday @ 8:00 p.m.
Where: Somerville Theatre
Tickets: $42.00, $32.00, & $20.00
More Info: 617-625-4088
Experience the Instrumental Music of China with Canada’s Prestigious Yellow River Ensemble: September 22nd, Wednesday @ 7:30 p.m.
Listen to the Yellow River Ensemble.
The Yellow River Ensemble, under the direction of Kim Morris-Chow, is one of Canada’s most renowned performers of traditional and contemporary Chinese instrumental music. The group’s membership includes highly accomplished professionals from the faculties of York University and the University of Toronto, virtuoso soloists, and premier members of the highly esteemed Toronto Chinese Orchestra. In addition to their national appearances, they have toured internationally as well, traveling to the United States, Great Britain, Poland, Hong Kong, Singapore, and China. They have performed for high government officials and have been featured numerous times on China’s national network CCTV. In addition to Dr. Chow-Morris, the distinguished membership of the Yellow River Ensemble includes Jaro Dabrowski, Patty Chan, and Miriam Sue. They will entertain you to the ethnic sounds of the dizi, xiao, zhongruan, hulusi, gaouhu, erhu, guzhena, and various percussion instruments.
As director of the ensemble, Dr. Kim Chow-Morris lends her extensive scholarly background and performance expertise to the group’s development. A well-established virtuoso in her own right, she has been a steady performer on both Western and Chinese flutes (dizi and xiao) for over 20 years and is currently honored as Canada’s top Chinese musician. She holds a PhD in ethnomusicology as a Chinese instrumental music specialist and ultimately established Chinese music programs at both York University and the University of Toronto. She has studied traditional Chinese music with some of the most highly respected masters and has received numerous grants and awards for her work. In addition to her membership with the Toronto Chinese Orchestra, she has performed around the globe with some of the world’s most renowned Chinese and Canadian-Chinese virtuosos. She has also been invited to play for top Canadian and Chinese government officials, appeared on television, and been featured in magazines. Wednesday evening’s performance by the Yellow River Ensemble presents a special opportunity indeed for Boston area residents to experience top quality Chinese instrumental chamber music.
When: September 22nd, Wednesday @ 7:30 p.m.
Where: Wheaton College (Mary Lyon Hall’s Woolley Room)
More Info: 508-286-3644 (Betsy Cronin)
Among the band’s many accomplishments, they have performed in 35 countries across the globe and recorded over 20 cds to date. They have also appeared with a lengthy roster of international stars including: Michael Jackson, Paul Simon, Simone, Daniela Mercury, Jimmy Cliff, Sadao Wantanabe, Spike Lee, Herbie Hancock, and Butabaruka. If you’re looking for a true taste of carnaval, the #1 celebration throughout Brazil, then I highly recommend that you spend and evening with Olodum and catch some samba fever!