Archive for January, 2011

Warm Up a Cold Weekend in January with the Award-Winning Progressive Island Sounds of John Brown’s Body: January 21st, Friday@ 8:00 p.m.

Listen to John Brown’s Body.

I was very glad to see the posting for this upcoming show at the infamous House of Blues, as several members of  John Brown’s Body are also members of Dub Apoclaypse, recent winners of the most coveted Boston Music Award for Best International Artist of the Year. (See my previous post) This band is a huge local favorite, which should come as no surprise since their latest original release “Amplify” debuted at #1 on the Billboard reggae charts, #10 on the CMJ world music charts, and also made iTunes’ list of top 10 reggae albums of 2008. The band labels their music as “Future Roots Reggae”.  And a well-deserved label it is, as John Brown’s Body is considered to be one of the most successful progressive-style reggae bands in the entire world. The musical formula responsible for their success consists of  an artful blending of a rather large number of  other genres with reggae rhythms including dub, dubstep, hip-hop, electronica, funk, and ska. Add to that the lyrical melodies of lead vocalist/composer Elliot Martin, a trademark of his for which he is very well-known, and some rather unique instrumentation within the band and you have one top-notch, cutting-edge reggae sound with a magnificent stage presence to boot. It is refreshing to note, however, that the band has not lost its distinctively roots reggae character, in spite of it all. Their music, unique as it is, still screams reggae, loud and clear! John Brown’s Body’s current membership includes: Elliot Martin, co-founder (lead vocals), Tommy Benedetti, co-founder (drums), Mike Keenan (guitar), Scott Flynn (trombone), Sam Dechenne (trumpet), Drew Seyers (saxophone), Nate Edgar (bass), Matthew “Kofi” Goodwin (organ), with Jason “Jocko” Randall (sound engineer). The band has begun to tour internationally in earnest, having made stops in France, Belgium, Germany, Holland, and Canada in the spring of this past year.

Also appearing in the show will be Spiritual Rez and Zion Train, along with djs Mister Rourke and Axel Foley. If  you come hungry, you can catch dinner before the performance. Check out the menu here. Let John Brown’s Body be your host for an evening of reggae fusion at its very best!


Event Details:

When: January 21st, Friday @ 8:00 p.m.

                 Doors open at 7:00 p.m.

Where: House of Blues (Kenmore Square)

Tickets: Standing room only

                    $20.00 (Advance) / $22.00 (At the door)

   Purchase  in person at the Orpheum Theater (Box Office) – Open Mon. – Sat.: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. OR online

More Info: 888-693-BLUE (2583) 




January 17, 2011 at 2:16 am Leave a comment

Enter into the Exotic and Enchanting Cultural World of the Rajasthani People of India: January 21st, Friday @ 8:00 p.m.

Enjoy an excerpt from “The Rhythm of Rajasthan.”

Come revel in the exotic music, dance and poetry of the Thar Desert region of Northern India at the Boston debut of “The Rhythm of Rajasthan“. These cultural treasures are presented to us through the efforts of Rajasthani scholar Nitin Nath Harsh, who is the mastermind behind a massive project to promote the native performing arts of this area on stages not only across India, but internationally as well. The performance company for this particular show consists of 6 musicians (instrumental and vocal) and the dancer Suva Devi who was a subject of the highly successful documentary “Latcho Drom”. 

The musicians are from the Langa and Manganiar artists’ communities of Rajasthan. These highly revered professionals generally perform for more well-to-do patrons of the region while maintaining a huge presence there. As Rajasthan is the mother county’s largest state, the traditional music of the Langas and Manganiars continues to be a major part of India’s overall cultural picture, thus making it, in of itself, a rather prominent world music genre. It is best  known for its emotionally memorizing qualities which have allowed it to become very popular worldwide. While shaped by both Hindu and Muslim influences, this folk genre is very closely tied to all aspects of Rajastani daily life, which helps to give it its rather distinctive cultural identity. This identity is further characterized by the employment of ethnic instruments such as the Sindhi Sarangi, Khamaycha, and Dholak. 

Devi will be performing a genre of dance called Kalbeliya, native to a nomadic group of professional snake dealers. That’s right, I did say snakes- Yikes!!! Performed by the women of the group, it is characterized by the lilting motion of the colorfully beaded homemade hoop-style skirts they wear. Amazingly, this art form is never actually taught to the “younger generation” but learned rather by mere observation on their part. In addition, classical Rajasthani poetry will be recited in Dingal. This ancient language is associated with a technique involving the special use of phonetic sounds in order to evoke specific emotions within those who hear them being recited. In fact, this literary device is  so effective that one can actually feel these emotions without understanding the actual meaning of a single word! In many regions of the world this powerful form of poetry is banned from public consumption. Luckily though, that is not the case here in the good ole US of A.  So, come on over to the First Congregational Church in Cambridge and treat yourself to what promises to be an intriguing evening of cultural exotica from Rajasthan, India.

Event Details:

When: January 21st, Friday @ 8:00 p.m.

Where: First Church in Cambridge

Tickets: $28.oo

More Info: 617-876-4275

(Area Restaurants)               


January 16, 2011 at 3:23 pm Leave a comment

Ignite Your Senses with the Passion, Electricity, and Excitement that is the Bale Folclorico da Bahia: January 22nd, Saturday @ 8:00 p.m.

Watch  the Bale Folclorico da Bahia. 

So here we are folks, locked into the cold, icy doldrums of mid-winter once again. However, fear not, the Bale Folclorico da Bahia (BFB) has come to the rescue with a show that is designed to heat up even the bleakest January night! 24 dancers, instrumentalists,and vocalists strong, this Brazilian dance troupe literally lights up the entire performance venue wherever they go, never-failing to bring the audience out of their seats, dancing to the highly energetic beats of  Afro-Brazilian folk and popular music at its finest. Founded in Salvador, Bahai in 1988 by Walson Botel and Ninho Reis, they are Brazil’s sole professional dance company and already in their very first year of performance  were named “Best Performer of the Year” by the country’s  Ministry of Culture. Since then they have been considered Brazil’s top dance troupe, becoming wildly popular not only in their homeland, but on a world-wide scale abroad, as well. Their performance repertoire consists of Afro-Brazilian folkloric dance scenarios based on traditional genres including slave dances, capoeira, samba, and those presented at the spectacularly colorful celebration of Brazilian Carnival. Artistic director Jose Carlos Arandiba, brings these traditional dance forms to life on stage with contemporary, innovative choreography designed to appeal to general audiences the world over. And who wouldn’t be absolutely dazzled by a spectacle of color, action-packed choreography accented with  acrobatic and martial arts movements, intensely rhythmic music, and high drama. This show is non-stop high energy from beginning to end.

 In 2008, Bale Folclorico da Bahia commemorated its 20th anniversary with a new show comprised of both old favorites and brand new dance numbers. Learn more about this highly successful dance company’s accomplishments by visiting their website history and award pages. And if you do have the good fortune of attending their upcoming Boston performance, be prepared to be razzled and dazzled, while experiencing a truly euphoric emotional high.
Event Details:

When: January 22nd, Saturday @ 8:00 p.m.

Where: Boston Opera House (Downtown Boston)

Tickets: $65.00, $50.00, and $40.00

       Visit World Music CrashArts website for purchasing details

More Info: Contacts (World Music CrashArts)

(Area Restaurants)


January 13, 2011 at 3:33 am Leave a comment

Travel Back to “Old” Armenia with the Arev Armenian Folk Ensemble: January 17th, Monday @ 8:00 p.m.

The Arev Armenian Folk Ensemble are a group of musicians with a heartfelt mission to bring traditional Armenian music to audiences at large in its very purest and  most authentic form. This is the folk music of the ancient, once free and independent, Armenia of 3000 years ago, before it’s culture was diluted at the hands of the country’s oppressors who infused it with Turkish, Russian, and Arabic influences. Luckily, the loyal citizens of the Armenian diaspora have started a worldwide cultural trend aimed at “purifying” the performances of their native music, rendering them free of these outside influences.

Under the capable leadership of director Martin Haroutunian, the virtuosos of the Arev Ensemble employ the use of both ancient folk and more modern native instruments in order to effectively recreate the truly authentic sound of Armenian music in its original form. Founded in 1989, the group continues to develop and increase its popularity. Haroutunian credits this success to their involvement with the Hamazkayin Armenian Educational Society’s Boston chapter where they have been active since 1999. The current membership includes Martin Haroutunian on dap, duduk, zurna, kopal dhol, shviparkapzuk, pku, and sring (blul), John Kozelian on oud, Ani Zargarian and Tamar Melkonian on vocals, and Markos Shahbazyan on dhol. The Arev Ensemble holds a strong belief in the ability of music to inspire positive social change, as do I and countless others. In recognition of this they have recorded a cd in memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide, in the hope that their music will remind the world of the old peaceful and prosperous Armenia that once was,  while serving as a beacon of hope for the country’s eventual return to its original state of existence. So, why not come on out to the Club Passim and be not only entertained but also inspired both musically and philosophically by the message behind the powerful and refreshingly authentic music of the Arev Armenian Folk Ensemble.








Event Details:

When: January 17th, Monday @ 8:00 p.m.

Where: Club Passim (Harvard Square)

Tickets: $15.oo (General admission) / $13.00 (Members)

  Purchase tickets and/or reserve a table online

  Purchase tickets by phone: 617-492-7679 

More Info: OR 617-492-5300

(Area Restaurants)


January 11, 2011 at 4:01 am Leave a comment

Come On Out to Jamaica Plain and Join in the Revival of “The Basement”: the Lively Ungerground International Dance Party: January 29th, Saturday (8:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.)

Spectra Events is bringing its once lively and popular underground international dance party, The Basement, back to life this month. The new location will be at the Midway Cafe in Jamaica Plain. It’s not listed on their calendar as of yet, but I have consulted a number of reliable sources and can therefore assure you that this event will indeed take place. Dance to the live and DJ Rizzla hosted sounds of West African rhythms, soca, Latin, international house music, and more. There’ll even be live drumming performances to add to the excitement! This is a monthly event, each party featuring a different set of world music artists performing or, as in the case of the dj, spinning a diverse array of genres  from various parts of the globe. The mood of this series of dance events is designed to be very informal and laid back so as to encourage an atmosphere of socialization and familiarity among attendees. For this reason the musicians themselves will often perform as if they are in a jam session together. So, put on your dancing shoes and come on out to the Midway Cafe in Jamaica Plain and join in on all the fun. Afterall, what a great opportunity this gives one to sample a good portion of all that great local world music talent that’s out there just waiting to be discovered, as different bands will be featured each month.


FYI –  Just thought I’d mention that January 28th is Bob Marley Tribute Night at the Midway Cafe.  Doors are scheduled to open at 8:00 p.m. 



Event Details:


When: January 29th, Saturday (8:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.)

Where: Midway Cafe (Jamaica Plain)

Admission: Free

More Info: (For questions)

    To RSVP:

(Area Restaurants)


January 9, 2011 at 3:03 pm Leave a comment

Congratulations Dub Apocalypse: Winners of this Year’s Prestigious Boston Music Award for International Artist of the Year!!!

Listen to Dub Apocalypse.

The Boston Music Awards  are geared towards the recognition of  many of our area’s “best of the best” local musicians, and to win in any category is quite an honor indeed! This year’s winners of the category for Best International Artist of the Year are the dub reggae ensemble  Dub Apocalypse. This group is a little bit elusive, in that they don’t have a concrete web page up for view, but don’t let that fool you one bit! They are beyond the shadow of a doubt, a first-rate world music ensemble, winning over audiences wherever they perform. So, it comes as no surprise that they have landed themselves a regular gig every Sunday at Bull McCabe’s in Somerville.  A key factor in this band’s smashing success is the impressive level of experience that individual members bring to the table. It seems that everybody has played for at least one major band or another during their career. The line-up of group members, which tends to vary somewhat from one performance to the next (so this list may not be entirely definitive), includes: Tommy B from John Brown’s Body on drums, Timo Shanko from G Love and Electric Sauce on tenor sax and electric bass, Dana Colley from Morphine on baritone sax, Ken Clark from the Ken Clark Trio on organ and vocals, Johnny Trama from the Nate Wilson Group, B3 Kings, and Peter Prince & the Trama Unit on guitar, Scott Flynn also from John Brown’s Body on trombone, Nate Edgar from John Brown’s Body as well on bass, Sam Kininger from Soulive, Dave Mathews, Wyclef Jean, and others on sax, Eli Winderman on keyboards, Geoff Scott and Jeff Lockhart on guitars, and Jimmy V and Skiff on vocals. And let’s not forget this year’s fine nominees in this category which included Bloco AfroBrazil, Cirkestra, the Debo Band (recent past winners), and Zili Misik (recent past winners). Congratulations all!!!

I also want to make mention of a number of additional world music artists who either won honors or were nominated in various other categories. Some of these musicians perform ethnic music only as a part of their repertoire, but they too deserve mention here nonetheless. Congratulations also to the Dropkick Murphys, the Have Nots, the Bodega Girls, Grace Kelly, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, John Pawhida, Die Young, Club D’Elf, and Get Laid. We Bostonian world music fans are definitely very fortunate to have such talent available around town for our entertainment pleasure.

January 7, 2011 at 10:40 pm Leave a comment

Experience the Thrill as an Afrobeat Legend and His Music Come Back to Life on the Stage in the Broadway Hit Fela!: January 13th (Thursday) & 17th (Monday) @ 7:00 p.m.

View excerpts from Fela! / Listen to Fela Kuti’s music

Former Nigerian superstar Fela Anikulapo Kuti was, and still is, idolized by his loyal listeners and fellow professional world music colleagues as well. During the length of his highly successful but  politically stormy music career, this legendary composer/performer not only fathered the development of the Afrobeat genre, ultimately giving it the name by which it is still recognized today, but also managed to employ his music as a forceful catalyst in spreading the message of freedom and democracy to oppressed common citizens not only in Nigeria, but throughout the rest of the African continent as well. The musical Fela! brings this incredible life “to life” all to the wonderful sounds of Afrobeat, Kuti style no less! This National Theatre Production (2008), directed and choreographed by Brian T. Jones, won no less than 3 Tony Awards and was a smashing success both in London and on and off Broadway. Now it comes to Boston audiences in its original form in high-definition as a live motion picture, being a part of the critically acclaimed NT Live Series which features some of Britain’s top stage performances.  Fela! is part of a worldwide Fela Kuti revival that is currently taking place, spawning re-releases of his recordings, musical tributes given in his name,  the production of motion pictures and stage shows featuring his life and music, and the formation of numerous world music ensembles which continue to carry on the Afrobeat traditionThe general public is also embracing the currently ever-present Fela-themed parties, club nights, and T-shirts for sale.

Afrobeat is generally a fusion of jazz, funk (heavily influenced by James Brown), psychadelic rock, and various traditional and contemporary African music elements. Although it is Kuti that is most credited for the development of the genre, he himself stated that without his long time colleague and bandmate, drummer Tony Allen, Afrobeat would never have matured to the level that it did. It is a very complex style consisting of layer upon layer of rhythmic and melodic motifs executed by rather large instrumental/vocal ensembles. Kuti was known for his particular emphasis on the later, thus bringing to the stage the most bizarre and electrifying performances designed to set his audiences on fire. In fact, he was so effective in this regard with his anti-establishment- oriented musical themes that he infuriated the Nigerian government to no end. For speaking out against the military dictatorship that dominated his homeland, Kuti was repeatedly punished and terrorized, suffering severe beatings, the loss of dear relatives, friends ,and supporters, the destruction of private property, arrests, banishments, and even imprisonment.  Furthermore, his own bandmates eventually turned on him as well. But Kuti had a soul of steel and continued to perservere through it all, performing well into the 80’s, not only in his native Nigeria but also throughout the rest of Africa, the United States and Europe. Come and experience Fela! on the big silver screen and be prepared to be blown away not only by the music, but the man, himself,  as well. Fela Kuti lives again!








Event Details:

When: January 13th (Thursday) and 17th (Monday) @ 7:00 p.m.

Where: Coolidge Corner Theatre (Brookline)

Tickets: $20.00 (General Admission) / $17.00 (Coolidge Corner Theatre members) 

  Purchase tickets online OR On site

More Info: 617-734-2500 OR Visit their website

(Area Restaurants)  


January 1, 2011 at 6:52 pm Leave a comment

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January 2011