Archive for May, 2011
Yay!!! Hooray!!! Summertime is upon us once again. And for many a Boston area eating establishment, this means that the outdoor patio is now open. In honor of this occasion, I would like to point out some of the local eateries where one can enjoy a warm pleasant summer evening feasting on tasty cuisine and better yet catching some of Boston’s best world music acts at the same time. If you’re looking for reggae music, then Shenannigans’ Reggae Fridays is the place to be. Start your weekend off to the island sounds of Continuous Reggae at Shenannigans Irish Pub & Restaurant. Who says you can’t enjoy great reggae in an Irish pub atmosphere? What’s special about this particular patio, located very near to the Boston harbor, is that you can actually enjoy the aroma of salt sea air as you dine … a definite added plus. As far as the menu goes, of course as you would expect, you can sample such Irish favorites as a BLT made with real Irish bacon, Bangers, Mash, and Beans (Irish sausage and beans with mashed potatoes and gravy), or Shepherd’s Pie (specially seasoned ground beef, veggies, and mashed potatoes topped with gravy). In addition, it just so happens that this establishment’s eclectic taste in music is reflected in their menu as well. Take a look and you will discover various ethnically inspired dishes such as, Quesadillas, Asian Salmon, Chicken Curry, Chicken Teriyaki Pineapple and more. And if you’re in the mood for American cuisine, well they’ve got you covered there too. So, the next time you’re in the mood for reggae, just head on over to Shennanigans and breathe in the salt sea air, indulge in a warm summer’s evening, and, best of all, treat yourself to some fabulous world music.
In addition to the happenings at Shenannigans’ Reggae Fridays, there’s lot’s of great world music to be heard all around the Boston area in combination with the warm summer evening ambience of patio dining … Aaaaaah yes. Just check out these additional restaurant locations from previous posts: Athenian Corner, Bella Luna Milky Way, Green Briar, the Basha Cafe, the Precinct, The Fireplace, Cafe Luna, the Red Fez, Kasbah, and the Half Door. I love summer!!! I also happen to enjoy spending a good part of it out on a restaurant patio, but add world music to the mix? The dining experience just doesn’t get any better than that!
When: Fridays (10:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.)
Where: Shenannigans (South Boston)
Admission: No cover charge listed
More Info: 617-269-9509
Just in case you read my latest post on the Jose Mateo Ballet’s Cubania! earlier today (Wednesday), I have great news!!! At one point I noticed that the show was listed as entirely sold out, but since then a few seats have again become available for Thursday night’s performance. If you’re still interested, definitely check back to see if they are still available at this time. Call Lori Manzelli @ 617-354-7467. If you enjoy great dancing with your world music, then you’ll definitely want to keep tabs on future performances of this ballet theatre company as they are known for their multi-cultural repertoire. Just visit their website.
I know this is a last-minute posting, but the Jose Mateo Ballet’s Cubania! has sold out 3 nights of performances already- a very good indication that this event is a sure bet if your Thursday evening is still open. What helps to make this particular show so special is that it marks the finale of the company’s 25th anniversary season! Artistic director and choreographer Mateo, a long-time Cuban-American, has chosen to mark this momentous occasion with programs set to the music of his native homeland which portrays aspects of the Cuba’s cultural heritage, sadly still, on the whole, largely unfamiliar to Americans in general.
The show features three individual programs, including two popular numbers from a previous season and a world premier. Ayer Pasado (The Day Before Yesterday) showcases the music of one of Cuba’s foremost composers, Manuel Saumeli. His classical style is a fusion of European, African, and Latin elements. The number features rising star Madeleine Bonn in a dramatically gutsy performance as a loner in desperate search of companionship, ultimately standing as a symbol of isolation from a broader political perspective. Escape, based also on a politically charged theme, depicts the individual’s struggle against authoritarian forces. Set to the music of Leo Brouwer, it stars Angie DeWolf and Mark Kehlet Schou, showcasing intriguing dance lifts and carries. The world premier, Pagano y No (Pagan or Not), is choreographed to the music of Aruan Ortiz, which is a compelling combination of the modernistic classical and Afro-Cuban jazz genres. The piece contains ample moments of high drama as well as comedy, however, it does not carry a distinct story-line nor does it send a politically oriented message to the audience as do its counterparts. Aside from an opening solo danced by August Lincoln Pogzay, this is a powerful ensemble number displaying intense choreography designed to match the character of the music perfectly.
Under the direction of its founder and renowned choreographer, the Jose Mateo Ballet company has earned a reputation for delivering highly innovative modernized performances of both original and pre-existing works which represent a variety of cultures and are of universal appeal to their audiences. Mateo‘s works have made the list of the Boston Globe’s annual “10 Best Dance Events” no less than 7 times! Now’s your chance to see why, Thursday night at the company’s exciting performance of Cubania!
When: May 19th, Thursday @ 8:00 p.m.
Where: Sanctuary Theatre (Cambridge)
Tickets are extremely limited! Call the number below and ask for Lori Manzelli
More Info: 617-354-7467
Lend a Helping Hand to Japan While Enjoying an Afternoon of Top-Notch Belly Dancing: May 22nd, Sunday (3:00 – 5:30 p.m.)
Boston’s belly dancing community is holding a benefit performance for the earthquake/tsunami victims of Japan and you can help. Just come on out to the show where you will enjoy, raffles, refreshment vendors, open participatory dance sessions, and of course … lots and lots of fantastic belly dance entertainment! All proceeds will benefit the Red Cross for Japan. Performers for the afternoon will include:
Phaedra of Boston – Dancing since 1976, she was a dancer/choreographer for 12 years with the Near East Dance Theatre which she co-founded. She has performed nation-wide, appeared in videos and on cds, and has also published a teaching book. Once featured in the Legends of Boston photo shoot, she currently teaches in the area. (Read on) (Video)
Aurel – Known for the expressive musicality present her dance performances, she also enjoys a professional singing career which has led to solo performances both nationally and abroad. She danced in honor of the opening of Boston’s Intercontinental Hotel and has also appeared at the Arabic Hafli event at Foxwoods Casino. She currently heads the belly dance program at Ancient Art Studios where she teaches and produces shows. (Read on) (Photos)
Najmat – This Egyptian-style dancer of Brazilian heritage is known for her dramatic style which is highlighted by her note-worthy interpretations of drum solos. Currently teaching in the Boston area, she views the art of Middle Eastern dance as a source of feminine strength and empowerment. (Read on) (Video)
Mirza Troupe – Representing the World Lebanese Cultural Union, this 25 member male/female troupe consists of both dancers and accompanying drummers. Under the leadership of artistic director/choreographer Shadia Tohme, a former professional dance and teacher for over 35 years, they perform a wide range of folk and contemporary dances from Lebanon, Greece, Egypt, North Africa, and Turkey. (Read on) (Video)
Jemileh – Like her professional colleague Najmat, she too is noted for a highly emotional dancing style highlighted by note-worthy interpretations of drum solos. Performing and competing since age 12, she now specializes in Arabic and Turkish belly dancing. Her additional interest in the Tribal Fusion genre led to the formation of the local troupe Tribal Storm. A frequent performer at the infamous belly dance mecca, The Middle East Restaurant, she also teaches around the area. (Read on) (Video)
Rianna – She has diligently studied a variety of dance genres for over 15 years including, acrobatics, jazz, ballet, Polynesian, Hip Hop, Irish Ceili, and Greek folk. Subsequently, she has managed to blend each and every one into her own unique style of belly dancing which is truly one of a kind. (Read on) (Photos)
Alizah Afet – A performer and teacher of Middle Eastern dance for 15 years, she was formally with Goddess Dancing and has also performed with the Blue Moon Zar Gypsies and Big Moves Boston. Visit her very informative website, Belly Dance New England (see previous post) an online magazine listing current Middle Eastern dance happenings and other related local tidbits. As a true enthusiast of local belly dance history, she is the co-producer of a documentary on the subject entitled Aziza! (Read on – Scroll down page) (Clips from Aziza)
Celia – Though she dances with high energy, this performer is still able to bring a distinctive element of grace to her performance as well. She will entertain you in this rather unique style with the zills (finger symbols, veil, hula hoop, and sword. She has served as a choreographer for the Bellybeat Dance Company and currently is a regular performer at area restaurants. (Read on) (Video)
Sabaya – (Video)
Zameena Asmar – (Video)
… and more. All in all, this definitely looks to be a great show for a great cause!
When: May 22nd, Sunday (3:00 – 5:30 p.m.)
Where: Arlington Elks Lodge
More Info / Purchase Tickets: 617-642-0999 / benifitforJapan@gmail.com
Join Klezwoods @ Johnny D’s for First Rate Klezmer Music and a Whole Lot More: May 17th, Tuesday @ 8:00 p.m.
Listen to Klezwoods.
As their name would imply, Klezwoods is indeed a Klezmer ensemble, however, their actual repertoire entails quite a bit more than that. Concentrating on music of the ancient Ottoman Empire characterized by a wide range of cultural, religious, and political influences, the band plays selections originating from Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Israel, and beyond. As one would expect, much of the music which they perform is of Jewish origin, however, it is often artfully infused with smatterings of other styles and ethnic flavorings including, emo, nu-jazz, reggae, East Coast swing, gypsy, ska, Celtic, bluegrass, rock, groove, and Latin generally in the form of various folk genres further branded with the band’s own contemporary flair. Much of their music is bursting with energy which just begs the audience to get up and dance!
Despite all of the many ever-present diverse styles within their Klezmer-oriented musical offerings, Klezwoods, being the accomplished world fusion artists they are, manage to blend them all beautifully into one aesthetically pleasing package filled with intense emotion. In keeping with the character of their music, the members of this 11-piece ensemble, consisting of vocals, horns, strings, guitars, woodwinds, percussion, and an accordion, come from diverse backgrounds, and yet are able to perform together effectively as a unit in their very own trademark style. It is this variety of musical personalities that makes this band’s brand of music so unique and intriguing. Klezwood’s performances are further enhanced by the frequent occurrence of improvisational-style solos, designed to display each band member’s individual virtuosic talents. They have taken their show on the road both nationally and internationally and have recorded a cd entitled “Oye Yeah!” It is the band’s ultimate aim to “reinvigorate” the Klezmer genre and they seem to have succeeded with their reputation for creating a fun-filled, party-like atmosphere for audiences wherever they perform. Most importantly, these band mates have fun playing together and sincerely want to share their heartfelt joy with one and all through their music. So, why not come on out and join the party at Johnny D’s!
Also sharing the stage for the evening, will be another great band, the Underscore Orkestra. This heavily touring group from Portland, Oregon will be contributing their own special version of Klezmer, Balkan music, gypsy jazz, and swing to the show.
Note: This event may be 21+ (Call for more info)
When: May 17th, Tuesday @ 8:oo p.m.
Where: Johnny D’s Restaurant & Music Club (Somerville)
Admission: Call for cover charge fees
Make reservations for dinner and be guaranteed a seat for the show
More Info: 617-776-2004 / Mo (12:30 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.), Tu-Fr (11:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m.), Sa-Su (9:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m.)