Archive for February, 2012
Celebrate Latino Culture As It Comes Alive in All of Its Wonderful Diversity In a Unique Spectacle of Music and Dance: Ballet Hispanico Comes to Boston: March 9th – 11th, Friday – Sunday (Times vary)
Watch Ballet Hispanico in action!
NYC’s Ballet Hispanico was the
creation of award-winning dance artist/arts administrator Tina Ramirez who started the troupe in hopes of strengthening the position held by the Latino culture within the dance world. Since 1970 the company has continued to produce a steady stream of performances which effectively showcase various forms of Latin dance and its accompanying music. In 2009, Eduardo Vilaro, an awarding-winning dance artist in his own right, became the ballet’s new artistic director after dancing with them, himself, for ten years. Hoping to build upon Ramirez’s already successful legacy he aims to widen the variety of Hispanic cultures represented in their performance repertoire as well as bringing more of a contemporary flavor to the over-all choreography. The Boston performance is part of the popular Celebrity Series and will include two local premiers.
Asuka – Choreographed by Vilaro, himself, this piece is a tribute to the life and legacy of the great Celia Cruz, dubbed the “Queen of Salsa” by her Cuban contemporaries. In fact, the Grammy award-winning singing star became such an icon in America that the Smithsonian has dedicated a section of one of its web sites to her. Vilaro fondly remembers her for the important role she played in the lives of countless Cuban ex-pats, such as his parents, who looked to her music for some sense of cultural identity as they established their new lives as Hispanic-Americans. The piece at hand, with its biographical story-line, is danced entirely to Cruz‘s music, which often displays stylistic influences derived from African, American pop, and jazz genres. The choreography showcases the earlier styles of salsa dance to which Vilaro has added his contemporary touches.
Mad’moiselle (Boston premier) – This work is the creation of Annabelle Lopez Ochoa who is actually of Dutch, Belgian, and Columbian heritage. It was originally created at the request of Vilaro for his Chicago-based dance company, “Luna Negra Dance”. Obviously a success, we see it here on the program once again. The theme of the work centers around the faulty over-all image of Latino women and, to a lessor extant, men which has become widely embraced by non-Hispanic society. Lopez-Ochoa attempts to re-frame this stereotype in the minds of the audience.
Espirito Vivo (Boston premier) – Not by any means new to the Boston dance scene, choreographer Ronald K. Brown returns with more of his trademark West African diasporic influenced music and choreography. In this work he explores the effects of both the West-African and Latino diaspora upon the performing arts cultures of the Caribbean and Latin America. The audience is taken on a journey through the grieving process via a skillful combination of narration, native dance forms and costuming, and the music of popular Afro-Peruvian singer Susana Baca. In keeping with his colleague Lopez-Ochoa’s aspirations, Browne too has identified a societal myth he’d like to see dispelled. In this case it is the notion among the Latino community at large that, outside cultural influences from Europe are to be considered more acceptable than those coming from poorer regions of the world such as Africa and the Caribbean.
Ballet Hispanico prides itself in the recognition of the value of Hispanic performing arts as they relate to the dance world. To attend their performances is not only a guarantee that you will experience top-notch Latino cultural entertainment but also an exciting adventure in the exploration of countless diverse forms of Hispanic culture as they manifests themselves into various intriguing dance forms and music genres.
When: March 9th, Friday @ 7:30 p.m. / March 10th, Saturday @ 8:00 p.m. / March 11th, Sunday @ 3:00 p.m.
Where: Cutler Majestic Theatre (Downtown Boston)
Tickets: $43.00, $53.00, and $68.00
More Info: 617-824-8000 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Meet the Didgeridoo, Accordion, and Harp Up Close and Personal @ the New School of Music’s “World Instrument Workshops”
Ever want to try your hand at the didgeridoo, accordion, or Celtic harp? Well, now here’s your chance! Just come to the New School of Music’s World Instrument Workshops series! Come on out of the audience and into the classroom where you can actually learn to make a “credible sound” on each of these instruments in one easy 60-90 minute session. No, these are not music lessons in the true sense of the word. Rather they are fun-filled and informative mini-workshops designed to give you an introduction to select ethnic instruments in an intimate, interactive learning environment. Three of the area’s best qualified music instructors will better familiarize you with each instrument through a combination of lecture, discussion, demonstration and best of all actual hands-on experience. Sounds like fun, Yes? The good news is that you don’t need a lick of playing experience in order to participate and all ages are encouraged to attend. Instruments will be provided unless you choose to bring one on your own.
Pre-Registration for all workshops is required!!! (Call: 617-492-8105)
Event Details/Instructor Bios:
The Didgeridoo – Entering the Dreamtime (Friday, March 9th, 7:00-8:30 p.m.) ($30.00)
Daniel Orlansky – Has performed professionally both nationally and abroad for 20 years, appearing locally at the Berklee College of Music, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Boston Jazz Festival and elsewhere.
An Introduction to the Accordion (Saturday, April 21st, 1:00-2:00 p.m.) ($25.00)
Emilion Badea – Holds academic degrees from the Romanian Music Academy and Boston University, and has appeared numerous times in his native homeland with the Romanian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and with a number of performing ensembles in the Boston area including, the Boston Ballet, The Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Classical Players, and others.
The Harp – A Hands-on-Workshop (Saturday, May 12th, 10:00-11:00 a.m.)($25.00)
Mary Jane Rupert – Has performed both nationally and internationally as both a harpist and a concert pianist, recorded and published music, and taught at various academic institutions across the United States including Oberlin, Indiana University, Boston College, and MIT.
Where: New School of Music (Directions)
More Info: 617-492-8105
So, what are you waiting for? Don’t miss out on a great opportunity to actually try out these instruments for yourself, and at the hands of an expert no less. What more could one ask for?
Enjoy a Little Bossa Nova with Your Meal @ The Birch Street Bistro: Sundays, Weekly (7:00 – 9:00 p.m.)
Listen to Valdiza Moura
In the mood for a little “taste” of Bossa Nova? Well now you can satsify your hunger with good food and better, yet, great music to go along with it! Thanks to the folks at the Birch Street Bistro in Roslindale, Sunday night has become Bossa Nova Night starring vocalist Valdiza Moura, a local favorite who continues to win over both audiences and music critics wherever she goes. She is best known for her ability to convey intense emotion, and yet with a voice that, in the process, still manages to maintain its over-all delicate, lyrical character that her listeners find so aesthetically pleasing. She is backed by a band whose membership represents a wide and varied array of cultures and music genres, many of which influence their over-all sound, adding additonal musical interest to the end product.
Moura made a name for herself in her native Brazil early on by placing 2nd in a major music competition at the age of 16. She continued to develop her career there, recording for commercials and political campaign ads, serving as back up to numerous prominent Brazilian musicians, performing and touring, at times as a soloist, with distinguished music ensembles, and appearing as a featured performer at major cultural events throughout Brazil. In 2001 she came to the US, and has been actively performing throughout New England ever since. She has appeared at such notable venues as the Museum of Fine Arts, Harvard University, MIT, Umass Dartmouth, Boston College, and Bunker Hill Community College, taken part in the Rhode Island Latin American Film Festival and the Lowell Folk Festival, and had the honor of sharing the stage with renowned vocalist Virginia Rodrigues at Johnny D’s. Moura is a regularly featured guest at the special performances held by New England’s various music schools and is invited to sing at virtually every single Brazilian cultural event held throughout the area.
Depending upon your food mood, the Birch Street Bistro’s menu is designed to please a wide range of appetites. You can enjoy a lighter meal along the lines of burgers, pizza, or salad or opt for more extensive fare. Some interesting appetizers and entrees include Fresh Apple Salad (mixed greens, bacon, gorgonzola, candied walnuts, with an apple cider vinaigrette), Sausage (with parmesan risotto), Four Cheese Fondue (with grilled garlic pita bread), Grilled Fillet Mignon (with melting fig butter, sauteed spinach and roasted potatoes), and Braised Lamb (with a ricotta filled gnocchi). So, the next time that craving for a little Bossa Nova emerges, just head on over to the Birch Street Bistro on any given Sunday evening where Valdiza Moura and her band will satisfy that urge in no time!
When: Sunday evenings (7:00 – 9:00 p.m.)
Where: Birch Street Bistro (Roslindale)
Admission: No cover charge
More Info: 617-323-2184
Celebrate 15 Years of Celtic Music Greatness with Solas, America’s #1 Irish Band: February 25th, Saturday @8:00 p.m.
That’s right, it is indeed the 15th anniversary of the highly renowned, extremely popular Irish-American band Solas. However, this momentous occasion isn’t simply about commemorating a band’s history, it is also about honoring the staying power of a musical legacy that has definitely left a major imprint upon the evolution of Celtic traditional music as a genre. Known for their leading-edge dynamic style, this “super band” is undisputedly our nation’s most beloved and highly revered Celtic music ensemble of all time. According to major music critics they have virtually taken America by storm, and I quote: “the first truly great Irish band to arise from America” (Boston Herald), “mind-blowing Irish music, maybe the world’s best” (Philadelphia Inquirer), “the standard by which contemporary Celtic groups are judged” (Austin American-Statesman). Of course, it should come as no surprise then that they have also earned for themselves a stellar international reputation as well.
The band was founded by Seamus Egan, the truest of multi-instrumentalists, who plays more than seven instruments with the band and fiddler Winifred “Win” Horan. Both of them have developed such a reputation amongst the music community at large that their playing styles are often mimicked. Although they definitely serve as the basic foundation of the band’s music, they are accompanied by three fabulous virtuosos in their own right, Mick McAuley, Eamon McElholm, and Niamh Varion-Barry. Solas’ repertoire consists of both original and re-interpreted traditional pieces all of which exhibit that exceptionally unique, creative, highly progressive style for which they so well-known. They have a special knack for enriching the old standards in such a way as to effectively provide them with a new and exciting modern flair without overpowering their original character to the degree that it becomes lost. The band adds both content and stylistic variety to their musical offerings by spicing them up with the occasional American or English folk piece or experimenting with the incorporation of blues, jazz, and/or world music elements into their overall sound.
This anniversary concert also serves as a cd release performance for the band’s latest recording “Shamrock City”. As part of a very special project that is near and dear to their hearts, Solas has produced a collection of pieces honoring the Irish immigrants who came to Butte, Montana in the early 20th-century in hopes of attaining a better life for themselves mining copper. Along with it, they have also produced a companion DVD, a musical/historical documentary, which was filmed live on location. Excerpts of it can be seen as a visual backdrop during the concert performance. Solas will share with you the story of this hardy group of Irish souls as only they can tell it, through an intriguing series of intensely emotional, lyrical ballads complimented by livelier folk tunes filled with the most rapid and thrilling of improvisational passages, designed to challenge the best of virtuosos.
When: February 25th, Saturday @ 8:00 p.m.
Where: Somerville Theatre (Davis Square)
Tickets: $28.oo (+ $1.00 fee)
More Info: 617-876-4275
Discover Nimbaya! Guinea’s Sensational First and Only All-Female Drum and Dance Troupe: February 12th, Sunday @ 3:00 p.m.
Nimbaya is Guinea’s world renowned all-female drum and dance troupe. Formed in 1998 as the Amazones Women Master Drummers of Guinea, they made their bold and daring mark on West African culture by being the first feminine players of the djembe, a role reserved solely for the masculine members of this society since ancient times. Actually, it was none other than artistic director Mamoudou Conde, leader of the country’s most honorable and already well established male drumming ensemble “Les Percussions de Guinea”, who felt strongly that a break in tradition was long overdue. Not afraid to rock the boat, he trained these highly skilled female performing artists to be at the absolute top of their game and presented them to the rest of the world only to see his and their courage soundly rewarded with the acceptance and appreciation of countless numbers of international fans.
The members of Nimbaya have become the truest of world ambassadors, promoting the beauty of their culture with the utmost passion and enthusiasm while at the same time courageously speaking out against those aspects of it that are not so “beautiful” in a dedicated effort to bring about positive change. Not to be overshadowed in any way by their male performance associates, these women perform their own original, highly unique and somewhat modernized version of traditional Guinean performing arts which has proven most effective with audiences of all ages. Their mesmerizing music and dance routines are centered around strong and powerful drum beats which serve as an accompaniment to a series of highly stimulating and often times extremely rapid dance movements.
Nevertheless however, Nimbaya also has an all important social message to convey to the rest of the world. Sadly, women in much of Africa are burdened by a society that refuses to accept them as other than the lowliest of citizens, destined to live a life of struggle and poverty. Recruited solely from such pitiful social ranks, each and every member of this troupe has managed to better their life via an opportunity to develop individual talents into useful skills, an option they would like to see become available to all African women, eventually. The ladies of Nimbaya are staunchly determined to get this worldwide message of hardship and hope across through the heartfelt, personalized stories they tell with great passion through their music and dance.
For over a decade, this highly talented group of feminine African artists has shared and continues to share their performance art and its important social message on a global scale in so many ways. (Career details) Wherever they appear, they are enthusiastically embraced by their audiences. Come to Nimbaya’s performance at Sanders Theatre and you’ll see why.
When: February 12th, Sunday @ 3:00 p.m.
Where: Sanders Theatre (Harvard Square)
Tickets: $22.00 and $28.00
More Info: 617-876-4275