CUBAN RUMBA AND DANCE at MASS MoCA
Acclaimed Afro-Cuban folkloric music and dance group Los Muñequitos de Matanzas performs Tambor de Fuego en Homenaje a los Ancestros at MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center on Saturday, April 30 and Sunday, May 1. Tambor de Fuego en Homenaje a los Ancestros (Drum of Fire in Tribute to the Ancestors) incorporates Afro-Cuban ritual dances with innovative new musical compositions and contemporary rumba in an exuberant two-part program.
The first half of the performance merges rhythms, songs, and dances from Afro-Cuban folkloric heritage, including Yoruba, Brikamo, Kongo, Arará, and Iyesá, while the second half contains several subgenres of Cuban Rumba such as Yambú, Guaguancó, and Columbia. Sixteen drummers, vocalists, and dancers fuse the traditional elements of the rumba with contemporary forms of expression. The performance closes with the Conga Matancera, a high energy Carnival rhythm of Matanzas, Cuba.
Named the "reigning regents of rumba" by the San Francisco Chronicle, the ensemble combines high-energy drumming, vocals, and dance in vibrant performances that call upon the deep African roots of their Cuban culture. Internationally renowned as one of the world’s finest rumba groups, Los Muñequitos returns for a 16-city national tour after a nine-year absence from the United States.
Performance and Ticket Information:
Saturday, April 30 at 8 and Sunday, May 1 at 2
MASS MoCA Box Office hours: Wednesday through Monday, 11 – 5. To purchase by phone: call the Box Office at . To order online: MASS MoCA.
The MASS MoCA Box Office is located at reet in North Adams, Mass..
FLAMENCO DANCE at MAHAIWE
Soledad Barrio and Noche Flamenca will perform on Sunday, May 1 at 7 at the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, Mass. The mission of Noche Flamenca is to create a diverse theatrical body of performance through song, music, and dance that expresses a rigorous, spellbinding aesthetic in the form of flamenco. At the Mahaiwe, they will present Martin Santangelo’s newest work, Alba, which is inspired by and honors the Abraham Lincoln Brigaders, an international group of men and women from more than 40 different countries who banded together to fight fascism in Spain in the 1930s.
Under the direction of Martin Santangelo, the award-winning Noche Flamenca has become Spain's most successful and the most authentic flamenco touring company. Formed in 1993 by Santangelo and his Bessie Award-winning wife, Soledad Barrio, the company regularly tours throughout the globe.
For tickets and information, visit the Mahaiwe online or call .
RETRO-SWING DUO at NEW GYPSY JOYNT
The retro-swing duo Two Man Gentlemen Band will inaugurate the stage at the Gypsy Joynt, now located at 293 Main Street in downtown Great Barrington, Mass., at the space formerly occupied by Napa Restaurant and Union Bar and Grill, on Friday, April 29, at 8. The Two Man Gentlemen Band combines hot jazz, rhythm & blues, tin-pan alley, western swing and a wry sense of humor.
The group’s latest album, Dos Amigos Una Fiesta, balances lighthearted and often hysterical romps about reefer, wine, boy/girl parties, and chocolate milk with tender ballads of loneliness and fidelity. And with their cautionary, gospel-tinged stomp about the forgotten, alcoholic President Franklin Pierce they once again “take smart songwriting to a whole new level.” (Mental Floss)
The Gents -- Andy Bean on tenor guitar and vocals and Fuller Condon on string bass and vocals – pride themselves as much for their entertainment value as for their instrumental prowess. Their improvised banter, with each other and the audience, is as entertaining as the music. And the stomping shout-alongs that pepper their shows whip crowds into a sort of frenzy not typically associated with acoustics duos. Their showmanship and panache transcend whatever niche their musical style suggests.
JOY KILLS SORROW at CLUB HELSINKI HUDSON
Acoustic music ensemble Joy Kills Sorrow returns to Club Helsinki Hudson on Saturday, April 30, at 9. The Boston-based string band brings a decidedly modern sensibility to an old-world sound, channeling the prodigious talents of its individual members into elegant arrangements and well-crafted songs. While the group pays due homage to its bluegrass roots - its name is taken from WJKS, a radio station that broadcasted the Monroe brothers’ show in the 1930s - the band excels in its rich and textured treatment of more contemporary material.
Boasting a full arsenal of original songs, Joy Kills Sorrow plumbs the entire spectrum of its spare instrumentation, effortlessly merging influences as diverse as folk, rock, pop, and jazz. The music that emerges is dark and often funny, ruminating on modern life and love with eloquence and wit. The result is a radical new strain of folk music, one that bravely breaks with tradition even as it salutes the past.
Formed under the banner "a modern American string band," Joy Kills Sorrow first emerged out of Boston's thriving folk music scene in 2005, releasing their self-titled debut album in 2007. Two years and several band members later, Joy Kills Sorrow is poised to make its mark with a new lineup of some of the area's finest young talent. Founding member Matthew Arcara, a subtle and expressive guitarist, was the 2006 winner of Winfield's National Flatpicking Championship and has performed with such luminaries as Darol Anger.
Joy Kills Sorrow's newest addition, mandolin virtuoso Jacob Jolliff, is Berklee’s first full-scholarship mandolin student and a veteran performer, having toured professionally since age eleven and shared the stage with mandolin legends David Grisman and Mike Marshall. Wesley Corbett, a banjoist of uncommon facility and grace, was featured in the August 2008 issue of Banjo Newsletter and has toured nationally with Crooked Still and The Biscuit Burners. Emma Beaton, the 2008 Canadian Folk Music Awards' Young Performer of the Year, adds an earthy, powerful presence to the band as its newly-minted vocalist. And bassist Bridget Kearney, winner of the 2006 John Lennon Songwriting Contest, is largely responsible for Joy Kills Sorrow's inimitable sound, thanks to her impeccable musicality and distinctive songwriting style.
Since its inception, Joy Kills Sorrow has performed at theaters, listening rooms, and festivals across the continent and has been featured on nationally syndicated radio programs. In 2007, the group won first prize in the Podunk Bluegrass Festival Band Contest; that same year, they were deemed the "‘poster children' for the burgeoning Americana format" by Sing Out! magazine. The band has evolved considerably in the years since then, and their early 2011 sophomore effort promises to deliver.
NEW FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY GALLERY DEBUTS in STOCKBRIDGE
Sohn Fine Art, a new exhibition space from innovative photographer Cassandra Sohn, has opened its doors at 6 Elm Street in Stockbridge. The gallery, which will feature primarily contemporary photography, including Sohn’s work and the images of emerging and midcareer artists, is a fresh new voice on the Berkshire art scene. In addition to the gallery, Sohn Fine Art offers custom giclée and photographic printing services on a variety of substrates. The space is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 to 5. The public is invited to Sohn Fine Art's grand-opening reception on Saturday, April 30, from 5 to 9.
The opening exhibit, which runs from April 21 through June 19, is Ko Chang, a collection of Sohn's abstract seascapes photographed on Thailand’s second largest island, featuring ambiguous dark figures and obscure dramatic coastlines. Taken with film, the images are not manipulated, yet have a dreamlike and ethereal quality that question our perceptions of identity and distort our sense of place.
A native of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Sohn previously lived and worked in New York City and abroad before moving to the Berkshires in 2007. She exhibits at international galleries and shoots for a variety of clientele, including Berkshire Living magazine, and was the main contributing photographer in the 2009 book Window on the Park: New York's Most Prestigious Properties on Central Park. Sohn currently teaches photography classes at both IS183 Art School and Berkshire Community College.
The gallery is holding portfolio reviews through the end of May for its upcoming summer shows. For more information on Sohn Fine Art, call or visit Sohn Fine Art.
JURIED EXHIBITION of WOMEN’S ART at STOREFRONT ARTIST PROJECT
O Solo Mama Mia, a group exhibition of works in all media juried by Norman Rockwell Museum’s chief curator Stephanie Plunkett and WAM Theatre co-founders Kristen van Ginhoven and Leigh Strimbeck, opens with a reception on Sunday, May 1, at 4, at Storefront Artist Project, 31 South Street, Pittsfield, Mass. The 12-artist exhibition is Storefront’s first of the year and contains artwork that address female empowerment, motherhood, identity and culture. The exhibition runs through May 28.
This exhibition is held as part of the O Solo Mama Mia Festival of theater and art taking place May 5-8 in Troy, N.Y. (James Meader Little Theatre) and May 12-15 in Pittsfield, Mass. (Storefront Artist Project's popup theater) presented by WAM Theatre. Storefront will turn half its gallery into a temporary performance space to host 4 nights of solo performances written and performed by women to benefit the training of at least one community midwife at Edna’s Hospital in Somaliland.
The Storefront Artist Project is a non-profit arts organization active since 2002. Operating in a gallery/office space in the heart of Pittsfield, it brings art to diverse members of the community by presenting innovative art exhibitions and installations, providing non-traditional, visually accessible studio space to artists and connecting artists with the public through education, opportunities and exposure. Its programs include storefront artist residencies, the Mentor and Intern Programs, monthly exhibitions, artist salons, and Open Studios.
NEW ART GALLERY OPENS in DOWNTOWN GREAT BARRINGTON
Tino and Susan Galluzzo, owners of The White Gallery in Lakeville, Conn., are opening a second gallery, The White Gallery Great Barrington, at 924 Main Street, Great Barrington, Mass., on Friday, April 29. Metamorphosis: New Artwork by David Dunlop and Glass Art with Adam Waimon will open the 2011 season. The show will run through June 18 with a portion of the proceeds from each sale through the month of May going to the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation’s Neighbor-to-Neighbor Fund. An opening artists’ reception is planned for Saturday, April 30 from 5 to 7.
Metamorphosis will feature new pieces from the famed Connecticut artist and Emmy Award-winning writer of Landscapes through Time with David Dunlop that premiered on PBS in 2009 and illustrate the depth of his talent and artistic interests.
VOCAL QUARTET PERFORMS TIBETAN-INSPIRED COMPOSITION at HELSINKI
The Boston-based vocal quartet Tapestry performs on Sunday, May 1, at 4 at Club Helsinki in Hudson, N.Y., as part of the ClaverackLanding classical performance series at the venue. Sunday’s program straddles west to east and past to present, framed by two tales: a medieval Portuguese tale of the miracles of St. Isabel and The White Rooster, a tale of compassion set in modern day Tibet. Woven between the two tales, a mix of medieval and contemporary songs explores universal ideas of spirituality.
Tapestry is a women’s vocal quartet whose bold conceptual programming, combining medieval and traditional repertory with contemporary works, has earned them an international reputation.
A highlight of Tapestry's ClaverackLanding performance will be The White Rooster by Spencertown composer Sheila Silver, commissioned by the Freer and Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian, and created specifically for Tapestry. The piece, summed up in the phrase “every act of kindness counts,” uses several Tibetan mantras: A traditional healing mantra; a mantra calling on Buddha, Dharma and Sangha for support; a mantra calling on Mother Tara to release one from fear and suffering; and a traditional Tibetan mantra invoking the power and benevolence of chenrezig, the embodiment of compassion.
The upstairs ballroom afternoon concert event begins with a pre-concert conversation with composer Sheila Silver on May 1 at 3:30.
RUDY WURLITZER & WILL OLDHAM at HUDSON BASILICA
Basilica Hudson, a 19th-century industrial factory transformed into a 21st-century event space for the artistic and cultural community at large, located just steps from the Hudson Amtrak Station on the waterfront in the historical town of Hudson, N.Y., kicks off the new season with a multimedia reading of renowned novelist and screenwriter, Rudy Wurlitzer’s 1984 novel, Slow Fade by singer-songwriter and folk music legend Will Oldham (Palace Brothers, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy) on Thursday, April 28 at 6.
This event supports the release of Slow Fade, the first in a new line of alternative audio books, by Chicago’s seminal independent record label, Drag City. Both Wurlitzer and Oldham will participate in this unique literary event. The reading will be accompanied by guitar player Ben Chasny (Six Organs of Admittance) and with photographic projections by acclaimed photographer Lynn Davis. Connecticut based artist Elisa Ambrogio, of noise rock band Magik Markers, will open the evening with her own reading.
Slow Fade is a profound and utterly convincing portrait of a man whose career, whose life, has been devoted to the manipulation of images — on the screen and at the conference table, with actors and technicians, even (and especially) with those closest to him — and the story of how, in his 71st year, he tries to divest himself of illusions, to make peace with his demons and his past. Slow Fade is by turns spare and eloquent; dryly humorous and darkly savage, a deeply informed novel about the unshakably transient worlds of the movies and rock and roll, as well as a rowdy account of the cultural and generational pas de deux that occurred throughout the 1970s - a dance that must occur when the torch passes through every generation.
Rudolph Wurlitzer is the author of five novels, Nog, Flats, Quake, Slow Fade, and most recently The Drop Edge of Yonder. He is also a screenwriter, responsible for the groundbreaking script for Two-Lane Blacktop and several others, including Glen and Randa, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, Walker, and Candy Mountain. In 1991, he published the travel diary/memoir, Hard Travel to Sacred Places. He lives with his wife, photographer Lynn Davis, and splits his time between New York and Nova Scotia.
Will Oldham, who has been heard in the musical role of Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy for the past decade (and whose song, “I See a Darkness,” was recorded by Johnny Cash) and in several movie roles, including Kelly Reichardt’s Old Joy; Harmony Korine’s Julien Donkey-Boy; and John Sayles’ Matewan, lends his voice to the main narrative role of Wesley Hardin and his doomed film.
STRAVINSKY’S ‘LES NOCES’ at WILLIAMS COLLEGE
The Williams College Department of Music presents the Williams Concert Choir and Percussion Ensemble with Igor Stravinsky’s Les Noces on Friday, April 29 at 8 in Chapin Hall on the Williams College campus. This free event is open to the public.
The Williams Concert Choir and Percussion Ensemble join forces to present a combined concert including the Stravinsky piece, Les Noces. Less well known than his ballet work Petrushka or Firebird, Les Noces is however unmistakably Stravinsky: the composer’s unique sense of harmony and rhythm coupled with his obvious fascination with Russian folk ritual combine to form a work of great power and vitality.
The choreographer, Diaghilev, wanted to stage Les Noces when it was completed in 1917, after a five-year gestation period. The logistical challenges of such a complex undertaking proved overwhelming during that time of war. It was not until 1923 that the piece finally received its first public performance in the form that the Williams Concert Choir and the Williams Percussion Ensemble are to perform on April 29. The highly unusual combination of choir, four soloists, four pianos and several percussionists might have made it difficult to stage at its inception, though for modern audiences that very exoticism only makes it all the more interesting. Stravinsky’s use of the peasant wedding as an allegory for man’s connection to the earth and role in the cycle of life speaks to us today as insistently as it did a hundred years ago, when it was yet a mere concept in the mind of one of the twentieth centuries most enigmatic and influential musicians.
In addition to the Stravinsky, the Percussion Ensemble performs two other works. In the beginning there was rhythm by Sofia Gubaidulina features the percussion instruments that so fascinate the composer. Born in the USSR, a student of Dmitri Shostakovich, her music is intensely spiritual. This performance is a rare chance to experience one of the 20th century’s lesser known, but brighter burning lights. Joining the ensemble is the timpani soloist Jay Sager, a former student of Matthew Gold, director of the ensemble. Mr. Sager is a junior at the Crane School of Music in Potsdam, New York and graduate of Mt. Anthony Union High School in Bennington, Vermont. Also featured on the concert is Drama, Trio op. 23 for 3 pairs of cymbals and players' voices by the Chinese composer Guo Wenjing.
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