First off, ACCORDIONS! Join me tonight, 5-10pm for the Accordion Festival, featuring music from Brazil, Colombia, Lebanon, Serbia, and the US. A day after Colombian Independence Day, expect una fiesta grande with our headliner, Gregorio Uribe. More below. We’ve received some nice write-ups including this one this morning. Info + RSVP here. Hope to see you!
Next, here’s a tip: go to The Jazz Gallery if you ever want to listen to jazz. It’s probably my favorite place for the music genre. This non-profit organization builds community amongst jazz musicians and has launched the careers of so many. It’s cozy and I always feel at home there. As audience members, we’re there first and foremost for the music, not for socializing or drinking. It’s about community and music, not business, very much unlike most clubs out there today.
I saw Ravi Coltrane’s Universal Consciousness: Melodic Meditations on Alice Coltrane there on Wednesday night. It was truly transcendental. Along with Coltrane, there was Brandee Younger on harp (this woman and her music makes almost everything better), two drumkits + congas (Eric MacPherson, Marcus Gilmore, and Roman Diaz respectively), Rashaan Carter on bass, and David Virelles on wurlitzer (do you know this sound? If not, check it out.), the vibe was ethereal. Roman Filiu sat in on a song too (and rumor had it that Steve Coleman sat in in the first set of the evening as well.) It was standing room only and I got to hang in the back with the brilliant clarinetist, Mike McGinnis (hi Mike!) I’ve been super into Moroccan Gnawa these days which has hypnotic qualities; it is known as trance music after all. Coltrane’s set had a similar mesmerizing vibe. It was so special and one of the best shows I’ve seen in awhile.
Go support these artists and The Jazz Gallery. You can become a member and get discounted admission to their shows. It’s 100% worth it.
Here’s the good stuff happening for the next good while (💁 indicates the best of the best and where you may find me):
Friday, July 21
💁💁💁Music: The Finale of Accordions Around the World: A Band Festival! This is going to be amazing. This year, we have music from Brazil, Colombia, Lebanon, Serbia, and the US. Our host is the wonderful accordion storyteller Rachelle Garniez. And given the date, we will have a Colombian Independence Day celebration with the ever-charming, ever-talented Gregorio Uribe + special guests as a finale. We have the following five bands:
- Bil Afrah Project is a diverse group of New York City musicians joined in celebrating one of Lebanon’s most legendary albums: Ziad Rahbani’s Bil Afrah. An instrumental song suite recorded by Rahbani’s ensemble in 1975, Bil Afrah features some of the Arab world’s most beloved standards, as well as the dazzling taqasim (improvisations) for which the Arabic tradition is so well-known. Renowned in the Arab world, the album is a favorite of aficionados and an inspiration to musicians, and its songs are performed often; but, rarely, if ever, has the Bil Afrah suite been performed in its totality, live and in sequence.
- Sunnyside Social Club melds classic blues like Saint James Infirmary with reworked modern pop songs, and originals about everything from being rejected by a burlesque dancer to having a love/hate relationship with Christmas. Soulful blues accordion backs up a gruff Louie Armstrong-esque croon with growling, nasty trumpet solos and upbeat marching band-style drums.
- Felipe Hostins’ Osnelda is a Brazilian Forró group created by Brazilian Accordionist Felipe Hostins (Lorenzo Jovanotti, Cyro Baptista, +.) Osnelda is Hostins’ grandmother and he mixes elements of home (the music from his South Brazilian upbringing) with Forró, the Northeastern music from Brazil. Hostins has played the music of Luiz Gonzaga, Dominguinhos, Mestre Ambrosio, Jackson do Pandeiro, Joao do Vale, Marines, Flavio Jose, Elba Ramalho, Fagner and others, all around the U.S.
- Zlatni Balkan Zvuk evokes colorful images of a Roma wedding dance party. Meaning “Golden Balkan Sounds” in the Serbian language, Zlatni Balkan Zvuk is the debut project of heralded accordionist, Peter Stan. Stan brings us to his native Banat (a region on the border of Serbia and Romania) to share the traditional, highly-energetic music from his native land, played alongside Stan’s actual and chosen family in the Balkan community in New York and abroad. Stan is known for his playfulness and innovation as the long-time accordionist for the fiery Balkan brass-funk outfit Slavic Soul Party!, as well as one half of the duo with acclaimed vocalist, Eva Salina.
- An established singer, songwriter, accordionist and big band leader, Gregorio Uribe was born in Bogotá, Colombia and is currently based in New York City. Uribe has made a name for himself in the Latin music scene of both New York City and Boston. Well known for leading the Gregorio Uribe Big Band, a 16-piece orchestra that blends cumbia and other Colombian rhythms with powerful big band arranging, Uribe released the debut album Cumbia Universal (Zoho Music) featuring 8-time Grammy-winner and Latin music icon Rubén Blades in 2015. Uribe has been a guest artist with Carlos Vives (multiple Grammy winner) on several occasions, most recently at Madison Square Garden Theater.
I hope to see you there!
Music: As part of the Met Breuer’s “Theater of the Resist” series, vocalist Helga Davis, the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME), and the first artists I ever presented, PubliQuartet perform. I went a few weeks back and really enjoyed the line-up. The Met is donation based and you can easily enter for some coins, NYC
Music: It kills me that this bill is going up against my own with Accordions. This would have been one of my #1 picks of the summer. Experience the beauty of blind Malian duo Amadou & Mariam along with my habibi friends, Innov Gnawa, Brooklyn
Saturday, July 22
Sunday, July 23
Monday, July 24
Tuesday, July 25
Music: Ronnie Spector, Nona Hendryx, Gaby Moreno, Alynda Segarra from Hooray for the Riff Raff… An evening featuring some of music’s most talented women performing songs from NPR Music’s upcoming list of the 150 greatest albums created by women during the “classic album era” (defined roughly as 1964 to the present), NYC
Wednesday, July 26
Theater/Music: The Public Theater’s Mobile Unit partners with SummerStage for Star-Crossed (Los Desdichados) which will include iconic Latin music and excerpts from Pablo Neruda’s impassioned Spanish translation of Shakespeare’s tale of ill-fated lovers, Romeo and Juliet, Bronx
Thursday, July 27
Film/Music: Passport Thursdays, one of my favorite weekly events at the Queens Museum, focuses on North Africa with music from Zikrayat and the film, The Longest Kiss by my friend Alex (hi Alex!), Queens
Music/Poetry: As part of the Nosotros Festival, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Las Cafeteras, Helado Negro, and Xenia Rubinos perform alongside poet activists, Felipe Luciano (Young Lords), La Bruja, and Bonafide Rojas, NYC
Dance: A night of dance made by Bronx choreographers, BAAD! Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, flamenco dancer Nelida Tirado, bomba and plena group Bombazo Dance, amongst others. Support the Bronx cultural community!, Bronx
Music: Possessing an “exquisite, velvety voice” (Folk Radio UK), a nuanced old-time banjo style, and thought-provoking lyrics, singer-songwriter Kaia Kater finds contemporary resonance in the musical treasures of Appalachian history, NYC
Friday, July 28
Dance/Music: As part of the Met Breuer’s “Theater of the Resist” series, “find of the season” vocalist Davone Tines performs alongside Sidra Bell Dance New York, and Himanshu Suri a.k.a. Heems (of Das Racist and Swet Shop Boys fame). I went a few weeks back and really enjoyed the line-up. The Met is donation based and you can easily enter for some coins, NYC
Film: Films on the Green is a French film festival around NY. This year, they leave the curation to famous artists, directors, musicians, etc. This week, Isabella Rossellini selects Elena and Her Men, NYC
Saturday, July 29
Demonstrations/Talk/Film: After a 30-plus year hiatus, Double Dutch returns to the plazas of Lincoln Center for a two-day event celebrating double dutch and the women of color who’ve contributed to the cultural fabric of NYC through this competitive sport turned art form, NYC
Music: Corona Youth Music Project (CYMP or Núcleo Corona) is a tuition-free music education program that promotes social inclusion in NYC, following the philosophy of El Sistema, a movement of social action through music that started in Venezuela in 1975: every child has the right to excel as a member of a musical ensemble. They perform!, Queens
Sunday, July 30
Demonstrations/Music: After a 30-plus year hiatus, double dutch returns to the plazas of Lincoln Center for a two-day event celebrating double dutch and the women of color who’ve contributed to the cultural fabric of NYC through this competitive sport turned art form, NYC
Dance/Music: It’s hard to believe hip-hop is celebrating four decades. Join Rock Steady Crew, the Bronx-conceived b-boy crew with this annual who’s who of classic hip-hop performers featuring Brooklyn’s Grammy-nominated female rap visionary, MC Lyte, NYC
Music: Grammy-nominated alto sax player Patrick Bartley presents the premiere of Open World, which explores the relationship that narrative and imagery have with musical performance, with the saxophone as the narrator or main character, NYC
Aight, that’s what I got. Have a great (hopefully accordion-filled) weekend everyone!
All good things,