2011 BRIC CELEBRATE BROOKLYN! FESTIVAL
Friday, June 10
Opening Night Gala
Our thirty-third season begins with a free full-band concert by the stylistically omnivorous folk visionary ANDREW BIRD. A classically trained multi-instrumentalist and one of the most original songwriters of his generation, “Bird could be the only performer who’s lit up both Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo with a combination of vocals, violin, guitar, glockenspiel and whistling…he uses centuries-old instrumentation to give depth and soul to folk rock.” (Esquire )
Thursday, June 16
Celebrate Brooklyn! & American Express present Hal Willner’s Freedom Riders Project
featuring Geri Allen, Steve Bernstein, James Carter, Rosanne Cash, Toshi Reagon, Lou Reed, Todd Rundgren, Catherine Russell & many more
Music of the Civil Rights Movement
Featuring Geri Allen, Art Baron, Steve Bernstein, Steve Cardenas, James Carter, Rosanne Cash, Carla Cook, Helga Davis, Curtis Fowlkes, Brad Jones, Briggan Krauss, Eric Mingus, JD Parran, Toshi Reagon, Lou Reed, Todd Rundgren, Tao Seeger, James Staten, Jason Walker, Kenny Wollesen
The maverick music producer HAL WILLNER brings his golden Rolodex and singular genius for curating multi-artist concept shows to the music of the Civil Rights Movement. Commissioned for Celebrate Brooklyn!, this concert celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Rides, which integrated the interstate bus system and helped bring America’s and the world’s attention to the deprivations of the segregated South. In what promises to be an unforgettable event, Willner will convene his usual surprising and eclectic array of musicians, actors, and other artists—established and emerging, famous and infamous—to perform songs that inspired, illuminated, and sprang from the tumultuous aftermath of the Movement. The evening begins with a pre-performance artists discussion. Performers subject to change.
Friday, June 17
Time Warner Cable Series
With their dizzying folktronica—a mix of innovative instrumentation and songwriting with obscure found sound and speech samples—and perfectly calibrated, hallucinatory quick-cut video collages, THE BOOKS “remain more or less a genre of one… the flotsam and jetsam of American culture aren’t a cheap joke to the Books, but a source of endless discovery and joy.” (Pitchfork ) JUNIP, the band that predates Swedish-Argentine singer José González’s solo stardom, conjures an expansive and mesmerizing take on his songs in which “González’s classical guitar and weightless tenor float over soul jazz, Afrobeat, Ethiopian funk and krautrock.” (Rolling Stone) With the “haunting, ethereal, and beautifully melodic” (Paper Magazine) bedroom pop of in-demand pianist and composer Thomas Bartlett’s DOVEMAN. Sponsored locally by Aguayo Realty Group.
Saturday, June 18
Larry Harlow Latin Legends Band: Battle of the Salsa Violins
Bud Light Latin Music Series
LARRY HARLOW, “El Judio Maravilloso,” revolutionized modern salsa as both a musician and producer in his work with the storied Fania label. Here he brings his all-star band to back a violin throwdown of epic dimensions: the great Cuban ALFREDO DE LA FE vs. Brooklyn’s own LEWIS KAHN. Among the young torchbearers of the sound Harlow helped create, few are as electrifying as the Bronx-based LA EXCELENCIA, a group of young hotshots that’s taking the music to new levels but still “emphasizes hard-driving brass and percussion, just like a Fania Records band from salsa’s heyday in the 1970s.” (The New York Times)
Thursday, June 23
A night of top shelf neo-soul with LEDISI, one of the most versatile and dynamic vocalists of her generation, “a singer with nothing left to prove; she’s an artist who’s arrived,” (Soul Tracks), and ANTHONY DAVID, the first artist signed to India. Arie’s Soulbird label, whose acoustic guitar playing and liquid voice recall a young Bill Withers. “The Atlanta singer-songwriter seems to fly below the radar even though he makes some of the most intelligent and soulful music around.” (USA Today)
Known for his collaborations with R&B stars like D’Angelo and Erykah Badu, ROY HARGROVE is among the premier jazz trumpeters of his generation. With his stellar quintet, Hargrove “is reaching a new and elevated level of pure jazz artistry.” (AllMusic ) THE BADWAGON pits two outstanding piano trios, JASON MORAN & THE BANDWAGON and THE BAD PLUS, against one another onstage, trading songs, riffs, and maybe some friendly trash talk. This is the project’s world premier.
Saturday, June 25
The London Souls
Between THE HEAVY’s “menacing and dirty mix of Funkadelic, James Brown and maxi-fuzzed psychedelic garage” (Time Out NY) and the roaring guitars of THE LONDON SOULS channeling “the best bits of your old man’s dusty vinyl collection,” (Relix) a quiet night at the Bandshell it ain’t. SUPERHUMAN HAPPINESS throws some über funky ’80s electro-meets-afrobeat into the pot, to deepen the overall groove. Sponsored locally by Aguayo Realty Group.
Thursday, June 30
Justin Townes Earle
The Hackensaw Boys
Time Warner Cable Series
It’s not your average hootenanny in Brooklyn as long, tall JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE, who “sings like a honky-tonk hero and thinks like a 21st century man,” (Guitar Aficionado) mixes it up with the boundry-pushing quintet PUNCH BROTHERS, whose critically acclaimed album Antifogmatic, "for the sheer technical virtuosity of its compositions and the fearlessness of its arrangements … suggests that Punch Brothers are rapidly evolving into a string-band version of Radiohead.” (Slant) Punk-bluegrass outlaws THE HACKENSAW BOYS will kick things off with a set of adrenaline-charged acoustic mayhem.
Friday, July 1
Natural Expression Rhythm Band
Bud Light Music Series
The mighty STEEL PULSE, “perhaps the last great old-school reggae band left,” (NPR) came storming out of Burmingham, UK in the late ’70s and have never let up, delivering their Rastafarian protest reggae with relentless fire now for three-plus decades. NATURAL EXPRESSION RHYTHM BAND, a sprawling local pan-Caribbean collective, hammers out a joyful noise on everything from cowbells to old car parts.
Thursday, July 7
Court Yard Hounds
The Abrams Brothers
Time Warner Cable Series
The Dixie Chicks might be on hiatus, but sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Robison’s impeccable musicianship and sublime vocal blend live on in their “harmony-laden pop-country hybrid” (Billboard) project COURT YARD HOUNDS. THE ABRAMS BROTHERS, two Canadian brothers and a cousin all too young to have a beer at the Bandshell, are virtuosic interpreters of bluegrass, country, and other American roots idioms whose musical connection goes back four generations deep in their family band.
Friday, July 8
Bud Light Latin Music Series
Celebrate Brooklyn! & LAMC present
The Latin Alternative Music Conference showcases the best of the old guard and the new: LOS LOBOS’ “unpredictable mix of traditional Latin, earthy rhythm & blues, roiling funk, and rock & roll wallop” (LA Weekly) has made them one of the world’s best live bands for decades; Mexico City’s HELLO SEAHORSE! is on a meteoric rise with their “knack for writing pop songs that hit you immediately.” (Stereogum) The bewitching Brooklyn electro rockers ZIGMAT open, and Raul Campos of LA’s KCRW spins between sets.
Saturday, July 9
Lyricist Lounge featuring Raekwon, Smif-N-Wessun, Joell Ortiz, Skyzoo, Neek the Exotic & Large Professor & more
Bud Light Music Series
RAEKWON, whose record Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang is on everyone’s short list for the year’s best, headlines a show curated by the LYRICIST LOUNGE, an NYC hip-hop institution going on 20 years. A Brooklyn-centric lineup of MCs fills out the bill.
Thursday, July 14
Frankie Gavin & De Dannan
Liam ó Maonlaí
Prospect Park swells with traditional sounds from the Emerald Isle: DE DANNAN is presided over by Frankie Gavin, the world’s fastest fiddler (says Guinness, that’s who); LIAM Ó MAONLAÍ of Hothouse Flowers explores the mystical beauty of Gaelic singing; and Belfast’s McPEAKE carry on a family tradition of Irish folk that goes back 100 years. Travel support provided by Imagine Ireland.
Friday, July 15
Vy Higginsen’s Gospel for Teens Choir
The 11-time Grammy-winner SHIRLEY CAESAR, “The First Lady of Gospel,” has been singing for the Lord for six decades with the power and the glory move mountains and her light has never shined brighter. VY HIGGINSEN’S GOSPEL FOR TEENS CHOIR, a prize-winning Harlem educational program/vocal group, will perform an opening set.
Saturday, July 16
Dan Zanes with the Brooklyn Youth Orchestra & Bed Stuy Veterans
Ezra Jack Keats Family Concert
DAN ZANES, the Springsteen of the under 10s, whose “rootsy but rockin’ back-porch approach to music makes parenting more bearable,” (New York Magazine) teams up with the BROOKLYN YOUTH ORCHESTRA and dancers from BSV for an all-Brooklyn blowout destined to be an instant classic. Our annual Ezra Jack Keats Family Concert celebrates the legacy of the trailblazing children’s author, and the day includes readings of some of Keats’ most beloved stories.
Thursday, July 21
West Side Story Dance- & Sing-Along
Music & Movies
When director Robert Wise, choreographer Jerome Robbins, and composer Leonard Bernstein transposed Romeo & Juliet to the gang-ruled streets of NYC, one of Hollywood’s greatest musicals was born. WEST SIDE STORY won 10 Oscars in 1962, including Best Picture, and spawned generations of finger-snapping, Maria-belting dreamers. Now’s your chance to live the dream. Officer Krupke (played by the choreographer Lawrence Goldhuber) will teach you some of the famous steps, and we’ll have the lyrics up on NYC’s largest outdoor screen. Sharks enter at 11th Street, Jets at 9th. The evening begins with a pre-performance artists discussion.
Friday, July 22
Seun Kuti & Egypt 80
The year-long celebration of Nigeria’s 50th anniversary of independence that began last October continues here with a generation-bridging concert. Fronting his father Fela’s legendary band, SEUN KUTI is the living embodiment of afro-pop. FAAJI AGBA, whose lineup includes former members of the Afro-Skittles Band Fatai Rolling Dollar, Chief Seni Tejuoso, and Prince ‘Eji’ Oyewole, is Nigeria’s answer to the Buena Vista Social Club: a supergroup of veteran musicians who are re-popularizing faaji grooves, agidigbo blues, juju and other styles of Nigerian roots. Travel support provided by Arik Air.
Saturday, July 23
Times New Viking
The influence of NJ’s THE FEELIES, “a garage band reimagined by mathematicians, a psychedelic band with no illusions, a folk-rock band hypnotized by repetition, a punk band for introverts,” (Jon Pareles, The New York Times) can’t be overstated: they represent a direct link between the Velvet Underground and just about all of current indie rock. Here Before, their first album of new material in 19 years, came out in April and the band is in a celebratory mood. Opening honors go to REAL ESTATE, who “share tones with North Jersey indie rock titans Yo La Tengo and the Feelies, pouring those influences through warm impressions of oldies radio,” (Pitchfork) and the Columbus, OH lo-fi heroes TIMES NEW VIKING.
The world-renowned Brooklyn-based company returns to the Bandshell with a spellbinding program of works that includes Resurrection (2002), Lucky Charms (1994), and Gloria (1981). Maestro Alan Pierson debuts with the BROOKLYN PHILHARMONIC, and THE BROOKLYN INTERDENOMINATIONAL CHOIR joins in on Gloria for a powerful finale. “Morris’s extraordinary commitment to live music…transforms his performances and enriches the experience immeasurably.” (Washington Post) Friends of CB pre-concert reception sponsored by Warren Lewis Realty.
Friday, July 29
The Malian singer OUMOU SANGARÉ, “the most celebrated performer in West Africa,” (New York Magazine) has brought the enchanting tribal rhythms of her Wassoulou homeland to the global stage with a captivating presence and a voice of pure gold. The Arabic music savant BASSAM SABA “weaves together Lebanese and Arabic folk music with Turkish Gypsy styles and Russian motifs, playing oud, flutes, violin and buzuq…surprisingly funksome stuff.” (Time Out NY)
Saturday, July 30
Dr. John & the Lower 911
DR. JOHN carries the entirety of New Orleans’ rich musical heritage in his fingers, with a bottomless vocabulary that embraces blues, pop, jazz, Zydeco, boogie woogie and rock and roll. Having revived his Nite Tripper persona he is in unstoppable form: his 2010 album Tribal is “close to a career-defining summation from one of America’s most important musicians.” (AllMusic ) In the late ’70s the DC guitarist CHUCK BROWN combined funk, R&B, and early hip-hop with call and response and a syncopated beat to invent a brand new genre—and “The Godfather of Go-Go” has kept the party going ever since. With an opening set of bangin’ bhangra and brass funk by RED BARAAT. Come early for Celebrate Brooklyn!’s first-ever pig roast!
Thursday, August 4
The Complete Metropolis With Alloy Orchestra
Music & Movies
ALLOY ORCHESTRA, “the best in the world at accompanying silent films,” (Roger Ebert) performs its original live score to the newly restored version of Fritz Lang’s METROPOLIS, “a masterpiece of visionary silent cinema…Just about every science-fiction movie you can think of pays tribute to its influence, but to date none has matched its strangeness or its prophetic power.” (A.O. Scott, The New York Times) This print, discovered in 2008 in Buenos Aires, includes 25 additional minutes and is just 4 minutes shorter than the lost original that premiered in 1927; its reconstruction is among the most significant restoration projects in cinema history. The soulful and versatile local cellist MARIKA HUGHES offers a pallet-cleansing set for the sonic and visual roller coaster to come.
Friday, August 5
Ra Ra Riot
Buke and Gass
Time Warner Cable Music Series
With bounding rhythms and infectious hooks, RA RA RIOT’s high-speed chamber pop is an addictive mix that combines “Arcade Fire’s orchestral reveries with Vampire Weekend’s pop sensibility.” (Rolling Stone ) DELICATE STEVE is a wildly energetic and uplifting instrumental band led by the talented guitarist Steve Marion, who’s rumored to play 39 other instruments. Local duo BUKE AND GASS uses strange tools—a mutant bass/guitar hybrid, a modified baritone ukulele, effects pedals, and tricked out foot percussion—to cook up “a throttling yet joyful sound and a handcrafted sensibility.” (NPR)
Saturday, August 6
Ailey II: Revelations
Alvin Ailey’s signature work, one of the great masterpieces of American dance, is revived by AILEY II in a special 50th anniversary celebration of its premier. REVELATIONS is a tribute to the cultural heritage of the African-American—and to Ailey’s genius—that uses spirituals, song-sermons, gospel, and holy blues to fervently explore in movement and music the places of deepest grief and holiest joy in the soul. “Is there a more moving work in 20th century dance than Revelations?” (Chicago Tribune ) The evening begins with a pre-performance artists’ discussion.
Tuesday, June 14
with Special Guest Best Coast
Tuesday, July 12
Wednesday, August 10
Thursday, August 11
with Foster The People
and Midnight Magic