Monthly Archives: October 2009

An incentive to check out our friends at Bold As Love

BoldAsLove

If you haven’t checked out the blog Bold As Love (The mainstreaming of Black rock music and the evolution of the new Black imagination), you really should. The blog, a friend of Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone?, always provides provocative and entertaining reading.

And now there’s an extra incentive to check it out. Bold As Love is offering a 17-track compilation album for free. Just click here to go to the post that has all the info you need to get your copy. Check it out. And be sure to go back to Bold As Love regularly for great new posts — right after you’ve checked in on WYMMWIG, of course!

Os Mutantes: Mutant music at Webster Hall

Sergio Diás leading Os Mutantes through a rollicking set at NYC's Webster Hall. (Photos copyright 2009, Steven P. Marsh)

Sergio Diás and Bia Mendes leading Os Mutantes through a rollicking set at NYC's Webster Hall. (Photos copyright 2009, Steven P. Marsh)

The Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? team has no real excuse for missing out on the original incarnation of Os Mutantes— except for the fact that the whole team (that would be me) never went to Brazil, was kept in a cage for most of the Sixties and was only allowed to listen to baseball games on they tiny transistor radio his grandmother gave to him after extracting a promise that he wouldn’t use it to listen to “the devil’s music.”

So it was a revelation when the legendary psychedelic band reunited in 2006 (after a hiatus that started in 1978) and I started listening to the original recordings. The sound was of its time, but not dated, spectacularly playful and inventive. And the reunited band — which at that time included both founding brothers Sergio Diás and Arnaldo Baptista — did not disappoint when I saw them at the Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center in 2007.

That show was full of pomp and circumstance in a formal theater. The audience was seated, and stayed that way pretty much to the end. Os Mutantes is a rock band, and I didn’t feel I got the full impact sitting through that show, no matter how strong it was musically.

So I was thrilled to see Os Mutantes (with a new lineup, as Arnaldo has left the band and the awesome and earthy Bia Mendes has stepped in as the female singer, replacing Zélia Duncan, a somewhat chillier vocalist who during the early part of the reunion replaced original singer Rita Lee) booked at Webster Hall last Thursday. Although it’s not my favorite place to see a show, at least it was a real rock club, which somehow seemed more fitting for such a rockin’ band.

We were not disappointed. Sergio —  the proud 58-year-old who rocked out like he was half that age — and company put on a fantastic show.

For more photos of Os Mutantes, Brooklyn-based opener DeLeon, and an Os Mutantes video, click through to the jump. Continue reading

Hope Sandoval likes to keep us in the dark

Hope Sandoval stays cloaked in darkness on the Music Hall of Williamsburg stage.

Hope Sandoval stays cloaked in darkness on the Music Hall of Williamsburg stage.

Last night was a busy one for Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? After the fantastic GraceMusic performance by Anonymous 4 in Nyack, there was just enough time to make it to Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg for Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions.

Because she had some technical difficulties, there was plenty of time to get into position for her set.

If you’ve never seen Hope perform before (I hadn’t), you need to know that the former Mazzy Star lead singer like to perform in darkness. The set started with an announcement that no photography was allowed, and one of the band’s roadies was pretty aggressive about pointing out suspected photo pirates in the audience, using a very bright flashlight beam. (As you can see, WYMMWIG got access to a photo. My apologies for the poor quality, but conditions were far less than ideal.)

Hope’s set was subdued but lovely. Her first song, “Blanchard,” was so low-key that her voice was almost inaudible in the sound mix. After that problem was repaired, her singing could be heard, but remained deliberately obscured.

Hope sang and played glockenspiel front and center onstage, with only the flickering light of projected silent films illuminating her face from time to time. She let her songs do her talking, pausing to speak a few words only in response to a cry of “We love you, Hope” from the audience. Her response: “If you love me, stop the people from talking!”

In the end, it was a strong set, but I didn’t feel compelled to applaud loudly for more. It was just enough,

Read more about the show at Yes, I Am That Important!, which also posted the set list:

Credit: Yes, I Am That Important!

Credit: Yes, I Am That Important!

Hope and her band are still in town, and will perform tonight at 9 a Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancey Street, near the Bowery, Manhattan. (212) 533-2111. $22 at the door.

Medieval polyphony rocks!

The Nyack waterfront, looking north to Hook Mountain.

The Nyack waterfront, looking north to Hook Mountain.

Anonymous 4 unveiled their latest concert program, Secret Voices: Music from Las Huelgas, c. 1300,  in Nyack last night, wowing a packed GraceMusic audience.

Grace Episcopal Church, Nyack, NY

Grace Episcopal Church, Nyack, NY

It’s a lovely collection of polyphony from a Cistercian convent near Burgos, in north-central Spain, programmed around the structure of a liturgical day —in particular a day honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Over the course of about 75 minutes, the audience was carried through the day from First Light, moving into Morning and so forth, ending with Night.

The four women of Anonymous 4 — Ruth Cunningham, Marsha Genensky, Susan Hellauer and Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek — blended their voices beautifully, as always, as they sang motets and liturgical elements in various configurations, sometimes letting just two voice do all the work. Their un-amplified sound filed the rustic Gothic nave.

Apologies for the lack of concert photos, but the artists requested that now photographs be taken.

Thank you to everyone who attended. This concert was a benefit performance for Grace Church, which has housed GraceMusic for 40 years. This was the first show in the GraceMusic season. Upcoming programs include:

40th Annual Messiah Sing – 4:00 p.m. – December 6, 2009
Rockland’s only Messiah Sing! We provide the soloists, you sing the choruses! A holiday tradition.
Only $10 – children free

Steppes Song – 4:00p.m. – January 17, 2010
NYC-based, Rockland-dwelling chamber music stars Katherine Fink, Laura McGinnis, and Christopher Oldfather perform music by Russian composers Prokofiev, Cesar Cui, and others.
Admission: $15; Seniors $10, Students $5

ETA3 – 4:00p.m. – February 28, 2010
Juilliard-trained chamber trio (debuted at Alice Tully Hall) plays Debussy, Bartok, and more. Artistically perfect and totally enjoyable”
Click here for artist’s website
Admission: $15; Seniors $10, Students $5

Happy Birthday Johann – 4:00p.m. – April 25, 2010
Cantatas and concerti performed by the Grace Church Choir and Orchestra conducted by Robert Barrows to celebrate Bach’s 325th, including greetings from Dietrich Buxtehude and Antonio Vivaldi.
Admission: $15; Seniors $10, Students $5

All concerts at Grace Episcopal Church, 130 First Avenue, Nyack, NY
Free Childcare available! Meet the Artists receptions follow each concert except Messiah Sing.

Don’t miss Anonymous 4 in Nyack tomorrow

Anonymous 4

Anonymous 4

This is just a reminder to anyone in the NYC metro area that Anonymous 4 are performing Saturday, Oct. 10, at GraceMusic in Nyack, NY. It’s a pleasant and easy trip up the Hudson Valley from the five boroughs or anywhere else in the Tri-State.

The first ladies of early music will be performing their new program, Secret Voices: Music from The Las Huelgas Codex, c. 1300.

It’ll be a fantastic show. And it’s for a good cause, as proceeds will be donated the church, which has housed GraceMusic for decades. Get there early, as seating is general admission. GraceMusic has a limited number of stadium cushions available to make the wooden pews more comfortable. But since this show is likely to draw a full house, I’d advise you to bring your own cushion if possible.

If you drive, the concert is just two blocks from the heart of the village, in easy walking distance from the municipal parking lot and steps away from buses from Tarrytown (connecting service from Metro-North’s Hudson Line) and Manhattan. For schedule information, click here.

Read previous coverage by Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? here. And click here to read more on Anonymous 4’s web site.

Anonymous 4 performs at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10. A meet-the-artists reception follows the concert. Free child care available. Grace Episcopal Church, 130 First Avenue, Nyack, NY. (845) 358-1297. $20 at the door.

Directors Sher and Chéreau talk talk about what they know

Bartlett Sher rehearses at the Met in 2006.

Bartlett Sher rehearses at the Met in 2006.

Metropolitan Opera General Manager Peter Gelb has enlisted some of the world’s greatest directors to shake up Met productions and make them more theatrical.

Patrice Chéreau

Patrice Chéreau

Two of them,  Bartlett Sher (director of the hit revival of South Pacific) and Patrice Chéreau, will join Gelb for a conversation on opera, theater, and the art of directing at the New York Public Library tomorrow evening. Both directors have new productions on the schedule at the Met this season. The talk is called Cognitive Theater.

The talk starts at 7 pm in the South Court Auditorium at the New York Public Library, Fifth Avenue between 40th and 42nd streets. Tickets $25, available online.

Discuss: Twitter at the opera?

OperaHouse

Nashville Opera is encouraging audience members to use Twitter to comment on its performances of Tosca tomorrow and Saturday, and promises to project the Tweets in the lobby of the Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s Andrew Jackson Hall during the show’s two intermissions. (Click here for a full report.)

“Social networking has become an integral part of Nashville Opera’s marketing efforts,” says Carol Penterman, the company’s executive director. “The use of Twitter and Facebook has been the ticket sales catalyst for this production, and we see this unique program of projecting ‘tweets’ in the lobby as a natural extension of our networking strategy.”

The marketing strategy makes sense. Whether you think facebook and Twitter are useful tools or huge time-wasters, there’s no denying their popularity and impact on our culture. Social networks help build buzz about shows, boost sales and clue people in on things the might not have even noticed in the arts pages of the local paper or in other old media.

But it seems to me that this is another example of an arts presenter encouraging its audience to not pay attention to the very thing they’ve come to see. The only way there will be Tweets to project at the intermissions would be if patrons are Twittering during the performance.

Does that make sense? Won’t it be a distraction? I’m a big fan of Twitter and facebook. But I find it terribly distracting to sit in a darkened theater and see audience members’ faces glowing with the reflection of their cell phone and BlackBerry screens as they text or Tweet or send facebook messages. And the clicking of the tiny keys adds another dimension to the distraction.

What do you think about this development? Please weigh in!