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March 2018

"Qyrq Qyz (Forty Girls)" at BAM

by Steven Pisano

20180323-DSC06949(All photos by Steven Pisano.)

The epic story of Gulayim, a teenage female warrior from Uzbekistan who banded 40 female warriors together to fight off invaders, resonates with today's headlines of women fighting back against male power, even though it tells a partly historical, partly mythic story from Central Asia that is centuries old. "Qyrq Qyz" (pronounced close to "kirk kiz") has been passed down by way of oral tradition to the present day, and it is said that almost everyone who lives in one of the "-stans" knows some version of it.

At the Brooklyn Academy of Music this weekend, sold-out audiences were treated to a contemporary telling of the story directed by Saodat Ismailovaa theater artist and filmmaker who has shuttled her work between Tashkent and Paris. With music composed by Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky that combines traditional folk motifs from the region  with more modern ambient music, the production featured musicians on stage, playing traditional instruments and singing.

Continue reading ""Qyrq Qyz (Forty Girls)" at BAM" »


Meredith Monk's "Cellular Songs" at the Brooklyn Academy of Music

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(All photos by Steven Pisano.)

A new work by Meredith Monk is always a cause for celebration. Her performances, which always feature a magical combination of singing, dancing, and visuals, never fail to provoke the mind, even as they entertain. Always more interested in the textures of the voice as instrument, rather than simply a conveyance to sing a song, Monk has long been one of the most extraordinary vocalists of the last 50 years.

Monk's new work, Cellular Songs, is playing at the Harvey Theater at BAM through this weekend. Cellular Songs is sparer than the last work Monk presented at BAM: the brilliant On Behalf of Nature, which played three seasons ago. That work was a rich whirlwind of colors in the sets and in the costumes, and was brimming with Monk's trademark chant-like singing.  

In Cellular Songs, Monk sings with less force than she has in the past, but even in her mid-70s now, she can still entice your ears in a way only she can. If you've only heard her on recordings or in videos, you've missed the special experience it is to hear her sing in person.

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Ticket Giveaway: Bernstein's 'A Quiet Place' at Kaye Playhouse

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In the centennial year of the celebrated conductor, pianist, and composer Leonard Bernstein, there are plenty of options for celebration. Feast of Music is giving away THREE PAIRS of tickets to Bernstein's only opera, A Quiet Place. Next Tuesday's performance will be by the Curtis Opera Theater at the

Kaye Playhouse at 8 pm.Here's how to enter:

1. Email robert@feastofmusic.com    -OR-

2. Retweet our post with the hashtag #freetickets    -OR-

3. Head to our Facebook page and COMMENT on our giveaway post! 

Good luck!


"Africa Now!" at the Apollo Theater

by Steven Pisano

(All photos by Steven Pisano.)

DJ Black Coffee at Africa Now! at the Apollo TheaterThe sixth annual "Africa Now!" concert co-sponsored by the World Music Institute and the Apollo Theater was focused more on the electronic side of African music. The featured act in the first half brought together legendary drummer Tony Allen and techno wiz Jeff Mills, supported by keyboardist Jean-Philippe Dary. The Nigerian-born Allen is widely credited with establishing Afrobeat music back in the 1970s as part of Fela Kuti's band Africa '70. Paired with the Detroit-born Mills, the resulting set was a long improvisational groove that was at turns jazzy, Afrobeat, and techno - and always dreamy. A vibrant light show helped to engage the audience, since the musicians barely moved.

The second half of the show spotlighted the night's big draw, the internationally acclaimed DJ and record producer Black Coffee (Nkosinathi Innocent Maphumulo) from South Africa. The Apollo instantly changed from concert hall to dance club, with the entire house rising up from their seats and dancing. Basically it was house music with a South African flavor.

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