I'm excited to be returning to Knoxville, TN this weekend for the Big Ears Festival, which I attended for the first time last year and was pretty much blown away by the wall-to-wall mix of new music, electronic music, jazz, drone, and every other genre that doesn't neatly fit into a Pandora's box. This year's lineup includes everyone from Philip Glass and John Luther Adams, to Andrew Bird and Sunn O))). The festivities begin tomorrow night; stay tuned here and @feastofmusic for updates. Click here for a video montage of last year's festival.
by Steven Pisano
The Africa Now! music festival, which just wrapped up it's fourth year at the Apollo Theater, aspires to provide American audiences with a tasting menu of current trends in African music. Of course, the problem in general with music showcases (i.e., SXSW, CMJ, etc.) is that sometimes a nibble just isn't enough. Often, groups are just hitting their stride when out trots the smiling emcee to introduce the next act.
Alsarah and the Nubatones, a Brooklyn-based band with origins in Sudan, played a silky smooth, jazz-inflected set that would have connected better with an audience in a midsize venue. Occasionally, she let out a sudden roof-raising belt that sent shivers through the audience, but most of the songs mixed gentle jazz rhythms with folk-style vocals, all strained through an East African filter.
Ensemble ACJW, made up of some of the finest young professional classical musicians from the United States, is kicking off a three-concert series at Williamsburg's National Sawdust tonight with “Reflections”: a contemporary program that seeks to provide a space where both audience and performers can explore their own voice, and ultimately form a deeply personal connection to each work. More info about tonight's concert (including a link to purchase tickets) here.
FoM has three pairs of free tickets to give away to tonight's concert. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or retweet this with the hash tag #freetickets for your chance to win. Good luck!