Tag Archives: middle eastern music

A Rare Chance to See Haunting Large-Ensemble Turkish Music in the West Village

Source: New York Music Daily

One of the most serendipitous developments in New York music this year is that Seyyah, who might be this city’s most epic Turkish band at the moment, have been playing more lately. Which is more impressive than it seems, considering that percussionist/singer Jenny Luna has been plenty busy with her own similarly haunting Turkish-Balkan band Dolunay. Pretty much everybody else in Seyyah plays with other bands as well. Tanbur lute player Adam Good is also in Dolunay, and lends his prowess on many stringed instruments to numerous other groups including sizzling rebetiko metal band Greek Judas. Oudist ...

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Some Great December Shows Reprised This Month

Source: New York Music Daily

Who says December is a slow month for live music in New York? The first three weeks were a nonstop barrage of good shows. And a lot of those artists will be out there this month for you to see.

Last summer, Innov Gnawa played a couple of pretty radical Barbes gigs. With bandleader Hassan Ben Jaafer’s hypnotically slinky sintir bass lute and the chorus of cast-iron qraqab players behind him, they went even further beyond the undulating, shapeshifting, ancient call-and-response of their usual traditional Moroccan repertoire. Those June and July shows both plunged more deeply into the edgy, chromatically-charged ...

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Live Music Calendar for New York City and Brooklyn for January and February 2018

Source: New York Music Daily

Free and cheap concerts in just about every neighborhood. If you’re leaving your hood, make sure you check http://www.mta.info for service changes considering how the trains are at night and on the weekend.

Constant updates. If you don’t recognize a venue where a particular act is playing, check the comprehensive, recently updated list of over 200 New York City music venues at New York Music Daily’s sister blog Lucid Culture.

This is not a list of every show in town – it’s a carefully handpicked selection. If this calendar seems short on praise for bands and artists, it’s because every act here is ...

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3MA’s Superstar African Improvisers Blend Their Hypnotic Powers

Source: New York Music Daily

3MA – the trio of Malian kora player Ballake Sissoko, Moroccan oudist Driss El Maloumi and Malagasy valiha harp player Rajery – are an African supergroup. Their popularity and influence stems from how the three – each a popular solo performer and highly sought out collaborator – have developed a distinctive, hypnotically intertwining group sound. Their new album Anarouz is streaming at Spotify. It’s music to get lost in,

Although there are places on the album where the melody edges toward the Middle East, or the Sahara, or East Africa, it’s seldom genre-specific. These guys aren’t the African Dead ...

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The Todd Marcus Orchestra Play a Riveting, Epic Set at Smalls

Source: New York Music Daily

Last night Smalls was packed for the New York debut of the Todd Marcus Orchestra’s new Middle Eastern jazz suite In the Valley. Much as the band onstage was cooking, these people had come to listen. Bass clarinetist and bandleader Marcus gets a mighty sound, bigger than you would expect from a nine-piece outfit. Part of that stems from Marcus’ use of the whole sonic spectrum, Gil Evans-style. The other is how much gravitas he builds in the lows, best exemplified by the punchy contrapuntal interweave during the first set’s towering final number, Horus, Marcus teaming up with trombonist ...

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Live Music Calendar for New York City and Brooklyn for December 2017 and January 2018

Source: New York Music Daily

Free and cheap concerts in just about every neighborhood. If you’re leaving your hood, make sure you check http://www.mta.info for service changes considering how the trains are at night and on the weekend.

Constant updates. If you don’t recognize a venue where a particular act is playing, check the comprehensive, recently updated list of over 200 New York City music venues at New York Music Daily’s sister blog Lucid Culture.

This is not a list of every show in town – it’s a carefully handpicked selection. If this calendar seems short on praise for bands and artists, it’s because every act here is ...

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Vigen Hovsepyan Reinvents Stark, Impactful, Frequently Haunting Armenian Themes

Source: New York Music Daily

The little nation of Armenia seems to have more good musicians per capita than almost anywhere in the world. So it makes sense that one of the most intriguing albums to come over the transom here in the past year is singer/bandleader Vigen Hovsepyan’s Echoes: Revived Armenian Folk Music, streaming at Spotify. Hovsepyan plays guitar, duduk and percussion and sings in Armenian in a strong, expressive baritone, backed by bass, percussion, oud, cello, and traditional reeds including duduk and zurna. What differentiates this collection from more traditional versions of these tunes is the imaginative arrangements, with edgy, crescendoing solos ...

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Wild Turkish Psychedelic Rock Rescued From Obscurity

Source: New York Music Daily

One of the most amazing albums released this year is Uzelli Psychedelic Anadolu, a compilation streaming at Spotify that pays homage to the Turkish cassette label that released some of the wildest, most surreal sounds to emerge from that part of the world. Spanning from 1975 to 1984, this trippy ten-track playlist collects hard funk, symphonic rock, disco, electrified Turkish traditional ballads and anthems…and what sounds like a long radio commercial.

String synth, organ, wry wah synth and soaring, otherworldly, microtonal zurna oboe mingle in Zor Beyler’s suspenseful, lushly anthemic Gozumdeki Yaslar. The second track, by guitarslinger Erkin Koray, is ...

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A Night of Haunting, Adrenalizing, Poignant Sounds From the Greek Underground

Source: New York Music Daily

University of Illinois music professor Yona Stamatis, a native New Yorker, was on a mission to find the real rebetika, the so-called “Greek blues.” The music actually doesn’t sound the least bit bluesy. Popularized by ethnic Greek refugees from Turkey and Cyprus, much of it bristles with the eerie microtones and slinky rhythms of Middle Eastern music. At its peak in the 1920s and 30s, it was the sound of the criminal underworld as well as the pro-democracy underground fighting a brutal dictatorship. Rebetika is still played in tavernas and on Greek tv, but all too often it’s watered down, ...

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A Tantalizing Taste of Golden Fest Last Night at Trans-Pecos

Source: New York Music Daily

It’s not likely that the WNYU folks had Golden Fest in mind when they booked three of New York’s most exciting bands to play Trans-Pecos last night. But the triplebill of riveting Macedonian duo Glas, hotshot oudist Kane Mathis and haunting Turkish band Dolunay are all vets of the annual Brooklyn mecca for sounds from across the Balkans and the Middle East as well. Golden Fest 2018 takes place next January 12 and 13; this was a hint of the kind of wild intensity and stark rapture that will be in almost absurd abundance there that weekend.

Glas, the ...

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A Potentially Paradigm-Shifting Series of Women Performers at the New School

Source: New York Music Daily

In conversation with the audience and performers at her potentially paradigm-shifting new series Women Between Arts at the New School yesterday, singer/actress/impresario Luisa Muhr contemplated the complexities of branding interdisciplinary works. How do you market something that resists easy categorization? Maybe by calling it what it is: outside the box. Considering the turnout, there definitely is an audience for what might be the only interdisciplinary series focusing on women performers whose work encompasses so many different idioms in New York right now.

When Muhr springboarded the project, she’d assumed that Women Between Arts would be one of at least five ...

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La Mar Enfortuna Lead a Haunting Guided Tour of Sephardic Music at the Jewish Museum

Source: New York Music Daily

There was a point last night at the Jewish Museum where La Mar Enfortuna guitarist Oren Bloedow, playing a gorgeous black hollowbody Gibson twelve-string, hit an achingly ringing, clanging series of tritones. Violinist Dana Lyn answered him with a flittingly menacing couple of high, microtonal riffs. It was like being at Barbes, or the Owl, except on the Upper East Side.

That good.

For four years now, the Bang on a Can organization has been partnering with the Jewish Museum for a series of concerts that dovetail with current exhibits there. This time out, La Mar Enfortuna’s ...

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Live Music Calendar for New York City and Brooklyn for November and December 2017

Source: New York Music Daily

Dozens of listings coming momentarily for venues who wait til the eleventh hour to update their calendars!

Free and cheap concerts in just about every neighborhood. If you’re leaving your hood, make sure you check http://www.mta.info for service changes considering how the trains are at night and on the weekend.

Constant updates. If you don’t recognize a venue where a particular act is playing, check the comprehensive, recently updated list of over 200 New York City music venues at New York Music Daily’s sister blog Lucid Culture.

This is not a list of every show in town – it’s a carefully handpicked ...

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Innov Gnawa Bring Rare Moroccan Jewish Ritual Healing Trance Grooves to Baltimore

Source: New York Music Daily

It’s not clear if Innov Gnawa are the first American band to play the slinky, trance-inducing ritual healing grooves of Moroccan percussion-and-bass gnawa music. But there’s no question that they’re the only band in this hemisphere currently playing it. True to their name, they’re taking an ancient sound rarely heard outside of Morocco to new places, whether with their own mesmerizing improvisations, or with repertoire never before heard outside of North Africa.

What’s clear is that their April West Village performance of extremely rare Jewish gnawa repertoire was the first time that’s ever been heard on this continent. Even by ...

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Live Music Calendar for New York City and Brooklyn for October and November 2017

Source: New York Music Daily

Free and cheap concerts in just about every neighborhood. If you’re leaving your hood, make sure you check http://www.mta.info for service changes considering how the trains are at night.

Constant updates, including Barbes listings for the second half of the month coming momentarily. If you don’t recognize a venue where a particular act is playing, check the comprehensive, recently updated list of over 200 New York City music venues at New York Music Daily’s sister blog Lucid Culture.

This is not a list of every show in town – it’s a carefully handpicked selection. If this calendar seems short on praise for bands ...

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Turkish Star Halil Sezai’s Brooding Revolutionary Ballads Haunt the Crowd at Drom

Source: New York Music Daily

Saturday night at Drom, Turkish crooner Halil Sezai eventually got the crowd singing along. But he didn’t do it with flag-waving Eurovision-style stadium cliches. He did it with a carefully crafted set of allusive, slow-to-midtempo ballads about revolution and the relentless stress of life in a police state, in styles ranging from moody parlor pop, to methodically crescenddoing anthems awash in minor keys, with microtonally-infused fills and solos delivered by his absolutely brilliant clarinetist. To call this music for our time is an understatement to the extreme.

Sezai sat for the duration of the show, which made sense considering that ...

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Visionary Trumpeter Amir ElSaffar Explores Indian Themes at a Familiar Lincoln Center Haunt

Source: New York Music Daily

Amir ElSaffar’s Two Rivers Ensemble played the most epic, richly ironic show of 2017. Completely unprepared for a frequent drizzle that threatened to explode overhead, they swept through a vast, epic, oceanic suite largely based on Arabic modes, in the shadow of a building festooned with the most hated name in the English language, deep in the wicked heart of the financial district. That the visionary trumpeter/santoorist/singer’s mighty, heavily improvisational orchestra would be able to pull off such a darkly majestic, ultimately triumphant feat under such circumstances is reason for great optimism.

While this monumental suite, Not Two, references ...

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Visionary Trumpeter Amir ElSaffar Explores Indian Themes at a Familiar Lincoln Center Haunt

Source: New York Music Daily

Amir ElSaffar’s Two Rivers Ensemble played the most epic, richly ironic show of 2017. Completely unprepared for a frequent drizzle that threatened to explode overhead, they swept through a vast, epic, oceanic suite largely based on Arabic modes, in the shadow of a building festooned with the most hated name in the English language, deep in the wicked heart of the financial district. That the visionary trumpeter/santoorist/singer’s mighty, heavily improvisational orchestra would be able to pull off such a darkly majestic, ultimately triumphant feat under such circumstances is reason for great optimism.

While this monumental suite, Not Two, references ...

Read full article >>

Live Music Calendar for New York City and Brooklyn for September and October 2017

Source: New York Music Daily

Free and cheap concerts in just about every neighborhood. If you’re leaving your hood, make sure you check http://www.mta.info for service changes considering how the trains are at night.

Constant updates. If you don’t recognize a venue where a particular act is playing, check the comprehensive, recently updated list of over 200 New York City music venues at New York Music Daily’s sister blog Lucid Culture.

This is not a list of every show in town – it’s a carefully handpicked selection. If this calendar seems short on praise for bands and artists, it’s because every act here is recommended if you like ...

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A Spicy Midsummer Taste of Golden Fest at Lincoln Center Out of Doors

Source: New York Music Daily

It’s a fair bet that rustic Carpathian acoustic music-and-dance ensemble the Cheres Folk Orchestra, Malika Kalontarova’s otherworldly tar lute-driven Tajik group, explosive Georgian crew the Dancing Crane Ensemble, and exhilarating Albanian music stars Merita Halili & the Raif Hyseni Orchestra have played Golden Fest, the nation’s most electrifying Balkan music festival, which takes place every January in Brooklyn. So it’s no surprise that these four acts’ show Sunday afternoon turned out to be the highlight of this year’s Lincoln Center Out of Doors festival so far.

The Tirana-born Halili has a wide-angle vibrato that she engages like ...

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Souren Baronian Brings His Agelessly Soulful Fun and Middle Eastern Jazz Gravitas Back to Barbes

Source: New York Music Daily

Is Souren Baronian a NEA Jazz Master yet? If not, there are guys younger and a lot less accomplished who’ve received that honor. No time like the present, people…while there still is such thing as the NEA.

Now in his eighties, the Armenian-American multi-reedman, percussionist and bandleader is absolutely undiminished as a soloist, one of the greatest pioneers and most soulful players in the history of jazz, let alone the Middle Eastern jazz  he’s made  a career in. He’s bringing the latest edition of his long-running Taksim ensemble to an intimate show at Barbes on August 10 at 10 PM; ...

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Wild Balkan Band Tipsy Oxcart Bring Their Intensity to a Free Upper West Side Park Gig

Source: New York Music Daily

Rule of thumb is that if a band is reasonably competent in daylight, they’re probably great after the sun goes down. Considering how wild Tipsy Oxcart can get at night, it was no surprise to see them kick out the jams last week at Madison Square Park despite taking the stage just after noon The fiery Balkan and Middle Eastern band have squeezed their way onto the summer parks concert circuit, and they’re doing that again this Wednesday, August 9 at 1 PM at the triangle at 66th and Broadway.

Their opening number was epic. Tricky syncopation, slashing chromatic edges, ...

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Live Music Calendar for New York City and Brooklyn for August and September 2017

Source: New York Music Daily

Free and cheap concerts in just about every neighborhood. If you’re leaving your hood, make sure you check http://www.mta.info for service changes considering how awful the trains have been lately.

Constant updates. Considering how Trump’s minions are hell-bent on slashing funding for the arts, this might be the last good season of free summer shows here for awhile. So you might want to bookmark this page and check back every so often – and then go out! If there was ever a summer in New York to check out some cool free live music, this is it!

If you don’t ...

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Le Trio Joubran Salute Their Late Collaborator Mahmoud Darwish With an Unforgettable, Intense Performance at the Lincoln Center Festival

Source: New York Music Daily

There were innumerable long passages in Palestinian oud-playing brothers Le Trio Joubran’s multimedia performance last night at the Lincoln Center Festival that were absolutely shattering. Time stood still. When did Wish You Were Here, the stark, haunted dirge that the trio began with, end? After five minutes of hushed, bereaved minimalism, or closer to thirty? Realistically, it was on the shorter side, but it left a vast impact.

Yet moments like those were balanced by others that were ridiculously funny. Which ultimately came as no surprise, considering that the show was a homage to the group’’s late collaborator and ...

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It’s a Great Summer for Middle Eastern Music in New York

Source: New York Music Daily

While much of the New York City parks system is on the highway to privatized hell – both Central Park Summerstage and the Prospect Park Bandshell series are selling ticketed seats to free concerts now – we haven’t yet reached the point where free summer concerts here have been whitewashed and yuppified to the point of irrelevance. Meanwhile, serendipitously, there have been some new publicly accessible concert series popping up, keeping the hallowed tradition of free summer concerts here alive.

One public space that’s been flying more or less under the radar until recently is Bryant Park. It wouldn’t be ...

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