On Friday, May 18, Flushing Town Hall continues its popular Global Mashups series with Global Mashups #3: Mexico Meets Guinea, featuring Banda de los Muertos and Mandingo Ambassadors. Each season, musical artists from across the globe present – and then unite – their melodies in one-of-a-kind performances that are emblematic of Flushing Town Hall’s mission to provide global music to a global community.
Representing Mexico is Banda de los Muertos, known as New York’s best Mexican banda. In the Mexican state of Sinaloa, brass bands, or bandas, are part of every public celebration. For the past twenty years, Oscar Noriega and Jacob Garchik have kept busy in the jazz and classical world, playing sax, clarinet, and trombone. They both became to be obsessed with the brass band music of Sinaloa – the Mexican state better known for El Chapo than its musical output. Oscar, the son of Mexican immigrants, felt a nostalgic connection to the music of his parents. Jacob, who had no prior knowledge of the music, was fascinated by the intricate arrangements, the dexterity of the brass players and the astounding virtuosity of its sousaphone players.
Realizing that there was no traditional banda in Brooklyn, they decided to start their own. They enlisted players familiar to jazz audiences, including Chris Speed, Jim Black, Curtis Hasselbring, Brian Drye, Ben Holmes Justin Mullens, French Horn player Rachel Drehmann, and singer Mireya Ramos of Mariachi Flor de Toloache fame.
The Mandingo Ambassadors, founded in New York by guitarist Mamady Kouyaté in 2005, bring music from Guinea. A veteran of the great orchestras of the golden age of Guinean dance bands (Kélétigui et ses Tambourini, Balla et ses Balladin, Bembeya Jazz) Mamady is a living library of musical science inherited from his griot ancestors and a half-century of experience as an accomplished arranger, band leader, accompanist and soloist in Guinea. Mamady carried the torch to New York where he steadily and diligently went about re-building this glorious sound.
The group’s line-up features Mamady Kouyaté on lead guitar, Andy Algire on drums, Nicholas Cudahy on bass, Mamady Kourouma on rhythm guitar, Oran Etkin on tenor sax and clarinet, Eudy Fernandez on trumpet, Sylvain Leroux on alto sax and flute; and Guinean star singer Bebe Camara.
At Global Mashup event, audiences of all ages experience musical performances from two different regions, and then watch and listen as the musical artists come together on stage for a distinctive third set. Before the start of each performance, audience members participate in dance lessons and are encouraged to jump onto the dance floor again during the performances!
The season’s last two Global Mashups are: Balkans meets El Barrio on June 1; and, Texas meets Peru on June 15. All dance lessons begin at 7:00 PM, followed by concerts at 8:00 PM.
“It’s amazing to behold how the traditional music of one region can blend seamlessly with the sounds of another region,” said Ellen Kodadek, Executive and Artistic Director of Flushing Town Hall. “Each year, we endeavor to make this a unique experience, one you won’t see anywhere else, as artists from across the globe meet for the first time, and then present together.”
Tickets to all shows are $16, and $10 for members and students. Discounts are available when purchasing tickets to multiple Global Mashup performances. You can access details by visiting http://www.flushingtownhall.org/globalmashup or by calling (718) 463-7700 x222.
This season, Flushing Town Hall is opening its doors to teenagers – for FREE. Under the new “Teen Access Program”, all 13- to 19-year-old boys and girls (whether a member or not) will be welcomed to attend any performance for free. The program is designed to appeal to students and help foster a greater love in the arts and culture.
Flushing Town Hall is accessible by car, bus, train and foot – located a short distance from the 7 train – at 137-35 Northern Blvd., in Flushing, Queens. Access for wheelchair users and individuals with limited mobility is available.