Guitar Mash and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment present “Urban Campfire”

On February 7, Guitar Mash and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment will bring an audience as diverse as Queens itself to “mash” with some of the music industry’s most acclaimed guitarists and singer/songwriters when Flushing Town Hall hosts the first-ever NYC Urban Campfire: QUEENS.

Guitar Mash Urban Campfire breaks down the wall between stage and audience. Everyone in attendance is encouraged to bring their guitars, other stringed instruments, their voices and energy to perform along with the evening’s featured talent. The concert will be led by Guitar Mash’s Artistic Director, Mark Stewart (Musical Director with Paul Simon since 1998) and his special guest, Carlos Alomar (known for his work with David Bowie) and will also feature renowned artists and singer-songwriters sharing the songs and stories that shaped them.

At every Urban Campfire, Guitar Mash projects lyrics and chords for easy follow-along, and “Chord Coaches” help attendees to get seated and tune up. A chord warm-up will take place at 7 PM for attendees who want a little extra time, and a limited number of loaner guitars will be available for those who need to borrow one, courtesy of Recording King.

The extraordinary lineup of musicians represents cultures from Mexico, Argentina, Iran and Puerto Rico, presenting songs that reflect their native cultures, as well as the blues, folk, and rock traditions of America.

Hint® and Fishman® are official sponsors of Guitar Mash, and media support for the NYC Urban Campfire: Queens is provided by WFUV. With thanks to cultural consultant Claudia Norman.

“This will be an extraordinary, interactive event that illustrates our core mission, to provide global arts to our global community,” says Ellen Kodadek, Executive and Artistic Director at Flushing Town Hall. “We savor every opportunity to engage audiences of all ages, and I encourage everyone – from novices to professionals, and even those who just want to be surrounded by great music – to bring their guitars or other string instruments or just enjoy this communal experience. We are thrilled to welcome Guitar Mash to Queens!”

This event is supported in part by the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment

“Urban Campfire offers music enthusiasts throughout the five boroughs the opportunity to come together with professional musicians to play and enjoy music from a variety of backgrounds and genres. We are proud to support this interactive forum that gives New Yorkers direct access to the diverse talent pool of NYC’s thriving music community,” said NYC Commissioner of Media and Entertainment Anne del Castillo.

“We are so grateful to the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment for making it possible for Guitar Mash to reach new communities and thrilled to be coming to the historic Flushing Town Hall in the most diverse borough in the City,” says Guitar Mash Founder and Executive Producer Rebecca Weller. “Our mission is to connect people of all ages, backgrounds and musical abilities through singing, playing and sharing stories – transcending our egos and all our differences.”

The Urban Campfire was founded by the Executive Producer, Rebecca Weller and the Artistic Director, Mark Stewart, who also serves as Paul Simon’s long-time music director and is a founding member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars. Weller is a veteran producer and social entrepreneur who founded groundbreaking participatory programs including Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing and Harmony in the Kitchen.Guitar Mash has enjoyed steady success since it launched the original New York City Urban Campfire in 2012, establishing an annual Nashville Urban Campfire in 2018 and initiating a free monthly songwriting circle for teens. For the third consecutive year they have joined with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment to bring musical events to people all over NYC. Learn more about Guitar Mash at guitarmash.org. The NYC Urban Campfire: QUEENS will feature:

  • Carlos Alomar: After 32 international gold and platinum records, Alomar’s place in music history is secure. The legendary guitarist burst onto the rock scene with David Bowie in the mid-1970s, when Bowie and John Lennon co-wrote the hit song “Fame.” Over the next 30 years, Carlos would record and tour the world as Bowie’s music director. He co-wrote Mick Jagger’s first solo effort “She’s The Boss,” Iggy Pop’s comeback hit “Sister Midnight,” and played guitar for a Who’s Who of pop/rock royalty, among them Paul McCartney, Simple Minds, Bruce Springsteen, Alicia Keys, Graham Parker, Mark Ronson “featuring Bruno Mars”, Mystikal, Duran Duran, and more. Carlos is co-founder of the National Rock Movement of Puerto Rico and advisor to the Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.
  • Fernandito Ferrer: For the last two decades, Fernandito has been a pioneer among the new crop of singer-songwriters to emerge from Puerto Rico.  Continuing the Nueva Canción tradition, this stage veteran combines classic repertoire with a new musical language that uses looping to fuse rhythms and genres of all kinds. Fernandito tours extensively around the Caribbean, the United States, and Latin America; notable appearances include the Festival de la Canción Bolivariana, La Casita at Lincoln Center, Trovafest, and Summer Stage opening for Silvio Rodriguez.
  • Renee Goust: A Mexican-American singer-songwriter, artivist and queer feminist, Renee’s sound is culturally diverse, ranging from canción neo-ranchera to folk-pop to feminist cumbias norteñas. Raised bilingual and having grown up crossing the US-Mexico border daily to and from school, Renee has appeared at such renowned venues as Lincoln Center, Joe’s Pub, Brooklyn Museum, and Foro del Tejedor. In 2016, Renee made headlines around the world with her viral feminist anthem “La cumbia feminazi.”
  • Haleh Liza: A vocalist, composer, translator, and poet, born in New York City of Iranian descent, Haleh sings in English, Persian, and Spanish. Haleh has performed at such venues as Lincoln Center, the UN, Carnegie Hall, and the Bonnaroo Festival, and her poems have been published by Columbia University Press and Rattapallax Press. She is a translator of Persian poetry, and her book of Rumi translations will be released on New York Review Books in 2021.
  • Sofia Rei: A Grammy nominated and four-time International Music Award-winning vocalist, songwriter, and producer, Sofia has carried diverse Latin American traditions from her native Buenos Aires to New York City, fusing these sounds with jazz, classical, pop, and electronic music. Her versatility has connected her with such like-minded innovators as John Zorn, Maria Schneider, Marc Ribot, Bobby McFerrin, Pedrito Martinez, John Medeski, Susana Baca and Guillermo Klein, performing at top venues and festival stages around the world.
  • Mark Stewart: A multi-instrumentalist, composer, and instrument designer, Mark is the founding Artistic Director of Guitar Mash and a founding member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars and the comic duo Polygraph Lounge. Since 1998, he has recorded, toured and been Musical Director with Paul Simon. Mark has performed and recorded with Steve Reich, Sting, Ornette Coleman, Bob Dylan, Meredith Monk, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Joan Baez, Jimmy Cliff, Elliot Goldenthal, and David Byrne. Since its founding in 2012, Mark has helped a wide diversity of Guitar Mash artists share the songs and stories that have shaped them.

You can purchase affordable tickets—only $10 for Non-Members, or $8 for Members and Students—to the event here, or by visiting www.flushingtownhall.org or by calling (718) 463-7700 x222. In 2020, Flushing Town Hall will continue to open its doors to teenagers for free. Under the “Teen Access Program,” all 13- to 19-year-olds (whether members or not) will be welcomed to attend any performance for free

Flushing Town Hall can be reached by car, bus, and subway. It is located a short distance from the 7 train—at 137-35 Northern Blvd., in Flushing, Queens. Access for wheelchair users and people with limited mobility is available.

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