Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Queens Pride with LGBTQ Voices

To help kick off Queens Pride week, Flushing Town Hall presents a free outdoor program featuring established and up-and-coming performing artists who identify as LGBTQ. For the third year, the event is presented with partial support from New York City District 25 Council Member Daniel Dromm, who will provide opening remarks. This year, the event will take place at 78th Street Plaza, near Travers Park, between Northern Boulevard and 34th Avenue.

“We are grateful to Council Member Dromm for his support of this program,” said Flushing Town Hall Executive and Artistic Director Ellen Kodadek. “Flushing Town Hall celebrates diversity in the arts, and Council Member Dromm also recognizes and champions its importance.”

“By celebrating who we are through art and song, we resist those who seek to make us invisible,” said New York City Council Member Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights, Elmhurst).  “I am proud to continue my support of LGBTQ Voices and look forward to the amazing array of participants who bring music, dance and poetry. I salute Flushing Town Hall for organizing this powerful event and thank the performers and directors who make this possible.”

Timothy Bellavia, artist, author, educator, and Flushing Town Hall Teaching Artist, will emcee the event.

Artists were selected via an open call to performing artists of all disciplines, including music, dance, spoken word/poetry, theater, and performance art.

Performers include:

Keith Anthony Fluitt, a singer born and raised in New York City, has worked with many great artists of our time, including Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson. He has performed locally and globally, singing in concerts, plays and Broadway shows.

Jessie Logan is an emerging dance styled singer- songwriter, who has made some noise overseas with his single “Fireflies”. Jessie plans to release his EP this upcoming fall domestically – his style has been compared to Little Jimmy Scott, among other versatile artists.

Ramona Montañez is a musician, songwriter, lyricist, and producer hailing from Queens. Her soulful and textured music speaks to all walks of life, as she considers herself “the voice of many unheard.”

Sidra Bell Dance New York is a boutique brand of prolific movement illustrators based in New York City that presents and fosters innovative and progressive dance theater in a world of ideas.

SALGA Dance Company and SALGA-NYC’s mission is to enable LGBTQ members of the South Asian community to establish cultural visibility and take a stand against oppression and discrimination in all its forms.

In addition to Council Member Dromm, the program is supported by New York State Council on the Arts, Governor Andrew Cuomo, the New York State Legislature, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

Experience Hart Island Requiem on Sunday, May 21

Hart Island Requiem, an experimental, immersive, and investigative theater piece, highlights stories of those who have died and are buried in Hart Island, a public burial ground located in the Bronx. It will be presented by Exploring the Metropolis Con Edison/Flushing Town Hall Composer-in-Residence Tidtaya Sinutoke, who created Hart Island Requiem in collaboration with Ty Defoe.

“Our panel was very excited by Tidtaya’s music. It’s music that’s fresh and invigorating, but also rooted in traditional American musical theater,” says David Johnston, Executive Director of EtM. “She draws on the best of musical theater and Broadway – Stephen Schwartz, Jason Robert Brown, Rodgers and Hammerstein – but she is working with very dark content, examining the lost and forgotten of Hart Island.”

Tidtaya Sinutoke (ฑิตยา สินุธก) is a Thai born, New York City-based composer, writer, and musician, whose composition credits include: Clouds Are Pillows for the Moon (Yale Institute for Music Theatre, ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop, Kilroy’s Honorable Mention List),  Gender Nation, Crossing Borders (CAP21 Residency), Sunrise Prayers (Johnny Mercer Writers Colony) and Yellow Cycle.

A proud member of ASCAP, and the Dramatists Guild. MFA: NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, she participated in the 2014 Composer-Librettists Studio at New Dramatists, the 2015 Johnny Mercer Songwriter Projects, the 2015 New York Foundations for the Arts (NYFA) IAM Mentoring Program, and the 2016 Robert Rauschenberg Residency, and most recently, has been a 2016-2017 Etm Con Edison Composer-in-Residence.  And in February, Tidtaya Sinutoke and Ty Defoe were the recipients of 2017 Jonathan Larson Grants, given annually to honor emerging composers, lyricists and book writers, help to continue Tony Award®-winning composer Jonathan Larson’s dream of infusing musical theatre with a contemporary, joyful, urban vitality.

“Hart Island Requiem is a theatre piece depicts stories of spirits who were buried there, and are gathering at an abandon theme park to remember their life and death,” Sinutoke says, describing her musical style as a “contemporary music theatre sound.”

The presentation takes place at 2:00 PM on Sunday, May 21 at Flushing Town Hall. Admission to the event is free, and no RSVPs are required. More details can be found here.

“We are presenting what we call ‘a table reading’ of the piece. I just recently finished writing all the songs and am very excited to hear it from beginning to end for the first time at Flushing Town Hall,” she says. “I love seeing people’s reaction. When you write something on the page, you won’t know if it’ll work until the audience get to hear it. As theatre writer, we consider the audience as our collaborator too. So it is really exciting.”

This will also be the first time the audience will hear the show from beginning to end as well, and she is grateful to Flushing Town Hall for the space to perfect this presentation. “I always love coming here and walking upstairs to play the piano on the stage,” she says. “Everyone is so kind and supportive of my writing and I’m so happy and lucky that I got to finish this project here. And Flushing is the best place to go get delicious lunch!”

The EtM Con Edison Composers’ Residency program is funded by Consolidated Edison, The Amphion Foundation, the George L. Shields Foundation, AOH Foundation, DJ McManus Foundation, The Reed Foundation and individuals. The program is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Notes from the Field: SU-CASA in action

The following item was provided by Gabrielle M. Hamilton, Director of Education and Public Programs at Flushing Town Hall.

Senior participants from the Elmhurst-Jackson Heights Center select materials to create their first book.

With thanks to the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and New York City Councilman Daniel Dromm, Flushing Town Hall (FTH) Education was able to launch our first SU-CASA in partnership with the Elmhurst-Jackson Heights Senior Center.  This unique program allows FTH to pair our Teaching Artists in senior centers for the creation of arts and cultural projects.

Earlier this  year, FTH Education placed our Teaching Artists Spica Wobbe and Karen Oughtred at the center to initiate The Memory Project.  This project elevates the importance of lifetime storytelling by seniors as the keepers of family tradition, cultural knowledge, and historical information.

During this arts residency, Spica and Karen provide unique programming in literature and puppetry to stimulate seniors’ senses and creativity and imagination.  With each session, participants learn a new skill, such as how to draw a storyboard, create moving images, choose effective keywords, select sensory stimuli, and add pop-up elements to make their book more intriguing.

Memories of childhood homes are tenderly recreated in paper.

Later on, they will be introduced to the basics of using light and shadow, and how to build and manipulate a puppet. Using these skills, seniors create pop-up books and shadow puppet theater inspired by their memories.

Spica and Karen have piloted this program before with much success. Past experiences have shown the pop-up book to be especially helpful when working with English Language Learners.  Personal experiences are conveyed visually without the need for English fluency, although Spica and Karen are well-equipped to work with all populations.

Spica studied with master puppeteers from Taiwan and around the world and has a Masters in Art from New York University.  Spica’s own pop-up book tells the story of her changing neighborhood in her hometown in Taiwan.  Karen is an educator and theater artist who focuses on disadvantaged youth, the disabled, and seniors, and she has a Masters in Art from Antioch University.

The response to this program has been overwhelmingly positive, as the seniors welcomed Spica and Karen warmly.  Karen recently shared this recap of a recent workshop:

As each of our participants holds a treasure trove of special memories, we aim to honor them by documenting chosen ones through this project. Every one of them is an artist with their own way of expressing themselves, so we aim for originality and authenticity.

First attempts at a pop-up book adorn the center.

With eyes closed, our participants pictured their childhood home and were also encouraged to activate their other senses of touch, smell and hearing. Stories of large villas in Peru, village life in Mexico, and city living in Colombia were shared. Next they each sketched their home on colored cardstock of their choosing. Using basic shapes, such as triangles, squares, and rectangles as a guide, participants were instructed to draw a basic outline of their house. Embellishments were added to their designs through collage using colorful textured material. Gardens with exotic flowers and fruit trees, fenced yards, and ornate balconies appeared. After highlighting their house and then cutting it out, they selected where to paste it onto the hinge inside the first page of their pop-up book.

This vital program continues through June and will culminate with an exhibition, storytelling, and reception at Flushing Town Hall’s gallery on June 29, 2017.  Seniors are encouraged to bring their families to the opening and to share their stories through their handmade books and theater. No doubt these books with be cherished family keepsakes.

 

Back to Shanghai’s Golden Age of the 1930s

On Saturday, May 6, Flushing Town Hall will present Shanghai Memories: Golden Songs from the 1930’s and 1940’s. Narrated and hosted by Zhou Yi, this performance by Ba Ban Chinese Music Society of New York is a demonstration of the cultural melting pot that existed in Shanghai during World War II, presenting traditional Shanghai music infused with western influences from jazz and popular music of the day. It paints a vintage scene depicting Shanghai as the Paris of the East.

Tickets to the event – which begins at 7:30 PM – can be accessed here.

The following post was authored by Zhou Yi.

The song “Misty Rain,” composed in Shanghai in 1927 by Li Jinhui, considered the father of Chinese pop, marked the beginning of the era of Chinese popular music. In 1843, Shanghai was one of the first five cities to open its ports to the West and became known as the “Paradise of Adventurers” and the “Paris of the Orient.”  Because of its unique geographic location and the structure of foreign concessions, Shanghai gradually became the most prosperous economic trade and cultural center of the Far East in the early 20th century.

1930s Shanghai Ladies

In the 1930s and 40s, Shanghai was a cultural gathering place that fostered a unique environment for creating hybrid music. The boom of the foreign trading markets, the shantytowns on the riverbank of the Suzhou River, and the cultural mixture of east and west were reflected in the complex timbres of emerging Chinese pop music.  This new genre of Chinese pop was both foreign and domestic as well as modern and traditional.

Influenced by Cai Yuanpei’s (president of Peking University) idea of “east meets west, elegant yet common,” Li Jinhui, Li Jinguang, Chen Gexin, and Chen Dieyi composed a large amount of pop songs based on Chinese folk melodies. These songs later became the representative songs of the golden age of Shanghai, known as the “golden songs.” The outstanding singing talent of Zhou Xuan, Gong Qiuxia, Yao Lee, Bai Hong, Bai Guang, Li Xianglan, Wu Yingyin, and Zhang Loo made the golden songs last for generations.

There were three major styles of pop songs in Shanghai in the 1930s and 40s:

1) The combination of Chinese and Western style in Jiangnan folk melodies can be heard in “Rosebush in Bloom,” “The Wandering Songstress,” “Four Seasons,” and “May Wind.” The uneven lyric patterns from Chinese kunqu opera were used in “Full Moon and Blooming Flowers.”

2) The western operatic style is noticeable in the songs: “Beauty by the Autumn Water,” “Fishing Song,” “If We Met at Another Time,” and “Sending Love Through the Moonlight.”

3) The swing style is reflected in: “Can’t Get Your Love,” “Rose, Rose, I Love You,” “Night-blooming Jasmine,” and “Shanghai Night.”

1930s Singer Li Xianglan

These songs are the originators of the cross-border melange.

Ba Ban Chinese Music Society encourages the audience to consider the fascinating relationship between Chinese pop and Western jazz.  Whether or not these songs originated in African jazz or Asian Chinese music, both genres draw influences from local traditional folk music developed from language and daily life. What is the comparison between the pentatonic scale of Chinese five modes and jazz’s seven modes? What is the difference between the Chinese Yu scale and the blues scale? Does the use of the perfect 4th in a jazz chord voicing contrast with the commonly used perfect 4th in Chinese music?

Founded in 1999, the Ba Ban Chinese Music Society of New York is dedicated to the preservation, creation and presentation of Chinese traditional and contemporary performing arts. Named after an ancient piece of folk music, “Ba Ban” literally means “Eight Beats,” which is the structural basis for the grouping of notes in traditional Chinese music. Narrated and hosted by pipa virtuoso Zhou Yi, how will the performers from Ba Ban Chinese Music, Yimin Miao, Nan Zhang, Lu Liu and Ling Tang present these songs in the Asian Heritage Month this year after a successful traditional southern Chinese music concert in 2016?  How will the guest Chinese jazz singer Vivi Hu and her quartet members, Guang Yang, Changmin Jun and Daniel Silva Baterista reinterpret these golden songs? Come find out!

On May 6th at 7:30 pm, please stop by Flushing Town Hall, the historic building located at the Northern Blvd in Queens to experience nostalgic Shanghai nightlife of the 1930s and 40s. Please wear your vintage clothes in 1930s Shanghai style. Qipao, cheongsam, zhongshan suit, tunic, suit… Dress as a classic Shanghai actress, a high class lady, a foreign banker, a tycoon, a wealthy heir, an underworld kingpin, a gangster, a dock worker, or a rickshaw driver! Use your imagination and show your spirit in vintage Shanghai style. Don’t miss this night filled with singing, dancing, and cosplay!

May wind, blowing the flowers

It’s the season of gardenias again

Flowers remain, but the originals were swept away

Wandering heart, do you remember the voice of your hometown?

May flowers, fragrance in the wind, is it gardenia, white orchids, or night-blooming jasmine?

May wind, blowing through the trees, gently clear the years of dust

Memories of the alley, everywhere roses, planted by whom?

May trees, green in the wind, walk along the cobblestone path

Turn around, the color gradually fades, the rose is red, or white?

May wind, blowing in the sky, floating mist, holding an oil-paper umbrella, rain as before, where is she?

May day, warm wind, leisurely crank the handle of an old gramophone

by the Suzhou River, is it grandma’s home bridge?

May wind, blowing in the night, the sleepless city, when will you return?

A May night, waiting for you in Flushing Town Hall!

 

 

Enjoy Pablo Mayor’s Folklore Urbano Orchestra this Saturday Night

Pablo Mayor, whose powerhouse orchestra has redefined modern Colombian music in the last decade, crosses cultural boundaries with his latest “El Barrio Project,” which takes his renowned Colombian band into the heart of Spanish Harlem and the birthplace of salsa—historically known as “El Barrio.”

This weekend, you can experience Pablo Mayor’s Folklore Urbano Orchestra and Pajarillo Pinta’o dance company team up for a theatrical concert, with a dance lesson at 7:00 pm and a concert at 8:30 PM. Tickets anymore details can be accessed here.

Weaving a theatrical narrative, “El Barrio Project” is a musical story about artists played by artists—NYC musicians, dancers, and actors of diverse backgrounds.  The work presents a musical ensemble (Folklore Urbano Orchestra) and a dance company (Pajarillo Pinta’o dance company) as a metaphor for a NYC community with its diverse mash-up of peoples, and the real-life relationships that develop, exploring themes of culture, immigration, tradition, and love.

Pablo Mayor collaborates with choreographer Daniel Fetecua (formerly of the Limon company, director of Pajarillo Pinta’o), and other composers in this project, with theatrical direction by German Jaramillo of ID Studio Theater. This first production of the new ArtsLatinoNY arts alliance based in the south Bronx, is high-energy salsa dancing and modern choreographies, frenetic “mapale” (and other Colombian rhythms), theatrical drama, and a cooking repertoire of Pablo Mayor’s newest arrangements and collaborative compositions.

The group features artists trained by theater director German Jaramillo of ID Studio Theater, Pablo Mayor’s Folklore Urbano Orchestra with its latest vocalist, Colombian ALEA (Maria Alejandra Jiménez), and invited guests of NYC’s Latin elite: Danny Gonzalez on congas (a long-standing member of the Cuban establishment Orquesta Broadway), David Frankel (Ave. B Salsa Band), multi-instrumentalist Eddie Venegas (Marc Anthony side-man, Orquesta Broadway) on vocals and violin, and vocalist and songwriter “Chino” Melao (an icon in the historic era of NYC salsa), and dancers from Daniel Fetecua’s Pajarillo Pinta’o Dance Company.  The orchestra features Folklore Urbano’s core rhythm section with Franco Pinna on drums, and Dave Hertzberg, bass, Nestor Gómez and Jonathan Gómez on percussion and the usual all-star line-up of jazz horn players.

Tim Kubart and The Space Cadets Sing about New Adventures on May 20

Join us for an unforgettable puppet workshop and family show with Grammy Award-winning and Emmy nominated entertainer, Tim Kubart, and his band, The Space Cadets. Tim’s mission in work and in life is to spread kindness and joy, and to encourage others to do the same.

His “indie pop for all ages” aims to entertain without excluding anyone, young or old. Tim and his songwriting partner Matt Puckett weave their own childhood memories through textured pop tunes with lyrics that bridge the gap between innocence and wisdom. In February 2016, Tim and his team were awarded the Grammy for “Best Children’s Album” for the togetherness-themed album, “Home.” His music is a celebration of the small moments in life, and his shows are always a dance party for all ages.

Tim and his band of Space Cadets have played at-capacity shows at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn Bowl, Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, The Kennedy Center, Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk, and the Smithsonian. They’ve also headlined the family stages at Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits.

Tim has worked on numerous family music projects, most notably “Sesame Street.” His first Sesame composition (written alongside long-time producer Dominic Fallacaro) is the introduction of Julia, the first muppet with autism. His debut children’s picture book “Oopsie-Do!” is being published by “HarperCollins” and will be on bookshelves in 2017.

Tim hosts, produces, and writes the only live morning show for preschoolers, Sunny Side Up, on NBCUniversal’s Sprout Channel. With his co-host Chica the Chicken, Tim sings songs, performs sketches, and celebrates everyday moments for a national audience of kids and their caregivers each day. “Sunny Side Up” earned an Emmy Nomination in 2016 for “Outstanding Children’s Series,” and is the winner of the 2016 Cynopsis Kids Imagination Award for “Best Preschool Series.”

Tickets to the workshop $7, $4 for children, and FREE for members with tickets to the 2:15 PM show. Tickets to the family show are $13, $10 for members, $8 for children and $6 for member children. You can access details by visiting http://www.flushingtownhall.org/ 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.

Introducing Stephanie Chou, Saxophonist, Singer and Composer

Steph Chou by Emra Islek

Stephanie Chou is a saxophonist, singer, and composer based in New York City. Her music combines classical and Chinese influences with jazz and pop harmony and rhythm, and you’ll be able to see her on May 5th at our fourth Global Mashup of the season.

We’ll be mashing up two cultures one stage with an open dance floor that evening, featuring Stephanie Chou, whose music combines Classical and Chinese influences with jazz, and Jamaican artist Owen Romeo with his group Tribal Legacy, presenting an array of Caribbean music. (Tickets are available here.)

Stephanie recently released a new album, Asymptote, which features fresh arrangements of Chinese classics including “The Moon Represents My Heart” and “Kangding Love Song,” a tongue-twister about Eating Grapes, and songs influenced by her love of mathematics and literature. Asymptote features jazz musicians Kenny Wollesen, John Escreet, David Binney, and Zack Lober, as well as viola and erhu virtuoso Andy Lin. Chou’s goal is to create global music that is artistically challenging, bold and fearless, and which presents a unique musical perspective.

(You should check out Stephanie’s “Quiet Night Thought Video” here and an interview she did recently in Chinamerica Radio here.)

Tell me a bit about your background and particularly when you began singing and playing the sax?

I was born in New York City and grew up in Irvington, a small town in Westchester County.  I have been in New York City since 2005. My mother grew up in Taiwan and my father is Chinese-American.  I learned Chinese before learning English. I went to Chinese school on Saturday mornings in addition to public school in Irvington. My mom spoke to me in a mix of Chinese and English at home; my dad mostly spoke in English.  My grandparents, who only spoke Chinese, lived with us for extended periods of time during my childhood.  We frequently visited them in Taiwan.   After attending the Horace Mann School, I graduated from Columbia University with a BA in Mathematics, and also took graduate classes in music composition at the City College of New York.    I have a strong interest and background in classical piano and saxophone, and in college became interested in jazz and improvisation.

I studied classical piano for approximately 15 years during grade school, and have been playing saxophone for nearly 20 years (I started in 4th grade). I have always sung, but only began formal voice studies about 5 years ago. Incorporating my voice into my compositions and performances has felt like a natural outgrowth of what I’d explored musically before, and it has now become my primary instrument.

What can your audience expect to experience at Flushing Town Hall?

They can expect to hear live versions of many of the pieces from my new album Asymptote. We’re playing as a quartet for this show – saxophone/voice, erhu/viola, piano, and drums.

My goal is to create global music that is artistically challenging, bold and fearless, and which presents a unique musical perspective. For those listeners who have some background in Chinese culture and know some of the references, I hope they feel the songs provide a fresh perspective on something they are already familiar with. For listeners for whom the source material is completely new, I hope the music provides an interesting gateway into Chinese culture. Above all, I hope listeners find the music to be intriguing, inventive, and informative. 

What is your impression of Flushing Town Hall?

It seems like a wonderful community center where tons of interesting and cutting-edge music, art, and cultural programs meet. Flushing Town Hall is an important part of the New York community and gives so many people access to great programming they otherwise might not be able to find. Flushing Town Hall supports such a wide variety of music, art, education initiatives from local and international groups – and is a major cultural institution in Queens. I am very excited to be performing there for the first time!

Steph Chou by Emra Islek

What do like most about live performances?

I like the feeling of playing together with other musicians, in real time. I like the temporal aspect of it. Most of all, though, I enjoy performing as a way to interact with the audience through music.

What intrigues you most about the global Mashup series?

The chance to be paired with a group that I’d most likely never otherwise be programmed on the same night with. Interacting with music from another culture in a spur-of-the-moment unpredictable new way and performing for an audience interested in various world musics.

Queens Jazz OverGround Presents the Fifth Annual Spring Jazz Fest on April 30

Brian Woordruff, Lisa Parrott, Jacob Varmus, Darius Christian Jones, Pete McCann, and Matt Clohesy: Queens Jazz OverGround 2015 Spring Jazz Festival at Flushing Town Hall 04-25-15

The Queens Jazz OverGround, a collective that promotes jazz performance and education in the borough of Queens, will present our 2016 Spring Jazz Fest, a free, daylong series of jazz workshops and performances.  All events will take place at Flushing Town Hall on Sunday, April 30th from 1:00 pm – 10:00 pm, 137-35 Northern Blvd (corner of Linden Place), Flushing, NY.

The annual event highlights the talents of the many renowned and emerging jazz instrumentalists & vocalists in the borough of Queens. The day will include performances by student jazz combos, jazz master classes open to all students and aspiring performers, and middle school and high school student bands.  The evening will feature an exciting lineup of six professional Queens-based jazz ensembles. Audiences are welcome at all workshops and performances, which are free and open to the public.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:

Daytime Sessions:  1:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Josh Deutsch’s Pannonia (with Josh Deutsch, Zach Brock, Ryan Keberle, Gary Wang, and Ronen Itzik): Queens Jazz OverGround 2015 Spring Jazz Festival at Flushing Town Hall 04-25-15
  • Master Classes – Members of the Queens Jazz OverGround will guide students in developing a basic jazz repertoire and then lead a jam session utilizing that repertoire. Open to all.
  • Student Performers – Student big bands and small combos from Queens based schools will perform and participate in clinics with professional jazz musicians. Audiences are welcome at all performances and clinics.

Evening Performances: 6:00 – 10:00 pm

Professional ensembles will perform overlapping 60-minute sets in the Gallery and Theater.

  • 6:00 pm – Rose Ellis Quartet
  • 6:30 pm – Joey Johnson Quintet
  • 7:15 pm – Hashem Assadullahi’s Standard Deviation Trio, featuring drummer Matt Wilson
  • 7:45 pm – Rafal Sarnecki Sextet
  • 8:30 pm – Daisuke Abe Quartet
  • 9:00 pmThe Brian Woodruff Sextet +1, featuring vocalist Vicki Burns

For more details, please visit www.queensjazz.org. Admission is FREE and the event is open to all ages. You can access details by visiting http://www.flushingtownhall.org/ 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.

 

Introducing Sylvain Leroux

One Friday, April 21, we’re mashing up two cultures on one stage with an open dance floor in the third installment of our popular Global Mashup Series: Mali Meets Morocco.

Sylvain Leroux and Source present a danceable mix of music from Mali with a jazz inflection, and Rachid Halihal and Fez present Moroccan classical and folk music. Each band plays a set, then the two meet and jam. You can purchase tickets here.

We talked with Sylvain about this week’s upcoming performance.

When was your group founded?

Since I emerged from music school, I always had a group. I first used the name “Source” in my early twenties when I had a trio in Montreal. After other iterations I resuscitated the name about twenty years ago and started playing around New York. At first it was a quartet with the standard formation of bass, drums, keyboards and myself on winds but the advent of Malian singer Abdoulaye Diabate, with whom I was collaborating on other projects and had developed a friendship, transformed the unit from a World Jazz into an real African Jazz ensemble.

What led you to found the group?

I had been working with other artists but I wanted to play and develop my own music.

Who will be on stage at Flushing Town Hall?

Other than myself, playing flute, Fula flute (African flute from Guinea) and alto saxophone, there will be our lead singer and guitarist Abdoulaye Diabate from Mali, Keyboardist Emy Yabuno from Japan, Bassist Mamadou Ba from Senegal and American drummer Sean Dixon. Also, dancer Dionne Kamara will coach the audience in some dance steps. For twelve years, Source was an anchor group at the Zinc Bar’s African Fridays, a series that ran for nearly twenty years at the legendary club.

Describe your music.

A profound fusion of jazz and West African music, meaning the melding of styles is not operating on the surface but with a deep understanding of African esthetic and ethics.

What can your audience expect to experience at Flushing Town Hall?

Lively authentic African grooves with extraordinary singing and soloing by artists who are masters of their craft.

What is your impression of Flushing Town Hall?

I have played at FTH on a few occasions and attended other events there and found it to be a wonderful, professional venue serving a receptive and appreciative audience.

What do like most about live performances?

The immediacy and excitement to make music energized by the feedback from the audience.