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Rogovoy Report 3/18/22

Umama Womama
courtesy Clarion Concerts
Umama Womama

The cultural highlights in our region this weekend include chamber music, orchestral music, jazz, Greek and Yiddish music, funk, soul … plus a whole lot more.

One of my all-time favorite vocalists will be performing one of my all-time favorite compositions twice in our region this weekend in a fusion of Greek and Yiddish culture. Performing with her avant-classical/klezmer ensemble, internationally acclaimed Dutch Yiddish singer Niki Jacobs will bring her Yiddish version of the “Mauthausen Cycle” by Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis to Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., tonight (Friday, March 18) at 8; and to Bombyx in Florence, Mass., on Sunday (March 20) at 7:30pm. Jacobs has had the original work, written by Greek poet Iakovos Kambanellis, a survivor of the Nazi slave labor camp in Mauthausen, translated into Yiddish, which is the language that would have been spoken by most of the Jewish prisoners in the Mauthausen death camp. The music is both stark and gorgeous, astringent and mellifluous, and is one of the great song cycles of the 20th century, now made even more urgent in the 21st. Also at Caffe Lena, on Sunday at 7 p.m., Tommy Castro and his band, the Painkillers, celebrate the release of his new album, “Tommy Castro Presents A Bluesman Came to Town — A Blues Odyssey.” (March 20)

Up and coming soul singer Deon Jones brings his trademark style of contemporary R&B to MASS MoCA in North Adams on Saturday at 8 p.m. Jones’s blend of soul, rock, and gospel emerged from a Mississippi upbringing as a preacher's grandson and early obsessions with Tina Turner, Marvin Gaye, and Curtis Mayfield. Jones first gained renown for his powerful rendition of U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” featuring pianist Jon Batiste — after being shot by police in the face with a rubber bullet during the 2020 summer protests. Jones brings his transformative energy — and nine-piece band — to MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center, previewing his upcoming debut album Revival. (March 19)

Pianist Yekwon Sunwoo will perform works by Chopin and Brahms as part of the Close Encounters With Music chamber series at the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, Mass., on Sunday at 4 p.m. The Van Cliburn Gold Medalist will be joined by violinist Daniel Phillips, violist Daniel Panner, and cellist Yehuda Hanani for Brahms’s epic Piano Quartet Opus 25 in G minor. (March 20)

The acclaimed female chamber trio Umama Womama brings new, original compositions alongside works by Debussy and Saint-Saens this Saturday at 7 p.m. to St. James Place in Great Barrington, Mass., as part of the Clarion Concerts series. The self-described “composers’ collective performance ensemble” consists of flutist Valerie Coleman, violist Nokuthula Ngwenyama, and harpist Hannah Lash. (March 19)

Bennington, Vermont’s Sage City Symphony presents a free concert in the Greenwall Auditorium at Bennington College on Sunday at 4 p.m., when the orchestra will perform works by Dvořák, Mozart, Calabro, and Vivian Fine. (March 20)

Also on Sunday, Saugerties Pro Musica presents the Frisson Chamber Ensemble at 3 p.m. performing works by Rossini, Mozart, Gershwin, and Dvořák at the Saugerties United Methodist Church (March 20).

Hudson Valley jazz pianist Armen Donelian celebrates the release of his new trio’s new album, the aptly titled “Fresh Start,” with an album release concert tonight at Hudson Hall at 7. Donelian’s new trio features bassist Jay Anderson and drummer Dennis Mackrel. (March 18)

Brandee Younger is a multiple musical threat, known mostly as a jazz harpist but equally at home in R&B, soul and hip-hop environments. Younger has worked with such musical luminaries as Pharoah Sanders, Jack DeJohnette, Ravi Coltrane, Lauryn Hill, John Legend, Drake, and the Roots. The 2021 Grammy Award nominee for best instrumental composition performs at the Falcon in Marlboro, N.Y., on Sunday at 7 p.m. (March 20)

If you still have some St. Patrick’s Day spirit left in you, the Irish Comedy Tour touches down at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, Mass., tonight at 7:30pm. The evening includes comedy, music, and some – and I quote – “unfiltered Irish behavior by this boisterous, belly-laugh band of hooligans.” (March 18)

Guitarist Ryan Flaherty and drummer Erika Stahl play under the moniker Muddy Ruckus. They bring their grungy style of railroad indie punk blues to the Foundry in West Stockbridge, Mass., on Saturday at 7 p.m. (March 19).

And the legendary Rickie Lee Jones is at Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock on Saturday at 8 p.m. (March 19)

Seth Rogovoy is editor of the Rogovoy Report, available at rogovoyreport.com

The views expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of this station or its management.