This week’s cultural highlights in our region include a revival of Latin dance music, a one-woman play, and chamber music – so much chamber music!
Bugalú was a unique mix of Latin ballroom big-band music, jazz, soul, and R&B that emerged from the clubs, the street corners, the transistor radios and the pool halls of 1960s Spanish Harlem. Predating the salsa craze and Latin disco, bugalu was a style and sound that fed into those chart-topping genres of the 1970s and ‘80s. Today, New York City’s 12-piece outfit Spanglish Fly turns the clock back and draws on the inspiration of the original Latin boogaloo sound, playing irresistible grooves that blend Afro-Caribbean rhythms with the fervor, the feeling, and the harmonics of 1960s soul. Expect a hot, steamy dance party when the group brings its updated boogaloo sounds to Club B-10 in MASS MoCA in North Adams on Saturday at 8pm.
Earlier that afternoon in Northern Berkshire, pianist Jeewon Park and cellist Edward Arron join violinist Soovin Kim for a special program of chamber music, featuring masterworks by Beethoven, Dvořák, Bach, and Debussy, at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown at 3pm.
Afterwards, chamber music fans can drive south to catch Ukrainian-born pianist Inna Faliks and cellist Yehuda Hanani presenting a program rich in Russian lore, Slavic emotionalism, Soviet-era sarcasm, and dazzling virtuosity in the Close Encounters with Music series on Saturday at 6pm at the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington. The program, “Troika à la Russe,” features the cello/piano sonatas of Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev, and Scriabin’s Sonata No. 5. The concert aspires to be a journey in Russian landscapes and into the Russian soul.
Our region is simply lousy with chamber music this weekend. Over at Bridge Street Theater in Catskill, N.Y., cellist Garfield Moore performs works by Vivaldi, Handel, Beethoven and Brahms, accompanied by James Fitzwilliam on piano, on Sunday at 2pm. And at Concerts in the Village in Kinderhook, the legendary Benjamin Luxon and dancer Anni Crofut join forces with the Broad Street Chamber Players to present Igor Stravinsky’s dramatic masterpiece, L’Histoire du Soldat, or The Soldier’s Tale, on Saturday at 4 and Sunday at 2pm at Van Buren Hall.
Back in the Berkshires, “Lillian,” a one-woman play about writer Lillian Hellman starring Diedre Bollinger, is being staged this weekend at the Whitney Center for the Arts in Pittsfield. Set in an austere waiting room in a New York hospital, as she maintains a vigil for her longtime love, novelist Dashiell Hammett, Hellman remembers the people and incidents that shaped her life. The show traces Hellman's life from her girlhood in New Orleans and New York City through her years with Hammett, her achievements on Broadway and in Hollywood, and her experience being hauled in front of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s House Un-American Activities Committee to name names. The play runs tonight and Saturday at 7pm and Sunday at 2pm.
Seth Rogovoy is editor of Berkishire Daily and the Rogovoy Report, available at rogovoyreport.com