What can you expect when you attend an Artists Without Walls’ Showcase? Artists from Nigeria, India and Pakistan, a few from Ireland, two African-Americans and a number whose families came to our shores over a hundred years ago. Individually, they’re wonderful artists, but combine them and their cultural backgrounds and you have something special. Join Artists Without Walls at Hofstra University on Tuesday, February 18, 2:15pm in the The Helene Fortunoff Theater, located in the Monroe Lecture Center, for an event sponsored by Hofstra’s Irish Studies’ program–with a generous grant from the Hofstra Cultural Center–to see and hear for yourself.
Who’ll be performing?
Niamh Hyland, cofounder of Artists Without Walls, was born in County Leitrim, Ireland. Finding her passion for the arts at an early age, Niamh received a vocal scholarship to the University College Dublin where she performed during a Papal performance at St.Peter’s Basilica for Pope John Paul II. Niamh has toured Europe & the US as the lead singer of the original rock band Lily Sparks. Notable band and solo performances include The Ourland Festival at Lincoln Center, Webster Hall and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Sharp Radway is composer/arranger/author and self-taught pianist whose roots can be found in the church. As a jazz pianist he has played throughout the country and abroad. Among the recording artists whom he has worked and/or recorded with are Bucky Pizzarelli, Yusef Lateef, Benny Golson, Peewee Ellis, Diane Schuur, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, to name a few. In addition to playing the piano he is also a prolific composer, arranger and the author of the book “Musicianship 101 (What They Don’t Tell You In School).”
Not every classically-trained musician plays the violin like an air guitar or opens for the Eagles. Deni Bonet does both. A college radio favorite who’s performed with the likes of the Cyndi Lauper, R.E.M., Sarah McLachlan and Robyn Hitchcock, Deni fits her string and vocal skills into ironic, catchy alternative pop. Be prepared for this incredibly talented, “anything goes” performer.
Nigerian born spoken-word artist Koro Koroye, a Hofstra graduate who is currently enrolled in Hofstra’s MFA of Creative Writing program, imbues the art of storytelling and spoken-word with energy, passion, and strength. Koro has appeared at The Cell Theater, the Living Room and Lehman College in New York City during the past year. Recently, Koro appeared in Charles R. Hale’s production, “Rise Up Singing: Women and the Labor Movement.” Koro both performed and wrote for the show.
Darrah Carr Dance sources from two genres, traditional Irish step and contemporary modern dance. Darrah pulls in two directions, one toward tradition and another toward innovation, and seeks to create dance in the space between. Dance in Ireland traditionally happened at a crossroads, which is exactly what Darrah has planned for this event…Dingle meets Diwali.
Dancing with Darrah Carr Dance will be Brigid Gillis, Mary Beth Sheehan and Priya Gupta.
Brigid Gillis is a native Long Islander, who started her formal dance training in competitive Irish dance and later explored her passion for modern dance at The College of Brockport SUNY, where she acquired her BFA. Brigid has performed in various professional venues in New York City with Zehnder Dance and Darrah Carr Dance.
Mary Kate Sheehan began her dancing career training in Irish step dancing, ballet, and jazz. She competed in Irish step dancing for over 15 years on the international level, placing in the top 10 in the World. She moved to New York City in 2010 to shift her focus to modern, contemporary, and ballet as a pre-professional trainee at the Joffrey School.
Priya Gupta is dancer and a Dance Education major at Hofstra. She is a student of Professor Carr and studied Indian classical dance with Mrugakshi Patel, an accomplished exponent of dance and well known choreographer of Indian folk dances. Priya will be performing a style of Indian classical dance called Bharatnatyam.
Brian Farrell a pianist/guitarist/singer and songwriter from County Leitrim Ireland, made his first appearance with Artists Without Walls at NYC’s Swift, with a brilliant performance accompanied by fiddler Deni Bonet. Brian will be showing off his musical chops on both the guitar, piano and and with his unique vocal style.
Nadia Parvez Manzoor’s one-woman show Burq Off! played to sold out performances in December and will reopen in New York City in March. How does Nadia describe herself? “I’m a Brit-Pakistani. I grew up in London, went to an all white, all girls English school where I was constantly perplexed by the cultural dichotomy of the English and the Paksitani. I’m an improviser, a writer, a free creator and mediator. I love being on the sidewalk in the sun, creating a revolution with my sisters, redefining feminism, taking a break from the status quo–with no intention to return.
Jazz singer Antoinette Montague has a love of humanity and music that brings joy to people. Born and raised in Newark, Antoinette Montague was drawn to the music by her mother–“She was always singing and sounded like Ella Fitzgerald”–and listening to Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. Antoinette has played most of the major jazz clubs in New York, including Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, the Lenox Lounge and the Blue Note.