Vera Hoar’s photos from Artists Without Walls’ Showcase at The Cell Theatre, Tuesday, February 23rd.
Vera Hoar’s photos from Artists Without Walls’ Showcase at The Cell Theatre, Tuesday, February 23rd.
Come meet and enjoy fiddler Deni Bonet’s performance at AWoW’s Anniversary Showcase at The Cell Theatre, 338 W23rd St, NYC, tomorrow, Tuesday, February 23rd.
Deni is a pop/rock singer/songwriter and classically trained violinist who has recorded and performed with R.E.M., Sarah McLachlan, Cyndi Lauper, Scissor Sisters, and Warren Zevon among many others. She was an original member of the cast of the nationally syndicated NPR radio show “Mountain Stage.” Deni left the show to pursue a solo career, with a mission to prove that there is more to the violin than concertos and hoedowns. She has performed at Lilith Fair, Carnegie Hall, the United Nations, and just recently performed at the White House for the President, First Lady and Vice-President of the United States. Deni has become an in-demand act, headlining various festivals, performing arts centers, clubs, colleges and international venues. Her music has been featured on HBO, NBC, American Airlines, several film and modern dance projects, and has been described by the Wall Street Journal as like “Sheryl Crow meets the B-52’s”.
The Cell’s doors and bar open at 6:45.
“Performing at Artists Without Walls is a deep privilege and a pleasure. To appear as part of a lineup of such talented artists is simultaneously thrilling and humbling. I always leave AWoW with a soaring spirit, full of gratitude for the gifts of my fellow artists, and newly energized and encouraged in my own work. Mille Grazie to Charles Hale and Niamh Hyland for creating this warm, welcoming community.” Angela Alaimo O’Donnell, poet/author
Angela Alaimo O’Donnell began Artists Without Walls’ June Showcase at The Cell Theatre by delighting the crowd with her recitation of “Crossing Irish,” a sequence of poems exploring her predicament as a Sicilian woman fatally in love with Ireland. Full of echoes of Irish poetry and the music of everyday speech, the poems were by turns sharp-witted and humorous, poignant and full of longing, culminating in a final recognition of her double-minded state: “I don’t belong. / I could make myself a life there.” (This sequence of poems appeared on Artists Without Walls blog in March 2014.)
Michelle Macau and Sarah Hammer brought to vivid life the story of a break-up in Burying Elephant, a one-act play by Robin Rice Lichtig. The dramatic and vibrant performances were genuine and poignant, bringing as some viewers remarked, laughter and a few tears. “Artists Without Walls is a muse, a gift to artists stimulating the creative life energy,” said Michelle. “We are given the opportunity to share our creative work and be received by a truly supportive and empathetic audience of fellow AWoW members and their guests. AWoW’s talented artists revitalize my spirit giving me strength and passion as I pursue my craft.”
First time performer and new member Phoebe Farber presented a wonderful short play, Class Reunion, about a high school reunion that goes awry– starring two fine actors Ruby Hankey and Scott Breiden. “I had a great time at AWoW’s Showcase. So wonderful to be in the midst of talented and supportive artists. I’m hooked!” said Phoebe.
Allison Sylvia performed two more pieces – L to the A and aDAm(BEcoming)eDEn – for an appreciative audience, once again incorporating spoken word, song, chant and dance. Said, Allison, “Artists Without Walls is a warm supportive community of fellow artists – every showcase brings in new, exciting talent and new work from familiar faces. It is always an event to look forward to for inspiration.”
Serena Jost wowed AWoW with her new whimsical voice-cello songs. She also sang an affecting ballad commemorating the 100th anniversary of WW1. “Performing for an always attentive AWoW audience inspires me,” said Serena. “Every showcase is a delight!”
The final act of this great night, Too Many Lauras, featured AWoW members singer/songwriter Peter Nolan (aka Peter Chance) on guitar, Cecil Hooker on violin and Mike Muller on bass, performing original compositions. The songs range from discovering new love to life as a vampire to helping a distressed friend. A big surprise was spoken word artist Allison Sylvia returning during the third song, “Holding On,” to dance during the solo and sing on the last verse and chorus. The showcase ended with a cover of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” with Niamh Hyland and Deni Bonet joining the band and the entire audience singing along in the refrains.
Another brilliant evening.
The next Artists Without Walls’ Showcase will be on July 28th, 6:45pm at The Cell Theatre, 338 W23rd St.
All photos by Vera Hoar
EMBRACING A BRACE OF WOMEN ON VIOLINS
by Ron Vazzano
When you think of the violin, it’s usually in terms of something classical, something staid— even to the point of being stodgy—melodious, though somewhat somber, and often evocative of a lament in the key of bittersweet. For me, something along the lines of “Ashokan Farewell” by Jay Unger from the hit 1990 PBS mini-series “The Civil War,” readily comes to mind. (Was that 25 years ago already?). All in all, a beautiful instrument to behold, especially when beheld by a virtuoso who can make even an Alpha male weep.
On the other end of the scale, associations might be in the context of bluegrass or hoe down music, and at such times, thought of as a fiddle. Is there a difference between a violin and a fiddle? Not really, though it is a subject open to much discussion, debate and lots of wry commentary. A few one-liners I ran across on line:
And the people playing it? We tend to think male, with hall-of-fame names like Isaac Stern, Jascha Heifetz, Yehudi Menuhin and Itzak Perlman. In short, we think of violin players (though not fiddlers), as being of rather serious temperament and often rooted in European and “foreign” traditions. What you might call your father’s or grandfather’s violinists. That has changed.
Nowhere is that more in evidence for me, than with two violinists on the New York scene these days, who are turning the instrument and their performance on it, into something that shatters the glass of any stereotypes and preconceived notions.
No, Deni Bonet and Annette Homann are not your father’s fiddlers.
As one music critic noted on a new generation of violinists in this mold, “they are on the whole, female, ultra-virtuosic, career-focused and glamorous besides.” To which I would add specific to these two women, possessing a sense of total performance—including everything from the addition of body movement and choreography, to their banter in between pieces—wit, irony, and sexy besides.
Deni Bonet is a classically trained violinist, whose rather impressive “liner notes” from her website read:
Her unique style is fully on display in a video produced for her single “One in a Million” that was released along with her latest album It’s all good.
I caught her at a gig at the Rockwood Music Hall in downtown Manhattan last month, in a night paying homage to “The Musical History of the Lower East Side,” a musical show created by Charles R. Hale. Deni made even a Stephen Foster medley sound hip. And I had the pleasure over a year ago, of performing a spoken word piece in tandem with arrangements she composed and played specific to a collaboration entitled “Unrequited Love.”
Annette Homann, classically trained and born in Germany :
I got to see her live last month at a private art gallery event sponsored by Artists Without Walls in Chelsea. Her performance in covering Adele’s Skyfall, the theme song of the 2012 James Bond film of the same name, was at once both sexy and witty (and barefoot, defying a previously noted one- liner). It brought down the house.
And while I have not caught a live performance of so called “hip-hop” violinist Lindsey Stirling, whose Crystallize video on YouTube has gotten an unfathomable 119,000,000 views since uploaded in February of 2012 (is that a misprint?), Deni and Annette are every bit as good and dynamic in my book. (And Muse-Letter). And does Lindsey Stirling drop by McSorely’s Old Ale House on a rainy spring afternoon, take out her violin in the backroom and play? Annette has.
I wonder what Itzak Perlman thinks about all of this sort of thing?
Ron Vazzano, a writer, poet and actor, has been a frequent contributor to this website as well as performer at Artist Without Walls monthly showcases. You can read his column Muse Letter by clicking here.
“Blown away tonight by the most talented collection of musicians! Artists Without Walls hosted a terrific musical evening at Rockwood Music Hall. What a line up of super talented vocalists. One after another boom, boom, boom! All equally stunning performances! Niamh Hyland, Maritri Garrett, Honor Finnegan, Basya Schechter, Ashley Bell and with equally beautiful instrumentals from Noah Hoffield and Deni Bonet. Curated and M.C’d by the one and only, Charles R. Hale. A slice of New York History. Take it on the road guys! Hopefully this will be done again…. not to be missed.” Actress/Director Aedin Moloney
This past Thursday night, as part of Artists Without Walls’ Presentations Series, a number of the organization’s musicians, with narration by Charles R. Hale, presented The Musical History of the Lower East Side Copyright © 2015 [ARTISTS WITHOUT WALLS] celebrating the music of New York City’s Lower East Side, an area from which many of our nation’s ethnic groups can trace their origins.
The Irish, leaving behind famine and poverty, began streaming into the country in the 1840’s. The emigrés wrote a large number of emigrant ballads, which were usually sad laments, steeped in nostalgia and self-pity, and despite the troubles they’d left, singing the praises of their native soil. But they also brought Celtic music with them. One tune “Red Haired Boy,” a melody common to fiddlers throughout Scotland and Ireland was transferred nearly intact to the American fiddle tradition where it has been a favorite of bluegrass fiddlers in recent times. Fiddler Deni Bonet opened the evening with a rendition of the tune.
Stephen Foster known as “the father of American music” was an American songwriter known for his parlor and minstrel music. The minstrel show was an American form of entertainment developed in the 19th century, consisting of comic skits, variety acts, dancing, and music, performed by white people in blackface. Popularized in the 1830 and 40s, in New York City alone, when minstrelsy was at its height in the 1850s and 60s, there were ten theaters in New York City devoted almost solely to minstrel entertainment. Bonet strung together a medley of Foster’s tunes, illustrative of the minstrel style: “The Old Folks at Home,” “Camptown Races,” and “Oh Susanna.”
Singer Niamh Hyland, cellist Noah Hoffeld joined Deni to perform two of Foster’s parlor songs, “Hard Times Come Again No More,” written in 1854 and “Slumber My Darling,” written in 1862, two years after Foster moved to New York.
Many ethnic groups or cultures tend to claim sections of New York City as historically their own. The Lower East Side is especially remembered as a place of Jewish beginnings in America. Between 1880 and the start of World War I in 1914, about two million Yiddish-speaking Jews left Eastern Europe and
Russia where repeated pogroms made life unbearable for many. The immigrants brought a great deal of their European music with them and the music became an integral part of the immigrant’s life. Two of these songs “Oyfn Pripetchik” and “Shnirele perele” were performed by guitarist/singer Basya Schecter and cellist Hoffeld .
The first Italian opera, Rossini’s Barber of Seville, was performed in the United States in NYC in 1825, but it wasn’t until a steady stream of Italian immigrants began arriving in America in the late 19th and early 20th century—four million—that the popularity of Italian opera picked up steam. The Metropolitan Opera debuted a number of Italian operas, including Giacomo Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi in 1918. The most popular aria from that opera remains “O Mio Babbino Caro,” which was performed by soprano Ashley Bell who accompanied herself on piano.
Canzone Napoletana, sometimes referred to as Neapolitan song, is a term for a traditional form of music sung in the Neapolitan language. Many of the Neapolitan songs became world-famous after they were taken abroad by emigrants from Naples and southern Italy. The music was popularized in New York City by performers such as Enrico Caruso, who took to singing the popular music of his native city as encores at the Metropolitan Opera. Bell sang one of the most popular Neapolitan songs, “No ti Scordar di me.”
If many are unfamiliar with the names Israel Baline, Samuel Cohen, Isidore Hochberg, and Jacob and Israel Gershowitz, it’s because they were better known as Irving Berlin, Sammy Cahn, Yip Harburg and George and Ira Gershwin, composers who were either born or raised on the Lower East Side. George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin’s “Someone to Watch Over Me,” was sung by Maritri Garrett, who played the guitar, with additional accompaniment from fiddler Bonet.
Yip Harburg wrote a number of popular tunes including “Brother Can You Spare a Dime,” and “April in Paris,” but he’s probably best known for the Wizard of Oz’s “Over The Rainbow,” which he wrote with Harold Arlen, and for which they won an Academy Award. The versatile Garrett moved to the piano and performed “If I Had A Brain,” also from the “Wizard.”
The East Village was once considered the Lower East Side’s northwest corner; however, in the 1960s, the demographics of the area above Houston Street began to change, as hipsters, musicians, and artists moved in. And from 1968 to 1971 the Fillmore East, located in a Second Avenue building that was originally a Yiddish theatre, was the rock palace of the world. The performers are legendary: The Allman Brothers, Jimi Hendrix Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin and many others performed there. The brilliant singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell appeared at the Fillmore on April 26, 1969. Honor Finnegan, accompanied by Carl Money on guitar performed two of Mitchell’s songs, “All I Want” and “Both Sides Now.”
Some American music critics began using the term “punk” in the early 1970s to describe garage bands and their devotees. By late 1976 Patti Smith, Television and the Ramones in New York City were recognized as the vanguard of a new musical movement performing in such places as the famed CBGB at 315 Bowery. To close out the evening Hyland, Bonet, Hoffeld and Garrett performed a song from that era, a rousing rendtion of Blondie’s “Call Me.”
Martina Fiserova (guitar&voice) will perform her originals on Monday February 9th at 11pm at The Way Station, 683 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, no cover charge.
Pete Kennedy of The Kennedy’s joins Tara O’Grady this week at Winnie’s in the Refinery Hotel on Tuesday, February 10 @ 7:30pm, and again at Desmond’s on Thursday, February 12 @ 7:00pm performing everything from Billie Holiday to Patsy Cline to Etta James.
For more info on Tara click here
This coming Tuesday night, February 10 @ 7 PM, Deni Bonet will be a special guest of the wonderful singer/songwriter, Rachael Sage at Joe’s Pub. Click HERE for show details.
Honor Molloy will be reading at the “Literary Salon” hosted by NYFA on Wednesday, February 11, from 6:00 to 9:00 PM at the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), 20 Jay Street, Suite 740, 7th Fl., Brooklyn, NY 11201. Readings alo include Kaitlyn Greenridge, Catherine Lacey, Amy Lawless, Ricardo Alberto Maldonado and Carlos and Cesar Valle. This exciting new program was developed to serve the community of literary artists.
You can join them for an evening of readings exploring the broad theme of marginalized groups worldwide. The event will host six award winning and published poets and writers. The readings and discussions of the work will take place from 6 PM to 8 PM. After the readings there will be time to network and socialize. This event is free and open to the public. Click here to RSVP.
Any AWOW members who saw the wonderful Grainne Duddy perform Moonlight Sonata at the December showcase might be interested in seeing Pillow on the Stairs–where the story starts….
Ever wonder what your life would be like if you’d made one different choice? An unplanned pregnancy sets off a chain of events in the lives of three people in Pillow on the Stairs. What follows creates a web of secrets and denials that binds this trio of ordinary, flawed individuals together for a lifetime. Every decision has lasting consequences in this intimate story about love, loyalty, betrayal, and trust.
Pillow on the Stairs stars John McConnell (The Weir on Broadway), Jacqueline Kealy (Eclipsed at Irish Rep) and Brona Crehan. The production team includes: John Keating (Production Director), Gertjan Houben (lighting), Florian Staab (sound design) and Mackenzie Meeks (stage manager).
Pillow on the Stairs runs February 11 – 28 at The Cell – Wednesday – Friday at 7pm with an additional performance on Feb 28 at 7pm. Tickets are $30.00. For AWoW discounted tickets email email@example.com for the codes
Annette Homann will be perfuming in “Soprano and Strings” on February 13th, 7 pm, at the Bloomingdale School of Music, 323 W 108th street, David Greer Recital Hall
Music from Respighi, Rota, Schubert, Previn and Villa-Lobos
New York-based singer songwriter Warren Malone is originally from Manchester, England and has played thousands of gigs on stages, street corners and bars across Europe, Ireland, and the United States, playing with Steve Earle, David Gray, Lucinda Williams, World Party and many more. Currently embedded in the folk scene of New York, Warren has released four albums in three years—including Spit ‘n’ Kisses, featuring members of the Tori Amos band. Here’s what one reviewer said of Warren Malone, “Malone has created an absolutely amazing album. And The Ants Ate The Bee never sounds the same twice/absolutely spellbinding/each listen feels fresh and different/The album is like a audio kaleidoscope/And then there’s that voice…an entirely unique instrument that sounds like a slightly androgynous soul singer/this album deserves repeated spins.” Here’s a quote from Warren: “I try to be good, I love to sing, I sing all day, everyday.”
Popular New york based jazz singer and stylist Tara O’Grady is currently recording her 4th album Irish Bayou a tribute to the Irish in New Orleans. Tara was chosen to perform in New Orleans at the city’s Famine Commemorative Gala–the Irish in New Orleans love her unique fusion of jazz and Irish music. She has a concert on Nov 21 at Swing the Teapot in Floral Park, Queens, or you can catch her every Monday at the NYLO Hotel and every Tuesday at the Refinery Hotel swinging jazz, blues and folk with her band in Manhattan.
Sasha Papernik is a Russian-American pianist, singer, and composer. She has recorded three albums of original music and has been a featured artist in Lincoln Center’s Meet the Artist, Lincoln Center Local, and Carnegie Hall’s popular Musical Explorers series this year. This week, in addition to Rockwood, Sasha will be performing with her piano duo at the Bruno Walter Auditorium in celebration of her newest recording project: an album of piano four hand and solo music called Four Hand Band!
Veteran actor Jack O’Connell has appeared on stage and in film and TV. Recent favorites include, Inside Llewyn Davis, Doubt, Knight and Day and Men in Black 3. Jack will co-star in the soon to be released Medal of Victory. He also co-stars with Michael Cera in the YouTube favorite, Brazzaville Teenager. Jack will be performing Bob Dylan’s “Desolation Row.” If you haven’t seen this you’re in for a treat.
Deni Bonet is a pop/rock singer/songwriter and classically trained violinist who has recorded and performed with R.E.M., Sarah McLachlan, Cyndi Lauper, Scissor Sisters, and Warren Zevon among many others. She was an original member of the cast of the nationally syndicated NPR radio show “Mountain Stage”; singing and performing in her own right and accompanying guests on the show. Deni left the show to pursue a solo career, with a mission to prove that there is more to the violin than concertos and hoedowns. She has performed at Lilith Fair, Carnegie Hall, the United Nations, and just recently performed at the White House for the President, First Lady and Vice-President of the United States. Deni Bonet has become an in-demand act, headlining various festivals, performing arts centers, clubs, colleges and international venues. Her music has been featured on HBO, NBC, American Airlines, several film and modern dance projects, and has been described by the Wall Street Journal as like “Sheryl Crow meets the B-52’s”.
Aisha Badru is a 22 year old singer-songwriter from Yonkers, New York, who will be making her debut appearance at Rockwood. Aisha, a self taught guitarist, has been inspired by a diversity of genre and style, which has allowed her to create her own, very unique sound. A fourth year college student, Aisha plans to pursuit a career in music. She is currently putting the finishing touches on her debut EP.
Charles R. Hale will be presenting “Breathing from an Ancestor’s Space and Time,” a series of short films that combine family stories and historical events, including his latest film, which tells the story of his family’s sixteen year old neighbor who was sentenced to die in the electric chair. Lehman College, The Studio Theater, 250 Bedford Blvd, West. Bronx, NY. Thursday, 11/6, 12:30-2.
Serena Jost will be performing at Rockwood Music Hall, 185 Orchard Street, on Nov 6th at 8 pm. Get your tickets asap, just $10 (less than your lunch) and help her pack the joint. For ticket info click here
Niamh Hyland’s band Lily Sparks will be doing a very special live show for the New York, International Pop Overthrow festival at Bar Matchless (557 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn), thisThursday Nov 6th, 9:15pm. Have a listen to some tunes www.lilysparks.com
You’re invited into Deni Bonet neighbor’s living room in Uptown NYC for her second International online streaming concert, coming to you LIVE over the Internet via Concert Window. Deni had such a great response last month that she’s doing it again THIS THURSDAY at 9:30 PM! Tune in to to hear brand new tunes from her upcoming instrumental CD, as well as a few old favorites. She might even take requests. Robin Pahlman will be joining her on guitar & it’s just like you’re there in the room with them! Sign up now and get an online reminder when it’s close to showtime. PAY WHAT YOU WANT. You can even wear your pajamas! For details click here.
And beginning next weekend, November 7-9 there’s this special event: In association with Glucksman Ireland House Nyu – and Poetry Ireland, the Irish Arts Center’s sixth annual PoetryFest, which celebrates Ireland and America’s great literary connection by showcasing an unparalleled array of much-published and award-winning poets. The event takes place next weekend, November 7-9th. The only New York festival of its kind, PoetryFest immerses participants in an intimate and creative atmosphere filled with readings, storytelling, book signings, conversations, and more.
Jenai Huff and Eugene Ruffolo in concert, Friday, November 7 at 7:30pm. Doors open at 6:30pm. It is in Jersey City and only 5 minutes walk away from the PATH train. It is located in the prestigious Paulus Hook area of Jersey City. (Contact Jenai Huff at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for information or reservations. ) Eugene and Jenai will be performing two sets and introducing new songs there. There will be plenty of delicious treats and wine to accompany the harmonies, the stories and the laughter. Eugene is a highly acclaimed singer/songwriter and session singer from NYC and Jenai who hails from CA, but is now a NYC resident, is an AWOW favorite. There is a lot of information on the Facebook event about the each of them or on the host’s website
Connie Roberts invites all to The 39th Annual National Conference of the American Irish Teachers Association’s Well Versed: A Celebration of Poetry from Ireland and America. With poets Terence Winch, Sean Nevin, and Connie Roberts, musicians Jerry O’Sullivan and Niamh Hyland, and arts journalist Earle Hitchner. 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Saturday, November 8, 2014 Liederkranz, 6 East 87th Street (between Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue) Special guests include (visiting from Ireland) the Minister for the Diaspora, Jimmy Deenihan, NY Consul General, Barbara Jones and Deputy Consul General, Anna McGillicuddy.
And in the following week, AWoW is happy to announce its first evening at Rockwood Music Hall, Wed, 11/12, 7pm. We’ve assembled a great array of talent: Deni Bonet, Warren Malone, Aisha Badru, Jack O’Connell, Tara O’Grady and Sasha Papernik. Please come out and support these terrific artists. Our goal is to sell out the room and recognize our very talented members. Tickets are $20 but $15 for AWoW members using the code…awwmember. Click here for tickets
Tara O’Grady will be performing at Swing the Teapot on Friday, October 17, 9pm, 6 Verbena Avenue, Floral Park, NY. $10 door. Reservations required 516 488-2180
Renata Hinrichs will be performing her one-woman show Random Acts on Sunday October 12th and 18th. The 12th is sold out but there are tickets available for October 18th at 6 pm. THIS SHOW IS NOW COMPLETELY SOLD OUT
Actor David Sharp will be appearing in Final Day a Dramatic Musical, an original play with 15 musical numbers, Sunday, October 19, 2PM at 15 W28th St., NYC. Based on many actual events, it is a historical fiction with a love story between a German prison guard and a Jewish girl prisoner on the final day of WWII in Europe. Emerging Artists Theatre has selected Final Day from many submissions for presentation in their ll Festival. To purchase tickets, which are only $11.34, click here.
Antoinette Montague will be Minton’s Jazz Club on Thursday, October 23, 206 W118th St. Three shows: 7pm, 8:30pm and 10pm. Reservations at 212 243-2222. $20 cover. No minimum
Serena Jost will be at Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 3, 196 Allen St., NYC, Thursday, November 6th, 8 pm. This is a full band show with Julian Maile, Rob Jost & Robert DiPietro. $10 plus one drink Click here for tickets
“Artists Without Walls at Rockwood Music Hall,” 196 Allen St., Wednesday, November 12th, 7:30pm. Come and be entertained by Deni Bonet, Warren Malone, Niamh Hyland, Jack O’Connell, and Tara O’Grady and Sasha Papernik. Details to follow.