Artists Without Walls’ Showcase at Hofstra University: Photos by Nick Garr
Sharp Radway, Niamh Hyland and Deni Bonet
Niamh Hyland, Sharp Radway and Koro Koroye
Charles R. Hale and Sharp Radway
Brian Farrell and Deni Bonet
Artists Without Walls’ Showcase at Hofstra University: Photos by Nick Garr
Sharp Radway, Niamh Hyland and Deni Bonet
Niamh Hyland, Sharp Radway and Koro Koroye
Charles R. Hale and Sharp Radway
Brian Farrell and Deni Bonet
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.
Artists Without Walls, in conjunction with the Hofstra University Irish Studies’ program and the Hofstra Cultural Center, will be bringing its “Showcase” to Hofstra University on Tuesday, February 18th, 2:15pm. Over the next two weeks we will be highlighting the performers who will be appearing. We are very pleased to announce that two of the performers are currently studying at Hofstra, Koro Koroye and Priya Gupta.
Nigerian born spoken-word artist Koro Koroye, a Hofstra graduate and current graduate student, 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.
Priya Gupta is a dancer and a Dance Education major at Hofstra. She is a student of Professor Darrah Carr, the founder of Darrah Carr Dance, 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.
We are thrilled to have these two great young talents as part of Artists Without Walls’ Showcase.
“Absolutely amazing night. Thank you so-so much for all that Artists Without Walls does. It was a stellar line-up filled with love, light and laughter.” Author Honor Molloy
Last Thursday’s “Showcase at The Cell” opened with two works that were recently performed at Lehman College as part of the Artists Without Walls’ performance of “Rise Up Singing: Women in the Labor Movement.” Honor Finnegan opened with a rousing rendition of Jack Hardy’s “Ain’t I a Woman,” and spoken word artist Koro Koroye followed with a poem she wrote for “Rise Up” called “Sickness of Freedom” about the struggles of African American women after the Civil War. Koro added an additional poem, “I Can Write About That Too.” Her performance, which highlighted the art of storytelling and spoken-word, was filled with energy, passion, and strength.
Drummer Scott Kettner followed with a dazzling blend of Brazil and New Orleans sounds in a pandeiro solo that pulsed with rhythm and energy. His drumming seamlessly blends the Louisiana second-line sound with a Brazil-ified backbeat. Neatly juxtaposed between Scott’s music and a theater piece to follow, Gary Ryan beautifully read a passage about the self-sacrifice of Percival’s sister, from “The Quest of the Holy Grail.”
Kate McLeod, producer of New York City’s “Bacon Theater Festival,” presented two short works from the festival. First, Kirby Sybert, Anna Smeragliuolo and Rob Ackerman performed Ackerman’s six-minute play “Forgiveness,” a rhapsody on the guilty pleasures, spiritual overtones, and persuasive powers of the world’s most compelling pork product…bacon. Doug Shapiro and Cristin Hubbard were also on the “bacon plate,” singing the high notes and the deep bass for Rob Hartmann and Kate’s short opera—an AWoW first—“One Weird Trick.” A couple in trouble find their way back to loving each other through a bacon cleanse. (That’s right a “bacon cleanse.”) To say it succinctly, the talented duo of Shapiro and Hubbard nailed it.
Nestled snugly into the middle of a talented and diversified lineup, producer and editor Sam Adelman presented several sequences from “That Daughter’s Crazy,” a new documentary starring Rain Pryor. Using footage from her autobiographical one-woman show, and mixing that with family interviews, an entertaining portrait emerges of a confused, multi-racial child of a celebrity icon. The full film is an official submission for the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival.
Young singer/composer Brían Farrell from County Leitrim Ireland kicked off the second half of the evening. The singer-songwriter performed two of his own acoustic rock songs “Moondance” and “Try,” and rounded out his set with a Roy Orbison cover of “Mystery to Me,” which was written by Bono. Clearly, Brian’s a star on the rise.
Jose Roldan performed a scene from his one man show “Father Forgive Me for I Have Sinned,’ an award winning auto-biographical coming of age story of a young Latino boy who grew up in the South Bronx of New York City in the 80′s/90′s. Jose masterly took the audience on a roller coast ride of emotion, from hilarity to poignancy and back. Positively brilliant work.
Honor Finnegan stepped up once again and sang two witty, topical, seasonal songs: “Snow Day,” about the need to pause and “Jesus’s Birthday,” about rampant holiday consumerism. Accompanied by guitarists Aviv Roth, she closed with Internet Junkie – a satirical blues number, about “internet addiction.” Not only is this lady talented, she’s incredibly versatile. Great performance.
Honor Molloy closed the Holiday program reading a piece from her novel “Smarty Girl – Dublin Savage.” It’s 1966 and Noleen O’Feeney goes wandering among the market stalls on Moore Street. She gets an earful from a tangerine dealer about the first Christmas Eve. This was Honor Molloy at her absolute best, instantly transporting the reader—shes’ as good at doing that as anyone I’ve heard—to another time and place, in this instance, the streets of Dublin.
The next Artists Without Walls’ Showcase will be at The Cell Theater, January 28th, 7pm. For more information about Artists Without Walls write to email@example.com. Happy New Year to all.
“Brilliant! Somehow egos are left at the door and you sit there absorbing these wonderful performances. And by the end of the evening you find yourself connected to your soul.” Ray Lindie commenting after a recent Artists Without Walls’ Showcase
And this Thursday night’s Showcase promises to be equally absorbing.
Jose Roldan will be performing from his one man show Father Forgive Me for I Have Sinned, an award winning auto-biographical coming of age story of a young Latino boy who grew up in the South Bronx of New York City in the 80’s/90’s. José takes the audience into his family’s apartment and onto the mean streets of the Bronx as he searches for self-acceptance and personal identify in a world of stereotypes.
Spoken word artist and rising star Koro Koroye will present two poems “I Can Write About That Too” and the “Sickness of Freedom,” which she triumphantly performed at Lehman College in “Rise Up Singing: Women in the Labor Movement.”
Honor Finnegan, whose performances of “Aint I A Woman,” “Bread and Roses” and “West Virginia Mine Disaster” drew raves in “Rise Up Singing” will be performing whimsical holiday tunes, including her song from Christine Lavin’s Holiday compilation, “Just One Angel 2.0.”
Drummer Scott Kettner made his biggest mark on the music scene as the leader of Nation Beat. His drumming seamlessly blends the Louisiana second-line sound with a Brazil-ified backbeat. Scott will be making his first Showcase appearance performing a pandeiro solo. In addition to his enormous music talent, Scott has also written a book called Maracatu for Drumset and Percussion, the first in-depth English-language instructional book on the 400 year-old traditions of Maracatu de Baque Virado.
Sam Adelman will be presenting a film he has co-produced called That Daughter’s Crazy, a documentary portrait of Rain Pryor, daughter of legendary comedian Richard Pryor. A talented performer/singer/actress in her own right- Rain has written and stars in a one-woman semi-autobiographical show, Fried Chicken and Latkes, which has played around the world to terrific reviews and in front of enthusiastic audiences.
Kate McLeod, producer of NYC’s “Bacon Theater Festival will be presenting two short works from the Festival. Here’s what the New York Daily News said about Kate and the festival. New York Daily News’ article
Rounding out the evening: “Showcase” favorite Honor Molloy will tell a classic Irish version of the Nativity Tale–a la a Moore Street Market Woman, Dublin, 1966, in an excerpt from her book Smarty
Girl – Dublin Savage; poet/writer and photographer Gary Ryan will read a passage from The Quest of the Holy Grail, “Percival’s sister,” accompanied by his photographs, and Brian Farrell a pianist/guitarist/singer and songwriter from County Leitrim Ireland, who made his first appearance with a brilliant short performance accompanied by fiddler Deni Bonet at AWoW’s Swift Showcase , will be singing a few tunes.
All that plus the friendliest group of folks and the best “intermission” in NYC. The fun begins at 7pm, The Cell Theater, 338, West 23rd Street. See you there.
“Eloquent writing, beautiful voices, charismatic performers who connected with each other — it was an inspired evening.” Justine Blau, author of “Scattered: A Mostly True Memoir,” after attending “Rise Up Singing: Women in the Labor Movement” at Lehman College.
On Tuesday night, The City & Humanities Program, in conjunction with the CUNY Institute of Irish American Studies and the Department of African American Studies at Lehman College, presented writer/creator Charles R. Hale and a brilliant cast of Artists Without Walls’ members in “Rise Up Singing: Women in the Labor Movement” a multi-media event incorporating storytelling, film, photographs and music.
The evening began with Honor Finnegan’s rousing performance of Jack Hardy’s “Aint I A Woman,” a song borne of Sojourner Truth’s speech on gender inequalities. Actor Jack O’Connell followed with an introduction in which he quoted author John Steinbeck: “We learn a great deal about people by listening to their music. Listen to their songs, for into the songs go the anger, fears and frustrations, the hopes and aspirations.”
Throughout American history, activists have adapted the lyrics from spiritual songs and applied them to various causes. Singer Antoinette Montague and pianist Sharp Radway followed a short story, accompanied by photos, of the deadly 1911, New York City, Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire, with an inspired rendition of “We Shall Not be Moved,” a American folk song whose lyrics date back to slave era. One-hundred-forty six women, mostly young immigrants, lost their lives at the Triangle factory fire.
A year after the Triangle fire, striking women mill workers in Lawrence, MA were surrounded by the threat of physical harm. They continually sang “Bread and Roses,” a poem written by James Oppenheim, put to music. Honor Finnegan and guitarist Vincent Cross gave rise to the spirit of that event with an intense performance of “Bread and Roses.”
Following the Civil War, racial prejudice kept African American women working in jobs such as cooks, maids and laundresses. Spoken word artist Koro Koroye presented a poem that she wrote, called “The Sickness of Freedom,” which poignantly describes the difficulties faced by African American women, many of whom were slaves and daughters of slaves, in the post Civil War era.
Woody Guthrie was an American singer-songwriter whose musical legacy includes hundreds of songs about the experiences of the poor and oppressed. Woody’s song “1913 Massacre” is one of the most powerful interpretations of the Calumet, Michigan tragedy in which seventy-three people, mostly striking miners’ children, were trampled to death on a staircase during a Christmas Eve party. Vincent Cross evoked the spirit of Calumet and Woody with a stirring rendition of Woody’s tune.
Women have written a number of “workers” songs. One of them, Diana Jones, performed two songs she’s written, the heartbreakingly tender “Henry Russell’s Last Words,” in which she was beautifully accompanied by violinist Annette Homann, and “I Told the Man.” Each song tells the story of miners trapped hundreds of feet below ground, writing farewell notes to their families.
In the summer of 1968 six miners were trapped for 10 days in a cold, flooded mine in the Appalachian hills of West Virginia. Jeanne Richie wrote a song from a wife’s viewpoint called “West Virginia Mine Disaster.” Honor Finnegan sang and performed from the perspective of a trapped miner’s wife and Jack O’Connell played the trapped miner who describes the horror of the experience. The back and forth between Finnegan and O’Connell was exceptional and one of the evening’s many spectacular performances.
Addie Wyatt, who became the first African American woman to retain a high position in an international union, couldn’t do enough for people. She was born into poverty in Mississippi in 1924 and grew up in Chicago during the depression. When Addie was a child she played piano for her church choir…she even sang with the great gospel singer Mahalia Jackson. Addie’s life was marked by “getting over” indignities such as discrimination and prejudice. Koro’s poem “Praise,” speaks to the pain of Addie’s setbacks but ends triumphantly with the words “I prayed until I got over.” This was a perfect lead-in to final tune of the evening, “How I Got Over,” which was popularized by Mahalia Jackson. Singer Montague, pianist Radway, violinist Homann and Koro combined to create a unique and rousing ending to the show.
Photos by Cat Dwyer.
Cat Dwyer’s photos from Charles R. Hale’s “Rise Up Singing: Women in the Labor Movement,” presented this past Tuesday at Lehman College.
Honor Finnegan and Vincent Cross
Sharp Radway, Jack O’Connell, Annette Homann, Antoinette Montague, Honor Finnegan, Vincent Cross, Koro Koroye and Diana Jones
Mary Tierney is performing in the the Theater of the New City’s production of Tom Jones at 155 First Avenue Sunday at 3pm. All Seats $18/TDF Vouchers For Tickets click here.
Antoinette Montague will be performing on Sunday Sept 22, 4pm – 6pm, at the H. Boo Wilson Park at the corner of Runyon Avenue and Tuckahoe Road, Yonkers, NY. On Monday, September 23rd, 6pm, Antoinette will be performing with the Duke Ellington Center for the Arts at a book warming for the Honorable David Dinkins’ 86th Birthday. The Friars Club, 57 East 55th St., NYC.
Wednesday you can celebrate Half-Way to St. Patrick’s Day with Tara O’Grady and her trio at Mary O’s located at 32 Avenue A. Shepards Pie, Guinness and live music. Wednesday, September 25 from 7-10pm. No cover, just craic.
Violinist Annette Homann will be performing as concertmaster with the Saint Vartan Chamber Orchestra on September 25th at 7:30, Saint Vartan Armenian Cathedral, 630 Second Ave, NYC. The program, which features pianist Karine Poghosyan includes works of Schubert, J.S. Bach and Liszt. Tickets $10, $5 senior/students.
One of the objectives of Artists Without Walls (AWoW) is to build a multicultural community that springs from “creative chemistry.” By enabling the exchange of ideas, methods, and creative concepts by connecting people of various cultures and communities who can learn from each other and collaborate to create something new.
A few months ago, after meeting at an AWoW event, brothers from Ireland, Owen and Moley Ó Súilleabháin teamed up with the dynamic spoken word poet from Nigeria, Koro Koroye. They performed new works that bring together Latin Gregorian chant and sacred songs from ancient Ireland with poems-some in Koro’s ancient tribal language–and her contemporary themes of identity and individual expression. In this video, ideas of family, home, migration, self-discovery and transformation are seamlessly presented in a dynamic performance that honors tradition and rejoices in innovation.
We feel that this performance is most representative of Artists Without Walls’ mission.
One of the objectives of Artists Without Walls (AWoW) is enabling the exchange of ideas, methods, and creative concepts by connecting people of various cultures and communities.
A few months ago, brothers from Ireland, Owen and Moley Ó Súilleabháin, teamed up with the dynamic spoken word poet from Nigeria, Koro Koroye, after meeting at an AWoW Showcase. They performed new works that bring together Latin Gregorian chant and sacred songs from ancient Ireland with poems-some in Koro’s ancient tribal language–and her contemporary themes of identity and individual expression. In this video, ideas of family, home, migration, self-discovery and transformation are seamlessly presented in a dynamic performance that honors tradition and rejoices in innovation.
We feel that this performance is representative of Artists Without Walls’ vision, developing a multicultural community that springs from “creative chemistry.”