Yuri Juarez and his Afroperuano band are proof that the music of Peru is fast occupying a prominent part of the world stage. If you haven’t heard these musicians perform you are in for a great treat. Yuri and the members of his band are internationally acclaimed and their shows are nothing short of fabulous.
Come hear Yuri and the Afroperuano group at Lehman College, May 3, 12:30pm at the Studio Theatre. There is no charge for this event, which is co-sponsored by Artists Without Walls and the City and Humanities Program at Lehman College…thanks to Professor Joseph McElligott. Charles R. Hale emcees the program.
Artists Without Walls, as part of Origin Theatre’s 1stIrish Fest, is proud to present “New York City: A Shining Mosaic,” a show that will celebrate America’s immigrants at the point of their arrival…in full view of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Pier A Harbor House, which looks out on the New York Harbor, will be the site of an evening of music, theatre and dance, and the memory of our ancestors who built the bridges and tunnels, paved and swept the sidewalks and streets….and stayed. Tuesday, September 27, 7.30pm
Written by Charles R. Hale and directed by Julie Kline and musical director Niamh Hyland, the show’s performers include vocalist/Niamh, guitarist/vocalist Walter Parks, cellist/vocalist Eleanor Dubinsky, flutist Elsa Nilsson, pianist/vocalist Mala Waldron, dancer Laura Neese, guitarist Yuri Juarez and actors John Duddy and Jack O’Connell.
This past Thursday, Lehman College: The City and Humanities Program and the CUNY Institute for Irish-American Studies sponsored a performance of Charles R. Hale’s “Musical History of the Lower East Side,” celebrating the music of a neighborhood from which many of our nation’s ethnic groups can trace their origins.
In the 1840s, almost half of America’s immigrants were from Ireland. Often leaving behind famine and poverty, the Irish would often sing ballads steeped in nostalgia and self-pity, and despite the troubles they’d left, singing the praises of their native soil. The Irish also brought Celtic music. Melodies common to fiddlers throughout Scotland and Ireland were transferred nearly intact to the American fiddle tradition. Deni Bonet performed one such tune that has remained a bluegrass fiddler favorite, “Red Haired Boy.”
Stephen Foster, who’s often referred to as “the father of American music,” moved to the Bowery in 1860. Foster was primarily known for his parlor music and minstrel music. Niamh Hyland, with accompaniment from Deni and Noah Hoffeld, sang two popular Foster tunes, “Hard Times Come Again No More,” 1854, and “Slumber My Darling,” 1862.
A steady stream of Italian immigrants began arriving in America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Italians from Naples and Southern Italy brought with them a traditional form of singing called Neapolitan music. In New York City, Italian tenors Enrico Caruso and Beniamino Gigli popularized such songs as “O Sole Mio,” “Funiculi Funicular” and “Non ti Scordar di me,” which was performed by soprano Ashley Bell. Italian immigrants also helped popularize the Metropolitan Opera, which debuted a number of Italian operas, including Giacomo Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi in 1918. Ashley performed the opera’s most popular aria “O Mio Bambino Caro.”
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 2 million Yiddish speaking Jews left Eastern Europe and Russia where pogroms and persecution made life unbearable. While Jewish composers, many of whom lived on the Lower East Side, were influential in creating the American Songbook, they also brought a great deal of European music with them as well. Basya Schechter and Noah Hoffeld captured the spirit of the past with two Yiddish songs, “Oyfn Pripetchik” and “Shnirele Perele”
George and Ira Gershwin were composers who were raised on the Lower East Side. George’s classical music such as Rhapsody in Blue, his opera Porgy and Bess and his many show tunes remain popular today, but he also teamed up with brother Ira to write “I Got Rhythm,” “The Man I Love” and “Someone to Watch Over Me,” which was performed by jazz pianist and vocalist Mala Waldron with accompaniment from fiddler Deni.
In the mid 1950s many artists and musicians were drawn to the neighborhood around the Bowery by cheaper rents. The Five Spot Café, a jazz club located between 4th and 5th Streets, staged jam sessions with some of the giants of jazz: Thelonius Monk, Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, and Lower East Side resident, Charlie Parker. Waldron, accompanied once again by Deni, performed a Parker favorite “Embraceable You.”
In the 1940s and 50s Latin Jazz began to take hold in New York City. At the same time, there was the first great migration of Puerto Ricans entering the country. Shortly, Dominicans and other Spanish groups followed. Latin jazz musicians, guitarist Yuri Juarez and percussionist Jhair Sala, performed a tune that was popular in the Latin community, now known by its Spanglish name, Loisaida, in the 1940s and 50s, “Night in Tunisia,” written by jazz great Dizzie Gillespie.
The music of the Lower East Side has continued to evolve from garage band to punk to alternative rock and yet, each year, the Loisaida Festival continues to evoke the spirit of its immigrant past, as did Yuri and Jhair with the last song on the program, “La Bikina.”
A big thank you to all the artists who participated in the “Musical History of the Lower East” and to Lehman College: The City and Humanities Program and the CUNY Institute for Irish-American Studies for sponsoring the event.
Mitch Traphagen’s photos from Charles R. Hale’s “Musical History of the Lower East Side,” at Lehman College. The event was sponsored by “Lehman College: The City and Humanities Program and the CUNY Institute for Irish-American Studies.
This Thursday, April 7, 12:30pm, Lehman College: The City and Humanities Program, The CUNY Institute of Irish Studies and Artists Without Walls presents Charles R. Hale’s “The Musical History of the Lower East Side. The event will take place in the Studio Theatre, 250 Bedford Park Blvd W., Bronx, NY. Click here for directions.
Here’s what actress/director Aedin Moloney said about the show: “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….A slice of New York History. Take it on the road guys! Hopefully this will be done again…. not to be missed.”
Performers include (clockwise from top left) Niamh Hyland, Noah Hoffeld, Mala Waldron, Yuri Juarez, Ashley Bell, Basya Schechter, Deni Bonet and (center) Charles R. Hale, who wrote and narrates the show.
“The event last night was replenishing, especially because of AWoW’s spirit and the vibe among the people. They were all so happy to be there.” Justine Blau, author of Scattered: A Mostly True Memoir.
Afro Peruvian guitarist Yuri Juarez and percussionist Jhair Sala got the evening off to a great start with a song called “Idolatría.” The song is a traditional Peruvian waltz with a free and open interpretation for guitar and cajon. Yuri and Jhair followed with “Arroz Con Concolón,” a Festejo or in English a celebration. “Arroz con concolón is rice with the toasted rice in the botton of the bowl. You can see that in the Spanish paella. It’s delicious,” Yuri explained through his infectious laughter. Great music, a great beginning.
Nick Garr followed with an outstanding performance from his solo theatre piece, Paper Tigers. Written by Nick, the work is a stunning combination of comedy and drama. Nick meshed his great physicality with piped in sounds as diverse as spraying mouthwash, bullets flying through the air and screams to create an intense piece of theater.
Actors DJ Sharp and Mary Tierney were splendid in a scene from Joe Davidson’s Looking for Cans. DJ, as the butler Philip, perfectly captured the lubricious behavior of Philip, as he attempts to extort money from his boss, the wealthy socialite Mary Wellsworth. Mary T, as she always does, slipped into her role of “wealthy socialite,” well, as if she were one. Is she? A stirring scene brought alive by two great actors.
Jim Hawkins, making his first appearance with AWoW, began his presentation by giving the audience a brief background on the life of Eamon Kelly, the great Irish storyteller or seanchai. Jim followed with a wonderful rendition of Eamon’s story, “The White Cat,” and concluded with a spirited version of Tommy Makem’s humorous song, “The Liar. Of Jim’s performance, actor Jack O’Connell said, “I love watching a great pro who’s come prepared.” Well said and right on the mark.
Actor John Duddy and singer/songwriter Michael Brunnock opened the second half of the show bringing to life the extraordinary character that was Irish Nationalist, Roger Casement. Their passion for telling Roger’s story was palpable and truly compelling in its intensity. If this is a taste of what’s to come , then I believe the audience is hooked. John and Michael aroused the listener’s curiosity through haunting melody and Casement’s own words, telling the story of one of the great humanitarians of this century . “I believe Roger Casement and what he represents is as important today as when he died, one-hundred years ago. I am privileged to tell how I see his story and working with John Duddy on this has been such an inspiration to me ” said Michael. “We are so excited to work together and looking forward to producing the full show in the late spring.” And we’re looking forward to having this dynamic duo return.
Aedin Moloney, one of NYC’s finest actresses, performed a scene from her award winning performance in A Most Dangerous Woman, a play about writer George Eliot. During this bravura performance, Aedin held the audience captive as she brought to life the disappointments and frustrations of being a great woman writer in a man’s world.
Mary Lannon charmed the crowd reading from her completed novel An Explanation of the Fundamentals of the Derivation of Dilapidated Brown Station Wagon Theory aka How I Became A Scientist and Discovered the Truth About Getting Stuck in the Wrong Universe by Miranda J. McCleod. (Yes, that’s the title.) She also encouraged everyone to “Facebook Friend” her main character Miranda J. McCleod as she seeks out an agentpublishing opportunities for this terrific young adult novel.
Actor Andy Baldeschwiler closed the evening by sharing the Tom Robbins’ travel story “Two in the Bush”, depicting a couple’s romantic mis-adventures in the African wild. His animated and hilarious performance elicited many appreciative guffaws from the crowd and was the perfect send off into a chilly New York night.
The next Artists Without Walls’ Showcase at The Cell will be on March 3, 7pm at The Cell Theater, 338 W23rd St., NYC. For more info on Artists Without Walls contact email@example.com
“What’s been needed so desperately is what AWOW gives us, a loving ear to witness. That room, that audience of art friends, people that really understand and want to see you express it. Wonderful!” Mary Tierney, actress
And we expect more of that tomorrow night, Tuesday, January 28th, 7pm, at The Cell Theater in NYC.
Nicholas Garr has appeared on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and around the U.S. in productions of A Streetcar Named Desire, A Doll’s House,Godspell, Brigadoon, Orpheus Descending,West Side Story, and Jerome Robbins’ Broadway. His television credits include Law and Order, Dream On, Another World, and Loving; and independent films Joey and Mike and Doctor’s Intentions. Nick is also the founder of City Theatre Project, a not for profit group, which teaches young teens theatre arts in the South Bronx. Nick will performing a piece titled “Action Hero” from his solo show Paper Tigers.
Seanchai JimHawkins will be making his first appearance at an AWoW Showcase. Jim will be telling “The White Cat,” a story of one of Ireland’s great storytellers, Eamon Kelly, and singing a song “The Liar” that was written and sung by the great Tommy Makem of the “Clancy Brothers and Makem” fame. Jim will accompany the song on the Irish drum, more accurately known as a bodhran. (bow-ron)
Actors Mary Tierney and DJ Sharp will be performing a scene from Joe Davidson’s play “Looking for Cans.” In the scene, the butler Phillip (DJ), is attempting to extort money from Ms. Wellsworth (Mary) through the revelation of a strange encounter thirty years earlier with a now homeless veteran. Joe’s play will be performed at both the Manhattan Veterans Hospital and Northport Veterans hospital and the ultimate goal is a fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project.
One of the evening’s highlights is sure to be Afro-Peruvian guitarist Yuri Juarez, who will be joined by the great Peruvian percusionist Jhair Sala, one of the most sought after percusion players in the city. Yuri, who was named the 2009 Latin Jazz Guitar Player of the Year, has crafted a distinct approach to jazz harmony and improvisation, placing it carefully among Afro-Peruvian rhythms.
Singer/songwriter Michael Brunnock and actor John Duddy, who is seamlessly making his way from being a champion boxer to a top notch actor, will be performing an excerpt from Michael’s highly anticipated new work, a musical drama highlighting the life and legacy of Irish Nationalist hero Roger Casement. Of his award winning album, Orchard, one reviewer said, “…encapsulated by the slow build-up of rich, warm harmonies, uplifting melodies, and beautiful folk instrumentation.”
AWoW member Mary Lannon will be making her first reading in front of an AWoW audience. Mary will be reading from her finished, young adult novel An Explanation of the Fundamentals of the Derivation of Dilapidated Brown Station Wagon Theory aka How I Became A Scientist and Discovered the Truth About Getting Stuck in the Wrong Universe by Miranda J. McCleod (Yes, that is the title…I confirmed it…twice) and sharing a little about publication strategies.
Actress Aedin Moloney, who has had great success in the last few years in her roles in Dancing at Lughnasa and Air Swimming, and most recently in her brilliantly reviewed A Most Dangerous Woman about the life of George Eliot, asked if her presentation could be a “bit of a surprise.” Why not? Whatever Aedin comes up with is bound to be incredibly special. We’re honored to have her.
And closing out what is sure to be a great evening will be actor and voiceover artist Andy Baldeschwiler. Andy’s recent stage credits include work with The Pearl Theatre Company, Shakespeare on the Sound, The Glass Eye, and the Accidental Shakespeare Company; he has also appeared in a few short films and web series. A lover of words and storytelling, Andy said “I’m excited to be sharing with the AWoW audience some humor and wit from one of my favorite writers.” Can you guess whom that might be?
The fun begins at 7pm–please arrive on time–at The Cell Theater, 338 W23rd St., NYC. Hope to see you there.
Artists Without Walls is happy to announce that Yuri Martín Juárez Yllescas guitarist, arranger and composer, will be performing at Artists Without Walls First Anniversary Showcase on Tuesday, January 28, 7pm at The Cell Theater.
Yuri began his career in 1996 as guitarist for various groups of Afro-Peruvian music, folk and fusion. His musical training ranges from formal studies with the Afro-Peruvian masters of the guitar Pepe Torres, Alvaro Lagos and Jorge Madueño and more “street” experience in Afro-Peruvian peñas.
Yuri has shared the stage and recorded with Eva Ayllón, Susana Baca, Chaqueta Piaggio Ebelin Ortiz, Pilar de la Hoz, Carmina Cannavino, Mariella Valencia, Pamela Rodriguez, Elena Romero, iconic Peruvian composers Kiri Escobar and Javier Lazo, and trail blazing bands including the Gabriel Alegría Afro-Peruvian Sextet, Novalima, Teatro del Milenio and Sin Líneas en el Mapa, among others.
In December of 2009 Yuri received the Latin Jazz Corner Awards in the categories of Best Afroperuvian Jazz Album and Best Latin Jazz Guitarist debut for his work “Afroperuano.”
Here’s a great cut of Yuri accompanying singer Sofia Tosello.