Music Beyond Borders

Initiated in spring of 2010, this series of free outdoor world music concerts, reflects a collaboration between Morris Arts and Mayo Performing Arts Center, with the rainsite graciously provided by Morristown United Methodist Church (50 Park Place on the Green).

Each Music Beyond Borders program features a performance of world music/dance reflecting the diverse culture and population of the area.

“We hope that people will enjoy our wonderful free lunchtime outdoor concerts that celebrate the rich cultural diversity of the area,” said Allison Larena, President and CEO of the Mayo Performing Arts Center. Tom Werder, Executive Director of Morris Arts , adds, “It’s exciting to collaborate with the Mayo Center on this special series and to literally bring the world to the center of Morristown.”

 

 

 

Music Beyond Borders 2017 travels from Ireland to China 

Mark your calendars now and plan to spend your lunchtimes on Morristown’s Green enjoying world music showcasing Irish, Native American, West African and Chinese cultures. For the eighth consecutive year, Morris Arts and the Mayo Performing Arts Center continue their collaboration, presenting four free, outdoor, world music/dance programs during June, July and August 2017. All concerts will run from 12:30-1:30pm on The Morristown Green, starting June 27thh and continuing on alternate Tuesdays until August 8th. Special thanks go to the Morristown United Methodist Church on the Green, 50 Park Place for providing a wonderful rain site.
This year’s schedule includes:

June 27, 2017: Brian Conway, Irish Fiddle, with guitarist John Walsh
– “Certainly one of the finest Irish-American musician fiddlers…” Dirty Linen Magazine; – Irish Echo’s “Top Trad Artist for 2008”

New York-born fiddler Brian Conway is a leading exponent of the highly ornamented Sligo fiddling style made famous by the late Michael Coleman. The winner of two All-Ireland junior titles in 1973 and 1974 and the All-Ireland senior championship of 1986, Brian’s early studies were with his father Jim of Plumbridge County Tyrone and with Limerick-born fiddler/teacher Martin Mulvihill. However, it was the legendary fiddler and composer Martin Wynne who taught him the real secrets of the County Sligo style. Later, Brian met and befriended the great Andy McGann of New York a direct student of Michael Coleman, who further shaped his precision and skill on the instrument. Since 1979, he has recorded 5 CDs (including on the prestigious Smithsonian-Folkways label and the prominent Irish Label, Cló Iar-Chonnachta ), collaborating with top Irish musicians and as a soloist. A leading figure in the New York area Irish music scene, he also worked as an assistant district attorney but now, in recent retirement, devotes his full energies to the Irish fiddle and its rich tradition. The distinctness of his tone, the lift of his playing, and the deft ornamentation he brings to the tunes have placed him among the finest Irish fiddlers of any style, Sligo or otherwise. He has performed all over North America, Ireland, and Europe. He is also a noted instructor who has mentored many fine fiddle players, including several who have gone on to win All-Ireland Championships. Brian hosts regular sessions in White Plains, New York, and actively encourages countless musicians in the art of Irish music and fiddle playing.

Brian is accompanied by John Walsh, Irish-American guitarist, singer, and producer who has travelled across Europe and the US performing and teaching guitar with Paddy Keenan, Pat Kilbride, Jameson’s Revenge, Brian Conway, among others. Walsh recorded many well-received albums and educational videos. (He also treats people with Healing Tibetan Singing).

July 11, 2017: Redhawk Native American Arts Council/Dance Troupe
The Redhawk Native American Arts Council is a not for profit organization founded and maintained by Native American artists and educators based in NYC since 1994. Dedicated to educating the general public about Native American heritage through song, dance, theatre, works of art and other cultural expressions, the Redhawk Council draws its artists from indigenous peoples of North, South, and Central America, the Caribbean and Polynesia, sharing both historical and contemporary aspects of Native cultures. Producing four of the largest Native American heritage celebrations in the Northeast, the Troupe has performed for the President of the United States, at Woodstock, the Apollo Theatre, and Dance Theater of Harlem and appeared on such TV shows as Good Day New York and Regis & Kathy Lee, among others.http://www.redhawkcouncil.org; Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thO9zrHdF4M and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJXuoidup00

 

 

July 25, 2017: Féraba: West African dance, drumming and tap dancing
Explore the universal language of rhythm with this unique, award-winning multi-ethnic group. Féraba fuses traditional sounds and movements of West Africa with American tap dance, hip-hop and jazz, performing on international radio/TV, at Lincoln Center, Town Hall and throughout USA, Europe and West Africa.

Its artistic director, prominent tap dancer, Irene Koloseus  has performed throughout the US, West Africa and Europe, appearing with such world-renowned tap dancers as Dr. James “Buster” Brown and Savion Glover, among others. She is also a teaching artist leading award-winning workshops and residencies throughout the tristate area. Colleagues Ibrahima Kolipe Camar (a Master Drummer from Guinea, West Africa), Andy Algira (drummer, percussionist, balafonist and pianist with jazz and African music expertise), and Yalani Bangoura (Master dancer, performer, choreographer, acrobat and hip hop artist from Guinea, West Africa) join others in highlighting the unique ability of rhythm as a means of  promoting tolerance and cultural understanding.

Fabled dancer Gregory Hines states, “I am so impressed. I have never seen anything like this!”www.feraba.comVideo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gmj3hev2bCc

 

August 8, 2017: Music from China Trio
Embracing both traditional and new music, members of the NYC-based Music From China have performed with major symphony orchestras, chamber groups and such jazz greats as Ornette Coleman. This performance spotlights music for the erhu ( 2-string fiddle), yanqin (hammered dulcimer) and zheng (plucked zither with movable bridges). 

Hailed by the NY Times and Washington Post as a “master of the erhu,” praised for his “extraordinary” and “gorgeous” playing, Wang Guowei performs on the erhu, the 2 stringed spike fiddle (With snake skin resonator). He performs along with yangqin (hammered dulcimer with bamboo mallets) artist Susan Cheng, founder of Music From China, and zheng (21 string zither with movable bridges) virtuoso, Wang Junling, in an exciting and hauntingly lovely program featuring classical and folk arrangements that evoke scenes of nature, Chinese culture and the lifestyle of the Chinese people.

The group has performed at such institutions as Princeton, Duke, Yale, Vassar, Dartmouth, the Peabody Conservatory, Eastman School of Music, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Smithsonian Folklife Festival, and the Library of Congress, among others. As a proponent of new music, Music From China also commissions and performs works that extend Chinese music and instruments beyond traditional boundaries, innovatively mixing Chinese and Western instruments and forming a unique repertoire. Since its founding in 1986, Music From China has performed over 130 new works by 79 composers, of which 43 are commissioned and 43 competition prize winners. Music From China is also the first Chinese ensemble to receive an “Adventurous Programming” award from Chamber Music America and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) for creative programs that combine the music of East and West. http://www.musicfromchina.org.

 

 

From Polka to Tahitian Dance at Music Beyond Borders 2016

You don’t have to buy a plane ticket to enjoy music and dance from around the world…it’s all coming to the Morristown Green this summer and it’s all free!

 

Now in its seventh season, Music Beyond Borders continues to tap into the cultural riches from multiple continents and, this year, will present the following:

 

June 28, 2016: Smitty’s Polka Band Trio, now the Ziggy Zaggy Band

Pending thunderstorms did not deter 241 intrepid souls (among them many families with young children) who came to the Morristown Green to enjoy  and dance to the exciting music of Smitty’s Polka Band’s successor, the Ziggy Zaggy Band. Although Smitty has very recently retired, younger performers from his band (including Papa Bavarian) have taken up the mantle and expanded the repertoire to include such treats as the Beatles’ “She Loves Me” (in German), and other rock and pop favorites.

Check out the photos and video of the performance HERE on www.morristowngreen.com.

PHOTOS from June 28th, 2016 performance on the Green:

VIDEOS:

Click HERE for a glimpse of the polka classic, Roll Out the Barrel and HERE  to see parents and children trying out their polka skills.

Who could resist The Chicken Dance or hearing the Beatles’ She Loves Me  sung in German?!

Click HERE to see all the kids dancing and HERE to catch a little of the band’s rendition of the favorite, Edelweiss (from The Sound of Music).

A little background on the original band:
Smitty’s Polka Band was founded around 1967 in Elgin, Illinois, and relaunched in NYC in 2014 with the mission of making the best Oktoberfest Beer Music here in the States. Since the relaunch, Smitty’s Polka Band has entertained countless party goers and has been featured multiple times on the Circle Line Bear Mountain Cruise as well as at the headquarters of Unilever and financial giant Mastercard.  Smitty’s was also the featured entertainment at the Mercedes Benz USA company Oktoberfest in 2013.  In addition to drums and brass, the trio includes a VH1 “featured artist,” namely the accordionist/lead singer, widely known as Papa Bavarian. Consistently ranked as the most booked accordion player in the United States, Papa Bavarian has performed at Derek Jeter’s Retirement Party, hosted by the Ronald McDonald House, among other noteworthy events. Be sure to come with your dancing shoes and be ready to polka around the Green!

July 12, 2016: Indian Ragas and Rhythms, with Shivalik Ghoshal on Tabla and Vocalist/Harmonium player Andrew Shantz

The weather was glorious – sunny and low humidity – and the crowds swelled to 346 to enjoy the intricate, meditative singing and tabla/harmonium accompaniment by this talented duo. Their concentration was intense – despite the noisy building construction and five ambulances whose blaring sirens intruded on the serenity of the Green. All that said, the audience was most enthusiastic and appreciative.

Chick HERE to see the video and photo coverage on www.morristowngreen.com.

PHOTOS from the performance:

VIDEOS from the performance:

CLick HERE  to hear the meditative opening and then HERE to hear the buildup through rapid fire, intricate “unfolding” of the raga line.

Cllick HERE  and  HERE for  closeups of the complex drumming techniques of Shivalik Ghoshal on tabla and the singing/harmonium playing by Andrew Shantz.

And click HERE for a sampler from their final number.

The Assistant Director of Iselin’s Manjari School of Performing Arts as well as a tabla teacher, Shivalik Ghoshal performed all of the tabla drumming for the soundtrack of Academy Award-winning documentary Born into Brothels (2004) as well as at Lincoln Center with santoor maestro Sri Satnaam Singh. He has accompanied many maestros including Pandit Manilal Nag, Smt Girija Devi, Pandit Jasraj, Pandit Phalguni Mitra, and Ustad Ali Ahmed Hussain and numerous visiting Indian artists. The recipient of grants from New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Namashkar Foundation (CT), and Asian Arts Initiative (PA), Shivalik also received a citation from the New Jersey state legislature. He is currently working with Mary Zimmerman and Doug Peck on re-orchestrating the jazz/classical Indian-based music of The Jungle Book for productions at the Goodman Theatre and Huntington Theatre Company in Chicago. He is a student of tabla maestro Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri and comes from a renowned musical family.

Andrew Shantz is a keyboardist, vocalist, composer, producer and educator with a foundation in jazz and a penchant for musical exploration. Since 2008, he has been immersed in the world of Hindustani-North Indian – classical music as a vocalist and harmonium player with studies in Kolkata (Calcutta), India under Smt. (Shrimati) Madhumita Saha and in New York under Pandit Sanjoy Banerjee along with special guidance from tabla maestro Pandit Samar Saha. In 2015, he won a scholarship to further his vocal studies with Pandit Sanjoy Banerjee from the Tapati Basu Roy Charitable Trust. In 2012, Andrew founded Vanguard Music Studio with partners Anna Evangelista and Attila Mozsolits, offering musical instruction in private lessons, group classes and ensembles and in special workshops and performances.

Both Shivalik and Andrew participate in the Brooklyn Raga Massive (BRM), a cooperative alliance of  Indian classical musicians in the Brooklyn, NYC area. Managed by the artists, the Massive is a platform for all lovers of Raga music, (listeners and practitioners), to network, present concerts, lecture demonstrations, festivals, panel discussions and provide educational outreach to all ages. Breaking conventional formalities, the Massive presents top-notch Indian Classical and Raga-inspired musicians, in all their diversity, hosts local events, and weekly Raga Music Jam Sessions in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.

 

July 26, 2016: Mexico Beyond Mariachi

Broiling hot weather didn’t deter 242 hardy souls and the wonderful professional performers of Mexico Beyond Mariachi who did a splendid job sharing songs, dances and instruments along with the history of Mexican culture from ancient times until the present.

PHOTOS from their performance:

Cllick HERE to see some of the unique instruments, hear songs and traditional dances from Mexico’s rich cultural history.

For some additional songs and dances performed by this wonderful ensemble, click HERE and HERE

Described as an “exuberant feast for the senses,” Mexico Beyond Mariachi explores the long history of the diverse regions of Mexico, the rituals, myths, and celebrations with colorful costumes, authentic instruments, and lively music and dance. Evoking the variety and color of an outdoor Mexican mercado, or market, the group performs on drums, flutes, conch shells and shares dances of the pre-Hispanic through the modern eras. Their fascinating fusion of rhythms and harmonies – with roots extending to Spain and Africa – takes the audience from the time of the Aztecs to the present day. With ten years of experience and passion, Mexico beyond Mariachi has performed in 10 states, 300 venues, and reached over one million people across the world! Highlights from their 2015 calendar include 30 performances at the New York Botanical Garden’s Rose Hall for the blockbuster Frida Kahlo Exhibit in addition to performances in schools throughout five states. This special group of professional performers  shares their love for Mexican art and expression in their fascinating and enlightening performance.

 

August 9, 2016: Lei Pasifika – Tahitian and Hawaiian dance from the Pacific Islands

With temperatures in the 80s and low humidity, it was a perfect day to get a taste of Tahiti and  Hawaii. Over 405 people joined dancers Tamara Bejar and Christa Yamasuki on the Green as they showcased the intricacies of various Tahitian and Hawaiian dances. Their colorful costumes and unique instruments added to the visual delights and they invited the audiences – men, women and children – to try out various motions and learn their meaning and significance within the Polynesian culture.

During the performance, a large branch fell from one of the trees on the Green…probably weakened by recent severe storms. Click HERE to read about that in MorristownGreen.com – with abundant photos by Kevin Coughlin and Bill Lescohier.

Here are additional PHOTOS from Lei Pasifika’s performance (and hula lessons!):

VIDEOS from their Aug. 9, 2016 performance:

Click HERE  to see dancing with traditional Hawaiian bamboo rhythm sticks and HERE to see the dancers performing with the colorful, feathered Uli Uli gourds.

For a little taste of the dancers’ hula lesson , click HERE and,to see Crista Yamasuki impressive hip work as she dances with some of the “warrior”  men-dancers (including Luis Martinez of Morris Arts’ board), click HERE.

And, click HERE  for the final number, watch these two accomplished dancers (Tamara Bejar and Crista Yamasuki) demonstrate their art.

Lei Pasifika is a performance group focused on the music and dances of the Pacific Islands, mainly Tahiti and Hawaii. Sharing and cultivating the exotic cultures of Polynesia, their performances embody the spirits of these islands, taking a magical voyage in time, places, and legends. Through performances, dance classes, and costume workshops, they share and maintain the culture and lifestyle that is so dear to them.

Founder and director of Lei Pasifika, Makalina Gallagher was born and raised in and around the Pacific Islands, living in the Marianas, Caroline, and Hawaiian islands most of her life. A graduate of Fordham University with a B.A. in Theatre and Drama, she has studied ballet, jazz, modern and tap in New York City.  With the Tiny Bubble Band and her Hawaiian Express Dancers, she has performed on Channel 13 WNET PBS, NYC Telethon, FOX5 Good Day New York, and at Bette Midler’s 4th Annual Hulaween Ball.  She has also performed at a benefit for the New York Restoration Project, on the Food Network with Donna Hanover (featuring Roy Yamaguchi of Roy’s Restaurant) and with Gordon Elliot’s Doorknock Diners, on FOX 5 Good Day New York with Mike Woods, with Don Ho, as well as on WB11’s Morning Show.  Her dancers and the Tiny Bubble Band were featured on MTV’s Beach House to promote the movie “American Wedding,” and were also seen in Times Square promoting FOX 5’s new show North Shore, as well as at the Flea Theatre benefit.  She is the organizer of the NYC Ukulele MeetUp group and teaches Hula at Lotus Music & Dance. With her students and dancers at the CAPA (Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans) Festival, she has participated in celebrating Asia Pacific Heritage Month as well as in former Mayor Bloomberg’s Asian Pacific Heritage event and various Asian Heritage happenings in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Gallagher has been involved with Lei Pasifika since its inception.

Click to learn about past years of Music Beyond Borders.