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MusicNOW this weekend at Memorial Hall!

MusicNOW this weekend at Memorial Hall!
Courtesy of KP Photography

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MusicNOW was founded in 2006 by Bryce Dessner of The National. Through the years, the festival has invited contemporary musicians and risk-taking artists who do not fit neatly into genre defined categories.  Past performances have included festival-only collaborations, world premiere compositions, and sold out audiences. The festival has featured Sharon Van Etten, The National, Justin Vernon, Joanna Newsome, Andrew Bird, Toumani Diabate, Bang on a Can, Grizzly Bear, Sufjan Stevens, Glenn Kotche, and Kyaw Kyaw Naing among others.

Grammy winners Tinariwen, a band formed in Mali by young Touareg rebels. The original members met in a military training camp in Libya before the Touareg rebellion sent them out to battle in the southern Sahara. At the same time, their songs, recorded on cassettes and passed from friend to friend, broadcasted the message of a rebel movement promoting the rights of nomadic people suffering from arbitrary policies of repressive central governments. By the time this uprising ended, there were profound changes in the way of life of those desert people, whose traditions had been upended by years of drought and loosening of nomadic traditions. Such calamities forced many Touareg into exile. Tinariwen became the spokespeople of this generation which looked on helplessly as their harvests thinned, their animal herds wasted away and their world slowly crumbled. These difficult times led to the creation of music that has allowed Tinariwen to tour the world and perform at acclaimed music festivals including Coachella, Glastonbury, and Eurokeennes.  

Glen Hansard makes his MusicNOW debut, performing songs from his most recent record Rhythm and Repose. Hansard made a name for himself as the singer of the Irish band The Frames and his song “Falling Slowly” (co-written with Marketa Irglova  for the film Once) won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2008. In 2012 Hansard released his solo debutwhich received widespread acclaim.

Festival regular Richard Reed Parry is a multi-instrumentalist and composer best known as a member of Arcade Fire. On his own, Parry has produced an impressive oeuvre including works for Heart and Breath, that have previously been featured at MusicNOW. At this year’s festival Parry will perform works from his upcoming album of folk songs called “Quiet River of Dust."

Buke & Gase is a Brooklyn-based band whose unique sound has earned them much critical acclaim. Composed of Arone Dyer and Aron Sanchez, the duo plays an array of handmade instruments, including the “buke” (a sixstring baritone ukulele) and the “gase” (a guitar-bass hybrid). The result is a complex, inventive sound that both unsettles and satisfies.

Founded in 1992, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus has been training young singers for over twenty years. This innovative organization has been able to artfully toe the line between perserving classic musical traditions and encouraging a reinvigoration of classical music. BYC has collaborated with many contemporary artists, including Grizzly Bear, Glen Hansard and Talib Kweli.

Praised by The New Yorker for their “exhilarating blend of precision and anarchy, rigor and bedlam,”  Sō Percussion is a refreshing modern percussion ensemble. The group has an impressive history of collaboration, working with artists as diverse as Dan Deacon and Medeski Martin and Wood. Sō Percussion are a favorite of major Performing Arts Centers, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and London’s Barbican Centre.

One of the most influential composers of our time, Steve Reich, will join Sō Percussion for a performance that will includes Reich’s fun and interactive Clapping Music. Reich is a pioneer of minimal music and MusicNOW is very excited to welcome such an esteemed figure of contemporary American music.

This year’s festival will also include an art show at the Emery Theatre Gallery, featuring work by Nathlie Provosty and Jessie Henson

Visit La Blogothèque to see recently released footage from the 2012 and 2011 editions of the festival.

Friday, April 12
Tinariwen
Richard Reed Parry performing "Folk Songs"
Buke & Gase

Saturday, April 13
Glen Hansard
Brooklyn Youth Chorus performing new work from Aleksandra Vrebalov, Richard Reed Parry & Bryce Dessner
Ariel Quartet

Sunday, April 14
So Percussion
Steve Reich
Esme Kenney commission written by Daniel Bjarnason