Valley News – Music about racial, political strife provides inspiration

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En route to opening the Hopkins Center’s SHIFT festival on Friday night with his Funk Apostles, Cory Henry is listening to songs recorded long before his birth in 1987.

“Most of my favorite music steps from the 1960s and 1970s — soul music R&B, gospel, obviously,” Henry, the former Hammond-organ player for the Grammy-winning band Snarky Puppy, said during a telephone interview last week. “The topics they were talking about still ring true. Gives me a boost of confidence to create a sound that speaks to people in a very factual way.”

And whether it’s Marvin Gaye — “especially the What’s Goin’ On? record” — or Al Green or Sly and the Family Stone, Henry said it’s as “urgent and important” as ever, inspiring him, through the Funk Apostles, to address yet another time of racial and political strife and division and ecological peril.

“A lot of the music out there in today’s mainstream isn’t talking about these things, making you aware of your surroundings,” Henry said. “It’s wildly important to present a voice for my culture. Talking about love, talk about having a good time is fine, but I also want to talk about other things.”

All of which is music to the ears of Hopkins Center director Mary Lou Aleskie, who established the festival last June as a way to keep the performing arts jumping, and relevant, during the relatively leisurely summer term at Dartmouth College. Between the performances, Dartmouth faculty members will give talks providing context to the artists’ approaches to issues timely and timeless, through dance and theater as well as music.

“A lot of it is about living on the land, celebrating the land,” Aleskie said last week. “We needed a celebratory opening for what we’re looking at as kind of a sustainability party, and Cory fits that perfectly.”

The Australian acrobatic troupe Circa will close the party on June 30, with the last of three performances of Humans, which Aleskie describes as a metaphor for Homo Sapiens‘ continuing “struggle to find balance in our relationship with nature.”

Between the Funk Apostles show at Spaulding Auditorium and Circa’s finale in Moore Theater, SHIFT events include:

■Performances of the Gare St. Lazare Players’ musical-theater adaptation of Moby-Dick at the Moore Theater on Saturday and Sunday nights at 8 (admission $11 to $42).

■A free screening of short films, on Monday night at 8 at Loew Auditorium, on the theme of “A Portal to the Sky: Cinema and Space.”

■An all-comers gathering on the theme of “Sing for the Earth” on Tuesday night at 8 at Spaulding Auditorium.

■The Dance Heginbotham troupe performing at the Moore Theater on Wednesday night at 8 (tickets $11 to $32), with musical accompaniment from Alarm Will Sound. Program includes performance of composer Tyondai Braxton’s chamber work Common Fate.

■An ensemble of 99 professional and community percussionists using instruments ranging from conch shells and gongs to drums and glockenspiels to fill Dartmouth’s BEMA Outdoor Amphitheater with environmental composer John Luther Adams’ Inuksuit, during the afternoon of June 29.

■Grammy-winning Americana singer-songwriter Iris DeMent at Spaulding Auditorium, sharing her complicated vision of the lives of ordinary people in the nation’s heartland.

The SHIFT’s focus made it an easy call for Cory Henry to bring the Funk Apostles north from Brooklyn.

“We don’t play colleges very often, other than master classes and workshops, not too many shows,” he said. “This is a way to reach a different audience, a younger audience, a progressive vibe.”

Cory Henry leads his Funk Apostles into Dartmouth College’s Spaulding Auditorium on Friday night at 8; admission $11 to $42. Visit hop.dartmouth.edu, or call 603-646-2422, to learn more about SHIFT events.

Best bets

Tristan Henderson performs two outdoor concerts of folk and Americana music with his Pete’s Posse bandmates in greater Woodstock this week, starting Thursday night at 5:30 at the Feast & Farm Market at Fable Farm in Henderson’s native Barnard. And on Friday night at 5:30, the trio plays on the lawn behind the North Universalist Chapel in Woodstock, overlooking the Ottauquechee River, in the kickoff to Pentangle Arts series of weekly outdoor concerts; admission by donation.

■Revels North celebrates the summer solstice this weekend with sessions of song, dance and other activities on Friday afternoon at 5:30 at ArtisTree Community Arts Center in South Pomfret, and on Saturday afternoon at 5:30 with a celebration on the Norwich Green. Admission is by donation.

■Drag performers Joslyn Fox and Tiffany Tucker host the annual cabaret act “Queens, Queers & Camo” at The Skinny Pancake in Hanover on Friday night at 9. Admission is $12 in advance (call 603-277-9115) and $15 at the door. Proceeds benefit the LGBTQ+ Health & Equality workgroup at the White River Junction Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

■Pianist Annemieke McLane performs on the theme of “Debussy & Dreams” on Friday night at 7, at the United Church of Strafford. Admission is by donation to the fund for maintenance of the church’s bell tower.

■The Opera Cowgirls sing a mix of opera and country on Sunday afternoon at 5 in Bistro Nouveau, at the Center at Eastman in Grantham. The admission price of $75, benefiting Opera North’s upcoming Summerfest, includes a barbecue dinner and a drink ticket.

■Saxophonist Fred Haas and singer Sabrina Brown lead an ensemble of Interplay Jazz Camp faculty through a concert at Kimball Union Academy’s Flickinger Arts Center in Meriden on Sunday night at 7:30. And on Wednesday night at 8, faculty and camp students set the rhythm for a swing dance. Admission to each event is $20.

Theater/performance art

Her Majesty’s Secret Circus Show, acrobatic slapstick, Thursday night at 6 on the Haverhill Corners Common. Admission by donation to Court Street Arts.

The Pajama Game, romantic-comedy musical, performances at New London Barn Playhouse between Thursday night and the finale on Sunday afternoon. Visit nlbarn.org or call 603-526-6710.

Waiting for Godot, six outdoor performances of the Samuel Beckett farce between Friday night and June 30 at Fable Farm in Barnard. Admission $15 to $20.

Music

Eli Paperboy Reed, soul, Thursday night at 7 at Colburn Park in Lebanon; Brooks Hubbard Band, Americana, Friday night at 6 during Lebanon Food Truck Festival; The Tricksters, rock, Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the food truck festival.

■Pianist Henry Danaher, guitarist Billy Rosen, bassist David Westphalen and drummer Tim Gilmore, jazz, Friday night at 6:15 on downtown Lebanon mall; Carlos Ocasio, rock and soul, Saturday night at 6:15.

■Kearsarge Community Band, season-opening free concert on Friday night at 6:30 at Haddad Bandstand in New London.

■Anonymous Coffeehouse, Friday night at First Congregational Church of Lebanon, folk-rock performances by Andy Tate at 7:30, Spencer Lewis at 8:15 and the Schoenfeld/Stern Project at 9. Admission by donation.

■Singer-songwriter Eric Ramsey, folk and blues, Friday night at 7:30 at Seven Stars Arts Center in Sharon; admission $12.

■Boston Civic Symphony and solo cellist Brannon Cho, works of Elgar, Wagner and Stravinsky, Saturday night at 7 in Sawyer Theater at Colby-Sawyer College in New London. Visit summermusicassociates.org or call 603-526-8234 for tickets.

■“Trumpet Calls,” free concert by faculty and students of Chosen Vale International Trumpet Seminar, Saturday night at 8 in Mary Keene Chapel at Enfield Shaker Village. Featuring works of Gabrieli and Shostakovich, among others.

■Acacia Trio, chamber music, Sunday afternoon at 2 in Little Studio of Saint-Gaudens National Historic Park in Cornish. Admission free with paid entry to the park.

■Lamartine Quartet, chamber music, Sunday afternoon at 4 at North Universalist Chapel in Woodstock. Admission by donation.

■Michelle Fay Band, Americana, Sunday afternoon from 5 to 7 on the Norwich Green. Norwich Lions Club members cook free hamburgers.

■Pillsbury Slow Boys, Americana, Tuesday night at 6 on Strafford Common. Admission by donation to maintenance fund for Strafford Town House.

■Carter Glass, rock, Wednesday night at 6:30 at Lyman Point Park in White River Junction.

Dance

Raqs Salaam troupe, belly-dancing, Monday night at 7 at Colburn Park in Lebanon.

Bar and club circuit

Singer-songwriter Martin Decato, Thursday night at 5 at The Hungry Bear Pub & Grill in Bradford, Vt.; Chris Powers, rock, Sunday afternoon from 1 to 4.

■Out in the Valley, monthly queer Happy Hour and mixer, Thursday night from 6 to 8 at The Skinny Pancake in Hanover; Liam Alone, soul, rock and funk, Saturday night at 6:30.

■Sensible Shoes, pop and rock, Thursday night at 7 at Windsor Station; The Pilgrims, rock, Saturday night at 9:30; Papa Greybeard, roots-rock, Tuesday night at 6.

■Dr. Tom’s Band, rock, Friday night at 8 at Skunk Hollow Tavern.

■Alec Currier, rock, Friday night at 8 at Salt hill Pub in West Lebanon; Occasional Jug Band, roots/Americana, Saturday afternoon at 4.

■Tirade, rock, Friday night at 9 at Salt hill Pub in Newport.

■Singer-songwriter Jim Hollis, Friday night at 9 at Salt hill Pub in Lebanon; Alec Currier, rock, Saturday night at 9.

■Never Too Late, folk, Saturday night at 9 at Salt hill Pub in Hanover.

■Saxophonist Michael Parker and singer Randy White, jazz and soul, Friday night at 8:30 at Crossroads Bar and Grill in South Royalton, and Saturday night at 8:30 at Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee.

■Occasional Jug Band, roots/Americana, Sunday night at 6 at Loch Lyme Lodge on Post Pond in Lyme.

■Jim Yeager, rock/funk, Monday night at 7 at Woodstock Inn’s Richardson Tavern.

■Jazz pianist Sonny Saul, Wednesday night at 6:30 at On the River Inn in Woodstock.

■Brooks Hubbard Band, Americana, Wednesday night at 7:30 at The Skinny Pancake in Hanover.

Open mics/jam sessions

Alec Currier’s open mic at Salt hill Pub in Lebanon, Thursday nights at 8.

■Rob Oxford and Ford Daley’s hootenanny of Americana, folk and bluegrass, Monday nights at 6 at Salt hill Pub in Hanover.

■Fiddler Jakob Breitbach’s acoustic jam session of bluegrass, Americana and old-timey music, Tuesday nights at 7 at Filling Station Bar and Grill in White River Junction.

■Tom Masterson’s open mic, Tuesday nights at 7 at Colatina Exit.

■John Lackard’s monthly blues jam, Tuesday night at 8 at Crossroads Tavern in South Royalton.

■Jim Yeager hosts open mics on Thursday night at 7 at ArtisTree Community Arts Center; at The Public House Pub in Quechee on Tuesday night at 6; and at Skunk Hollow Tavern on Wednesday night at 8.

Looking Ahead

The Malpass Brothers set the rhythm for the barn dance that opens the Jenny Brook Bluegrass Festival on Wednesday night at 6:30 at the Tunbridge Fairgrounds. The festival runs through June 30. For tickets and more information, visit jennybrookbluegrass.com.

David Corriveau can be reached at dcorriveau@vnews.com or 603-727-3304.

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