New York City’s iconic venue, Carnegie Hall, has announced the world music (including American folk music) concerts for the upcoming 2019-2020 season.
Fall 2019 Highlights: October—December
Celebrated Beninese singer Angélique Kidjo will map the voyage of African music and culture around the world throughout her Perspectives series. The series will begin with a program on October 19 in Zankel Hall that features Benin International Musical, a fast-rising ensemble that fuses rock, hip-hop and electronica with traditional music of Benin.
Her series continues with Diaspora Songs, on December 6 observing the effect that African music has had on the international music scene, led by musical director Terence Blanchard featuring The E-Collective and special guests to be announced.
On December 13, Ms. Kidjo will be honored by longtime friend and guitarist Lionel Loueke and his trio in a concert that both celebrates and reinvents many of her beloved songs.
Ms. Kidjo’s Perspectives concludes on March 14, 2020 with Daughter of Independence, a special celebration of her 60th birthday that also honors the anniversary of independence of her native Benin and other West African nations. She will be joined by a cast of stellar guests.
The Milk Carton Kids will present their harmonized vocals reminiscent of the Everly Brothers and Simon & Garfunkel to Zankel Hall on November 1 as part of Rosanne Cash’s annual series, American Byways. The folk duo will play songs from their fourth album, All the Things That I Did and All the Things That I Didn’t Do, which earned them a wave of critical praise and a 2018 Grammy nomination.
Rosanne Cash and Ry Cooder will come together for a rare joint performance of songs from Johnny Cash’s beloved songbook on November 2. After immediately selling out four dates at the SFJAZZ Center and presenting two additional performances at San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House in 2018, the duo brings this highly anticipated concert to New York City for the first time.
Winter / Spring 2020 Highlights: January—May
Two broadly popular groups from Quebec, Le Vent du Nord & De Temps Antan, will come together on January 24 in Zankel Hall in a high-spirited celebration of traditional and contemporary dance tunes and ballads of French-Canadian culture.
The second installment of Rosanne Cash’s American Byways series on April 24 in Zankel Hall features the unadulterated Mississippi Hill Country Blues of multi-instrumentalist Cedric Burnside (grandson of legendary bluesman R. L. Burnside) and guitarist-vocalist Molly Tuttle (daughter of bluegrass star Jack Tuttle). They each celebrate their incredible musical lineage in performances seeped in the southern American roots tradition.
All performances take place in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage unless otherwise noted. For ticket information call 212-247-7800 or go to carnegiehall.org.
Ryland Peter Cooder (Ry Cooder) was born in Los Angeles, California, on March 15, 1947. He is a guitarist well-known for his slide guitar style.
Ry Cooder first attracted attention in the 1960s, playing with bluesman Taj Mahal in The Rising Sons, The Seeds, and Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band.
Cooder played a role in the new appreciation for traditional Cuban music thanks to his collaboration as producer in the Buena Vista Social Club (1997) recording that became a worldwide hit.
German filmmaker Wim Wenders directed a documentary film of the Cuban musicians involved, titled Buena Vista Social Club (1999) that was nominated for an Academy Award in 2000. Cooder also produced Ibrahim Ferrer’s Buenos Hermanos, and Mambo Sinuendo, all Grammy winners.
Ry Cooder’s solo work has been an eclectic mix on american roots music, including dustbowl folk music, tex-mex, soul, gospel, rock and other genrese. He has collaborated with many influential musicians, including the Rolling Stones, Little Feat, the Chieftains, John Lee Hooker, Hawaiian master Gabby Pahinui, and the late Ali Farka Toure. Cooder also formed the Little Village supergroup with Nick Lowe, John Hiatt and Jim Keltner.
Cooder’s 1978 album Bop Till You Drop was the first popular music album to be recorded digitally.
Ry Cooder’s Chávez Ravine, released in 2005 is a tribute to the long-gone Los Angeles Mexican-American enclave known as Chávez Ravine. Using real and imagined historical characters, Cooder and friends created an album that recollects various aspects of the poor but vibrant hillside Chicano community that was razed by developers in the 1950s in the interest of “progress.” The Dodgers Stadium (The Dodgers are a famous American professional baseball team) eventually was built on the spot. Cooder said at the time, “Here is some music for a place you don’t know, up a road you don’t go. Chávez Ravine, where the sidewalk ends.”
Chávez Ravine features various musical genres found in Los Angeles, including conjunto, corrido, R&B, Latin pop, and jazz. The 15-track album is sung in Spanish and English/ Cooder is joined by East Los Angeles legends like Chicano music patriarch Lalo Guerrero, Pachuco boogie king Don Tosti, Thee Midniters front man Little Willie G., and Ersi Arvizu of The Sisters and El Chicano.
“Los Angeles was paved over, malled up, high-rised, and urban-renewed, as fortunes were made, power was concentrated, and everything got faster and bigger,” explained Cooder. “But there is a lot I miss now. The texture of certain older neighborhoods, like Bunker Hill, a rural feel in urban places, like Chávez Ravine and the timbre of life there, and just peace and quiet,” he said.
Chavez Ravine was the first recording of a California trilogy. The second volume was 2007’s My Name Is Buddy.
The last recording of the California trilogy is I, Flathead, an album of music by the fictional musician Kash Buk and his band the Klowns, characters in Cooder’s 95-page tale. The album and novella were released together on June 24, 2008, by Nonesuch / Perro Verde Records.
The novella tells the story of Kash Buk and his friend Shakey the alien, together with various friends, lovers, enemies, and associates in a long-gone California filled with deserts, salt-flat racing, Native Americans, seedy dance halls, amusement parks, and sinister plots. The album includes fourteen songs by Buk, a hard-edged salt flat racer and roadhouse musician. With the story and the music, Cooder creates a world where “strange people are the norm,” inspired by country western music, Popular Mechanics magazines, and science fiction movies.
Flathead reflects change and disruption in a young, post-war, do-it-yourself culture of outsiders obsessed with racing cars fashioned from military surplus parts and flathead engines. As Kash Buk explains, “You got your hard times, your good times, a dog story for you animal lovers, and a forbidden-race love song, which every record ought to have at least one of.”
Cooder produced I, Flathead and wrote or co-wrote all the songs. He sings and plays mandolin, guitar, and bass on the album, alongside Mariachi Los Camperos; Joachim Cooder, and Jim Keltner on drums; Rene Camacho on bass; Francisco Torres on trombone; Ron Blake and Jon Hassell on trumpet; Anthony Gil on bass sax; Flaco Jiménez on accordion, Gil Bernal on tenor sax; Jared Smith on keyboards; Martin Pradler on electric piano and drums; and Juliette Commagere on vocals.
Ry Cooder has composed soundtracks for more than twenty films, including Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas, and The End of Violence.