Berkshire Cultural Preview, Feb 23-26, 2012

SHEARWATER BRINGS NEW SONGS to CLUB HELSINKI

Shearwater

(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Just two weeks after releasing its latest album, Animal Joy, Austin-based indie-rock group Shearwater, an offshoot of critically acclaimed cult band Okkervil River, will perform at Club Helsinki on Sunday, February 26, 2012, at 8 p.m.

Founded in 2001 by Okkervil River members Jonathan Meiburg and Will Sheff as an outlet for quieter songs on which the two were working, Shearwater now has eight recordings to its credit, including its new album, which was released on the famed Sub Pop label. The group is now a trio, featuring founding member Jonathan Meiburg (vocals, guitar, and piano), Meiburg’s ex-sife Kimberly Burke (upright and electric bass) and Thor Harris (drums).

For Animal Joy, the group is filled out by guest performers Andy Stack (of Wye Oak) on guitar, keyboard, and saxophone, Scott Brackett on keyboards, Cully Symington on additional drums, Sam Lipman on clarinet, Peter Katis on celeste, Danny Reisch on percussion and Elaine Barber on harp.

Lead singer Meiburg boasts a vibrato-laced tenor voice that often recalls Richard Thompson, and the group’s songs feature soaring melodies, infectious hooks, and insinuating electric guitar lines that cut through sweeping layers of keyboards. At times quiet and organic, arrangements sometimes turn on a dime, with pounding chords making declarative musical statements worthy of prog-rock outfits such as Peter Gabriel-era Genesis and Yes.

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AMERICANA FOLKSINGER EMILY MURE to PERFORM at MISSION BAR + TAPAS

Emily Mure

(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – New York City-born singer/songwriter and instrumental arranger Emily Mure performs at Mission Bar + Tapas on Friday, February 24, 2012, at 9 p.m., as part of the 10×10 on North Festival in downtown Pittsfield. Mure’s original songs in the Americana style are strongly influenced by Irish fiddle tunes, bluegrass, and country music, and her organic, twangy vocals recall Emmylou Harris, Natalia Zukerman and Lucy Kaplansky.

Mure’s first musical performance was playing backup cowbell at age 8 on a float with Dr. Ruth while her father played drums. Emily wanted to learn about life outside the cowbell and took up oboe at age 11. She studied classical oboe at LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts in Manhattan and later at Ithaca College. Feeling limited by the classical world of music, Mure got her first guitar at Ithaca and immediately started writing folk and bluegrass songs.

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WILLIAMSTOWN-BASED QUARTET PERFORMS OBSCURE SARDINIAN THROAT SINGING

Tenores de Aterúe

(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) – On Friday, February 24 at 8 p.m., Tenores de Aterúe, a Williamstown-based quartet, will share the unique style of Sardinian singing called cantu a tenore at St. John’s Church in Williamstown. Proceeds from the concert (which also includes music from Corsica and Italy) will go toward funding their first study tour in Sardinia planned for later this year.

When the members of Tenores de Aterúe first heard the strange guttural sounds and ringing overtones of cantu a tenore, they thought it sounded like something from another planet. In fact, it came from the voices of four men singing together on the island of Sardinia. They were instantly hooked, and wanted to try the unusual style out themselves. But they had no teacher, knew no one from Sardinia, and couldn’t even hear what the Sardinians were doing with their voices. “It was like an ocean of sound that had no beginning or end, no top or bottom,” they say.

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VERDI’S ROMANTIC OPERA ‘ERNANI’ COMES to THE CLARK, MAHAIWE, LIVE FROM THE MET

Angela Meade as Elvira and Marcello Giordani in the title role of Verdi's 'Ernani' (photo Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera)

(WILLIAMSTOWN and GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – Verdi’s sweeping romantic opera Ernani will be screened at The Clark and the Mahaiwe on Saturday, February 25, 2012, at 1p.m., Live in HD from the Metropolitan Opera. (There will be an encore screening at the Mahaiwe on Wednesday, March 7, at 1 p.m. at the Mahaiwe.) In Ernani, rising opera star Angela Meade takes on the demanding role of Elvira, who is pursued by three men: her uncle, the king of Spain, and the dashing bandit Ernani. Running time is approximately four hours.

Four extraordinary singers star in Verdi’s Ernani. American soprano Angela Meade, whose victory in the Met’s National Council Auditions was chronicled in the 2008 documentary film The Audition, sings the role of the noblewoman Elvira in her first Live in HD appearance. Marcello Giordani, star of the Live in HD transmissions of Madama Butterfly, Simon Boccanegra, and La Fanciulla del West, sings the title role of the noble bandit who loves Elvira. Dmitri Hvorostovsky portrays Don Carlo, a royal suitor for Elvira’s hand, and Ferruccio Furlanetto is da Silva, a wealthy relative with his own designs on Elvira. Marco Armiliato, who led the Met premiere performances of Anna Bolena earlier this season, conducts Verdi’s thrilling drama of passion, power, and honor, in Pier Luigi Samaritani’s lavish production.

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EVENING OF SHORT PLAYS at BCC to FEATURE WORKS by MAMET, PINTER, SHEL SILVERSTEIN

Clover Bell-Devaney

(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – Works by David Mamet, Harold Pinter and Shel Silverstein will be featured in an evening of short plays and sketches featuring the Berkshire Community College (BCC) Players and edited and directed by Berkshire Playwrights Lab founder and co-artistic director Jim Frangione from February 24 to March 3 at the Koussevitzky Arts Center at Berkshire Community College, 1350 West Street in Pittsfield.

The evening will feature such well-known Berkshire actors as Andrew Joffe and Clover Bell-Devaney and BCC alumni and students Jacob Gold, Lindsay DeWinkeleer, Cody Lee Miller, Will Demick and Rebecca Sterpka.

The evening will feature some of the playwright’s early and infrequently produced comic work and sketches. Included in the program is Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Mamet’s hilarious one-act play, School, written specifically for the Berkshire Playwrights Lab in 2008.

Also several pieces from Harold Pinter’s 1964 collection, The Revue Sketches and an assortment of funny shorts from Shel Silverstein (The Giving Tree, Where the Sidewalk Ends) will be performed. Newcomer Dean Imperial’s The Woman From 43 and Cindy Lou Johnson’s (Brilliant Traces) lovely short play, Home For Christmas, will round out the program.

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MCLA GALLERY 51 to OPEN  ‘BRANCHING TOGETHER’ EXHIBIT THURSDAY

Michelle Wilson, 'Ghost Trees'

(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – Beginning Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) Gallery 51 will present Branching Together, an exhibition of work by Helen Hiebert, Sun Young Kang and Michelle Wilson; three artists who use the physicality of paper as a means of telling a story. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, Feb. 23, 5-7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, and will include a book signing by Hiebert with her three books on papermaking, all of which will be available for purchase. Just prior to the reception, at 4:30 p.m., Heibert also will give a short talk about paper and her work in the show.

The centerpiece of the exhibit, Hiebert’s Mother Tree, was created with translucent abaca-based paper. Strands crocheted from cotton, linen, hemp and flax form the roots, some of which were crocheted by Hiebert, many more by others who read about her project online or experienced it at a gallery. The strands represent milk. Hiebert explained, “As the milk cascades to the floor, it turns into roots and these roots are multi-colored and multi-fibered, representing all of humanity and our diversity. The threads in Mother Tree symbolize the lifeline that connects all women to their past as well as to their future.”

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