(HUDSON, N.Y.) – The Ahn Trio will kick off the new “Rogovoy Salon” music, literary, and art series curated and hosted by music journalist Seth Rogovoy at Club Helsinki Hudson on Sunday, June 11, at 7pm. Upcoming artists in the series, devoted to innovative, genre-defying and interdisciplinary performers, including the Krakauer-Tagg Duo (July 2); Jen Chapin (August 13); slam poet Taylor Mali (November 12); and Everton Sylvester and Searching for Banjo, combining spoken word and jazz (December 3). More fall dates will be announced soon.
“Over my years of covering the cultural scene in the greater region, what’s come to interest me most is creative work that defies convention,” says Seth Rogovoy. “In this series, we hope to showcase artists, musicians, writers, and poets who combine forms – such as Krakauer-Tagg in their use of acoustic and electronic music and multimedia, and Everton Sylvester in his pairing of poetry and music – and break down genre boundaries, in the way the world-renowned classical Ahn Trio reinterprets rock music, and Jen Chapin uniquely fuses folk, soul, activism, and jazz into her own genre.”
“If I had to sum up in one word what unites all of these artists, I’d call them all ‘rulebreakers’.”
For the Rogovoy Salon, Seth will select the performers and host the evening at Helsinki. When appropriate, Seth will interview the artists onstage and moderate an audience Q&A.
“We’ve known Seth for nearly 20 years, since he began covering music at the original Club Helsinki in Great Barrington,” says Helsinki co-owner Deborah McDowell. “We’ve all grown up together, and his work writing about music and our work as presenters have been a kind of surreptitious cultural conversation. Now we’re ready to put that conversation itself onstage.”
Hailed as “exacting and exciting musicians” by the Los Angeles Times, the three sisters of the Ahn Trio (Lucia on the piano, Angella on the violin, and Maria on the cello) have earned a distinguished reputation for embracing 21st-century classical music with their unique style and innovative collaborations. For their Helsinki concert, they will perform works by David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, Prince, Pat Metheny, and others. “As soon as I heard the Ahn Trio’s version of ‘This Is Not America,’ one of my favorite if little-known David Bowie songs, co-written with Pat Metheny, I became a huge fan of Ahn Trio and their imaginative approach to combining classical textures with rock music.”
Influences of world music, jazz, classical, experimental techniques and electronics blend together in the Krakauer-Tagg Duo collaboration called “Breath and Hammer: Clarinet, Piano and Beyond.” Grammy Award nominee David Krakauer’s use of extended techniques, improvisation and circular breathing on the clarinet, and South African pianist Kathleen Tagg’s ability to use the piano as a harp, a zither, a drum and a cello augment the traditional sounds of their instruments. “David Krakauer is a perfect example of ‘genre-defying,’” says Rogovoy. “He’s one of the most in-demand clarinet virtuosos in classical music; he’s a lion of the downtown avant-garde; he is a pioneer of modern klezmer; and he has a restless musical imagination that takes him, literally and figuratively, around the world.”
Enhanced by an immersive video feed, the performance will feature Krakauer and Tagg’s arrangements of works by composers as diverse as New York-based visionary John Zorn, Syrian clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, Cuban percussionist Roberto Rodriguez, as well as original compositions by Krakauer and Tagg, with influences ranging from interlocking African drumming patterns to romantic symphonic music to minimalism to klezmer.
The daughter of folk music giant and activist Harry Chapin, Brooklyn-based Jen Chapin finds her own voice through her personal and image-laden lyrics and her musical approach influenced as much or more by Billie Holiday, Stevie Wonder, and Sade than her dad. She performs with sympathetic jazz musicians, including her husband, the critically acclaimed, Grammy Award-nominated jazz bassist Stephan Crump, who in addition to being a member of Vijay Iyer’s band, also stretches out, genre-wise, in his work for Portishead’s Dave McDonald, the Violent Femmes’ Gordon Gano, Jorma Kaukonen, Lucy Kaplansky, Big Ass Truck, Sonny Fortune, and the late blues legend Johnny Clyde Copeland. “Before anyone had heard of Norah Jones, Jen Chapin had already come up with the sonic palette that Jones rode to fame on ‘Come Away with Me’,” says Rogovoy. “She also continues her father’s tradition of activism, in and outside of her music – perhaps most notably in her jazz-protest song, ‘Passive People’.”
Author-poet Taylor Mali is one of the few genuine celebrities to emerge from the competitive slam-poetry scene. He is perhaps best known for the poem “What Teachers Make,” a question he expanded upon in his bestselling book, “What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World.” Mali appeared in the documentaries “SlamNation” (1997) and “Slam Planet” (2006). Mali, a former resident of the Berkshires, was also in the HBO production, “Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry,” which won a Peabody Award in 2003. Mali’s incisive work, which spares no one, especially himself, is often about family, masculinity, marriage, divorce, fatherhood, race, and education. It’s also mostly funny.
Like Mali, Jamaican-born funk-poet Everton Sylvester is also a product of the downtown slam scene, having worked his way up from the midweek open mike at the Nuyorican Café – ground-zero of the poetry-slam movement – to headlining spots on weekend nights. His poems have been published in the Massachusetts Review, the Brooklyn Review, River Run, the Mississippi Review and Gathering of the Tribes. He is featured in the PBS series “United States of Poetry” and in the film “Slamming.” Sylvester is also lead poet with the Brooklyn Funk Essentials. With his group, Searching for Banjo, Sylvester combines his strongly narrative, often humorous poems with original funk and R&B-laced jazz.
For reservations in The Restaurant or in the club call 518.828.4800.