A selective, curatorial view of the cultural highlights of the upcoming weekend in the greater Berkshire region.
LONNIE HOLLEY BRINGS OUTSIDER MUSIC to MASS MoCA
(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) — Artist and musician Lonnie Holley recorded his first album in 2012 at age 62 after making home recordings for more than two decades. Holley’s music, like his art, defies classification — haunting vocals, keyboards, and new renditions of songs with every performance. He brings his unique, outsider-y, improvised sound – described as “somewhere between Sun Ra and spoken-word poetry” and profiled in the New York Times — to MASS MoCA on Sat, Dec 2, at 8pm. The evening will start with a screening of a short documentary about Holley entitled “The Man Is the Music.” Preferred ticket buyers are invited to a gallery tour with the artist at 3pm.
EVERTON SYLVESTER & SEARCHING for BANJO to BRING SPOKEN-WORD and REGGAE RHYTHMS to HELSINKI HUDSON
(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Jamaican-born dub-poet Everton Sylvester and Searching for Banjo bring their unique blend of spoken word and deep reggae grooves to Club Helsinki Hudson on Sunday, December 3, at 7pm, as part of the monthly Rogovoy Salon music, literary, and art series curated and hosted by cultural journalist Seth Rogovoy.
Sylvester’s song-poems recount acutely observed scenes from the life of an immigrant in New York City. Sometimes political and often humorous, Sylvester brings a sly, deadpan wit to scenarios from the point of view of a son, a father, a teacher, and a would-be U.S. citizen, that alternately surprise, delight, or infuriate. Everton’s band, Searching for Banjo (which does not include banjo), lays down Jamaican-infused accompaniment and reggae beats, providing the perfect context for Sylvester’s cleverly crafted, alertly ironic lyrics.
Donnell Leahy and Natalie MacMaster
CELTIC XMAS CONCERT at MAHAIWE
(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – Canadian fiddle virtuosos Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy will perform “A Celtic Family Christmas” on Sun, Dec 3, at 7pm. Accompanied by an array of talented musicians and their entire family, the married duo will guide audiences through a true Cape Breton Christmas celebration.
Devesh Chandra and Veena Chandra
SITAR MUSIC CONCERT at SIMON’S ROCK
(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – Internationally renowned sitarist and vocalist Veena Chandra returns to Simon’s Rock College with tabla master Devesh Chandra on Sun, Dec 3, at 7pm, in the Kellogg Music Center. The mother-and-son duo will perform a free concert of North Indian classical music.
Cantilena Chamber Choir
CHOIR SING’S ‘WORLD’S GREATEST XMAS CAROLS’
(LENOX, Mass.) – The Cantilena Chamber Choir will perform the “World’s Greatest Christmas Carols” at Trinity Church on Sun, Dec 3, at 3pm. The concert will include traditional carols and some new settings of old favorites, including Vaughan Williams’s “Fantasia on Christmas Carols,” a medley of Christmas spirituals arranged by Chanticleer, and carol settings by John Rutter, Eric Barnum, and Paul Halley. The concert will end with the premiere of the Lenox Suite for piano, violin and choir by Moshe Knoll, as a tribute to Lenox’s 250th Anniversary, this being the final event of the yearlong celebration. Allyn Burrows, artistic director of Shakespeare & Company, will narrate the event.