(WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) – Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Janis Ian comes to The Clark for a free book reading on Thursday, April 19, 2012, at 5:30 pm, and a concert on Friday, April 20, at 8 pm. Ian’s breakthrough hit, “Society’s Child (Baby, I’ve Been Thinking),” written about interracial romance when she was just 13 years old, introduced the formidable talent to the world in 1967 – with the essential helping hand of Leonard Bernstein, who featured it in a TV special with the quaint title, Inside Pop: The Rock Revolution – and Ian has received critical acclaim for her boundary-breaking music ever since. Ian scored her biggest commercial hit, the Grammy Award-winning song “At Seventeen,” in 1975.
(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – China’s “Empress of Pipa” Liu Fang will trade fours with young Israeli violinist Hagai Shaham in “Trade Winds: From China With Love,” a celebration of traditional Chinese classical music, as part of the Close Encounters With Music series on Saturday, April 21, 2012, at 6 p.m. at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center. The concert will include a premiere of Green by recent Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Zhou Long, in a new version for cello and pipa featuring Close Encounters artistic director Yehuda Hanani on cello.
Before multiculturalism and today’s penchant for fusion, the musical dialogue between East and West existed in the music of Debussy, Ravel, and the American avant-garde. “Trade Winds” also includes Bulgarian pianist Emma Tahmizian playing Ravel’s Mother Goose and Leo Ornstein’s remarkable A la Chinoise, while Israeli violinist Hagai Shaham offers Debussy’s pentatonic-inflected Sonata and Fritz Kreisler’s Tambourin Chinois. He also performs a work from another ancient tradition – Joseph Achron’s haunting Hebrew Melody.
(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – Old-school rock ‘n’ roll vocalist Christine Ohlman, dubbed the “Beehive Queen,” will roll into North Adams with her fiery blues, R&B and rock band, Rebel Montez, on Saturday, April 21, 2012, at 8 p.m., as part of MASS MoCA’s Alt Cabaret series. The longtime vocalist of the Saturday Night Live Band, Ohlman is known for her huge, deep, soulful growl, which she applies equally to her band’s own numbers as well as to vintage soul, blues and rock classics, and which has made her a first-call vocalist for numerous high-profile industry gigs, ranging from the Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Tribute Concert in 1992 at Madison Square Garden to the 2009 Barack Obama Presidential Inaugural Gala to last week’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame festivities in Cleveland.
(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Experimental rock outfit Mice Parade performs as an acoustic trio at Club Helsinki on Friday, April 20, 2012, at 9 p.m. The long-time project of bandleader/visionary Adam Pierce, Mice Parade is an experimental music group that connects disparate strains of post-rock, electronica, and outré folk music, creating a playful, twee sound all its own – the group can sound like Bjork one minute, Radiohead the next, My Bloody Valentine down the hall and Devendra Banhart an hour later.
Joining founder and multi-instrumentalist Adam Pierce will be classical guitar virtuoso Dan Lippel and a special guest Icelandic female vocalist. The newly quieter threesome, featuring Pierce on vocals, guitar and Spanish cajón drum, will perform reworked versions of material spanning Mice Parade’s kaleidoscopic catalogue, including the debut of several songs from its ninth studio album, Candela, slated for release this fall on FatCat Records.
(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – Artist Bryan Nash Gill, whose prints and sculptures are featured in an exhibition, Beyond the Landscape, running now through May 28, 2012 at Berkshire Museum, will be signing copies of his new book, Woodcut, at the museum on Sunday, April 22, 2012, from 4 to 5 p.m. The event is included with museum admission.
Woodcut, published by Princeton Architectural Press, features Gill’s large-scale relief prints made from cross-sections of trees. Woodcut includes 100 color illustrations, an introduction by New York Times essayist Verlyn Klinkenborg, and an interview with the artist detailing his printmaking process.
Gill creates abstract sculptures, works on paper, and installations that are inextricably bound to the materials and inspiration he finds in nature, working and living in a rural New England setting. Massive sections of tree trunks are cut and carved; branches and leaves are re-interpreted in bronze; and the growth rings on cross-sections of trees are inked and transferred to hand-made paper.