Berkshire Cultural Weekend Preview, October 24-29, 2012


English folksinger Laura Marling

(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – It’s a terrible cliche to compare guitar-strumming female singer-songwriters to Joni Mitchell, who sort of broke the mold of the genre about 40-odd years ago, but there’s no two ways about it — innovative UK folk-pop singer-songwriter Laura Marling recalls Mitchell, not only because she sounds like her, but because she shows promise of being just that good. Like Mitchell, Marling knows her way around the guitar beyond the basic four folk chords; her melodies swoop and soar in unexpected direction as does her wide-ranging voice with a natural vibrato; she’s deft with open tunings and jazz chords; and she writes phrases that are seemingly impossible to fit into pop verses, but somehow pulls it off. Marling stops at MASS MoCA  on Friday, October 26, 2012, as part of her Working Holiday Solo tour.

During Laura Marling’s first British tour five years ago, she and her band were turned away from the gig because at only 17 she was too young to gain admittance to the nightclub. The enterprising musicians set up shop on the street outside the club and played to an enthusiastic crowd on the sidewalk in London’s Soho. NPR says of Marling, “With a sound characterized by graceful, refined lyricism and remarkable melodies, she’s attracted widespread praise.”

Known for a silvery, strong voice, and a clear-eyed comprehension of the world, Marling trailblazed a folk revival among the UK’s young and fashionable – she comes out of the same scene that produced Mumford & Sons, and has been linked romantically with Marcus Mumford — and was named “best British female solo artist” at age 21. While some of her songs lay bare her fantasies about a normal way of life that she missed by hitting the road at such a young age, and her insecurities about having left school before she finished, she sums up her performing philosophy, saying, “I just think of everything I do and how happy it will make me to do it.”





Alicia Jo Rabins

(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – Hagar and Miriam. Judith and Hannah. The Bible is full of stories – often overlooked, underwritten or ignored – about women. The Patriarchs get all the play, but there’s plenty of drama in the stories of the Matriarchs and their sisters and cousins. Which is what motivated songwriter-vocalist-violinist Alicia Jo Rabins to devote herself to rebooting their stories in the form of art-pop and chamber-rock songs with her band, Girls in Trouble, which performs at Hevreh of Southern Berkshire (270 State Rd.) on Saturday, October 27, 2012, at 7:30 p.m.

Rabins’s beguiling, intimate, indie rock style suits the often scandalous, murderous tales of the Scriptural heroines. Formerly a member of folk bands Underbelly and the Mammals as well as Yiddish-klezmer ensemble Golem, Rabins distills the stories of Girls in Trouble for contemporary taste, drawing parallels between the female characters in the Bible’s tales and herself via captivating song and story which disinter the long dead women, bringing them to vibrant energy as reflections on modern living. Although drawn from ancient scripture, the dramas told in the songs are utterly contemporary and speak of timeless human — and female — challenges, struggles, heartbreaks, and triumphs.

Co-sponsored by the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires, Hevreh, and Congregation Ahavath Sholom, the cost is $10 and reservations may be made at 413.442.4360, ext. 10, where information is also available.






(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – Haitian guitarist and singer BélO brings his high energy mix of jazz, worldbeat, rock, reggae and Afro-Haitian traditional rhythm known as Ragganga to MCLA’s Church Street Center on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, at 8 p.m. as part of the MCLA Presents! performance series.

Born in Haiti in 1979, BélO is an author, composer, guitarist and singer, the winner of numerous awards, including the Radio France International Discoveries and Itinerant Ambassador of Haitian Music awards, and the Sacem Caribbean Award for his track, “Ti Jean,” a call to send children to school to prevent them from falling into the trap of violence. The concert will take place in the Church Street Center with two student openers, a dance performance by NEXXUS, MCLA’s step team, and a song cycle by Jessica Jean-Charles ’13.

Tickets to BélO are $10 for general admission. Tickets for MCLA alumni are $8, $5 for staff and faculty, and members and students are free. Tickets may be reserved by calling MCLA Presents! at (413) 662-5204. For more information, (413) 664-8718, or go to MCLA Presents!




Lake Street Dive

(HUDSON, N.Y.) –Lake Street Dive brings it organic classic rock and soul sounds to Club Helsinki Hudson on Friday, October 26, 2012, at 9 p.m. Fronted by vocalist Rachael Price, who boasts a powerful jazz-tinged voice in the vein of such 1960s female rock icons as Janis Joplin and Grace Slick, the quartet puts out a big, organic sound produced by drummer Mike Calabrese, bassist Bridget Kearney (Joy Kills Sorrow, Cuddle Magic), and trumpet-wielding guitarist Mike Olson (Joy Kills Sorrow).

Friday night’s concert comes on the heels of a two-week recording session in Maine for the band’s next album.

The musicians in Lake Street Dive met when they were all students at Boston’s New England Conservatory of Music. The group name-checks Tom Petty and The Band in one of its songs, which gives potential listeners a good idea of the sort of rootsy, organic sounds that inspires and infused Lake Street Dive.

For reservations in The Restaurant or in the club call 518.828.4800




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