A highly selective preview of cultural events taking place this weekend in the greater Berkshires region, including the kickoff a new play reading series; a chamber concert devoted to Jewish music; Ethiopian pop-funk at MASS MoCA; and an album release concert by a local favorite.
(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – “Fiddler OFF the Roof,” a chamber music program exploring the question “What Is Jewish Music?” and featuring works by Felix Mendelssohn, Gustav Mahler, Ernest Bloch, Darius Milhaud, George Gershwin, Max Bruch, plus the world premiere of contemporary composer Paul Schoenfield’s “ZEMER,” takes place at the Mahaiwe on Sunday, April 17, at 3pm, as part of the Close Encounter with Music series.
(LENOX, Mass.) – Actors from most of the region’s top summer theaters, including Kristin Wold of Shakespeare & Company, will take part in a reading of “The Last Wife” by Kate Hennig, the opening event of the 2016 Fresh Takes Play Reading Series at WAM Theatre, at No. Six Depot Roastery and Café on Sunday, April 17 at 3 pm. The reading will be directed by WAM Artistic Associate and Fresh Takes Curator Molly Clancy.
(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – Bella’s Bartok celebrates the release of its new album, “Change Yer Life,” with a “CD Release Masquerade Show,” featuring special guests Whiskey Treaty Roadshow and DJ BFG, at the Colonial Theatre on Saturday, April 16 at 8pm. Bella’s Bartok, birthed in the Berkshires and now based in Northampton, is a six-piece ensemble playing a unique brand of “Bohemian Klezmer-Punk” with pop sensibilities. The “Masquerade Show” will feature an amped-up version of the Bella’s high-energy experience, complete with special effects and surprises. With a masquerade theme, fans are encouraged to come with masks of all kinds.
(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – Debo Band, a large, Boston-based ensemble led by Ethiopian-American saxophonist Danny Mekonnen and fronted by charismatic vocalist Bruck Tesfaye, brings its groove-inducing style of “Ethio-pop” to Club B-10 at MASS MoCA on Saturday, April 16, at 8pm, culminating a day featuring the opening of three new exhibitions in the galleries. The eleven-piece Debo Band expands upon the repertoire of Ethiopia’s golden era of Afropop. The band’s 2012 debut, released on Sub Pop to huge acclaim, offered some of the most infectious groove-based Ethio-funk ever recorded. Fans rave about Debo Band’s intricate styles, funky rhythms, deep guitar riffs, and authentic vibes. The group’s “Ethio-pop” is a revolutionary combination of African folk music and traditional funk.