(LENOX, Mass.) – Folk music legend Joan Baez will be joined by Amy Ray and Emily Saliers of Indigo Girls and singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter for “Four Voices,” in the Shed at Tanglewood on Saturday, June 17, at 7pm. Vintage jazz group the Hot Sardines will perform the previous evening, Friday, June 16, at 8pm, in Ozawa Hall.
The “Four Voices” tour was born from a friendship among Joan Baez, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Amy Ray, and Emily Saliers. Over 25 years ago, Baez invited Ray and Saliers to perform at a 1991 benefit at the Berkeley Community Theater for her human rights organization, Humanitas. Upon accepting the invitation, Ray and Saliers suggested enlisting Carpenter as well. After a successful performance, the four of them reconnected a year later at an Earth Day Celebration in Boston and at the Newport Folk Festival. Most recently, while together at Baez’s 75th birthday concert at the Beacon Theatre, they discussed the possibility of going on tour together. One year later, the Four Voices Tour was confirmed.
Joan Baez is no stranger to Tanglewood audiences, having performed there in 1979 as well as with the Indigo Girls in 1990 and 2013. Before that, the folk legend performed at a famous concert at the then-Boy’s Club in Pittsfield, Mass., in the early 1960s, when she brought along a then-budding folksinger named Bob Dylan, to whom Baez was linked both musically and romantically.
Baez gained fame in the 1960s for performing politically charged folk songs – many of them written by Bob Dylan – and for her social and political activism, which continues up until this day. She also is known for her own compositions, including “Diamonds and Rust,” a thinly veiled autobiographical song about her relationship with Dylan.
Grade-school friends Amy Ray and Emily Saliers began performing together in high school and went pro as Indigo Girls in 1985. The Grammy Award-winning duo enjoyed great acclaim and popular success in the 1990s, with hit songs including “Closer to Fine” and “Hammer and a Nail.” They have always been politically and socially active, holding benefit concerts for the environment, gay rights, and Native American rights, among other causes.
Singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter has five Grammy Awards to her credit, including four consecutive awards for Best Female Country Vocal Performance. She has written and recorded at least a dozen country music hits, although her music and lyrics fit more comfortably into the soft-rock influenced new-folk vein, along with fellow artists including Shawn Colvin, Lucinda Williams, and Indigo Girls.
Hot Sardines bandleader Evan “Bibs” Palazzo and lead singer “Miz Elizabeth” Bougerol met in 2007 after they both answered a Craigslist ad about a jazz jam session above a Manhattan noodle shop. The unlikely pair — she was a London School of Economics-educated travel writer who grew up in France, Canada, and the Ivory Coast; he was a New York City born and raised actor who studied theater at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia — bonded over their love for Fats Waller. Influenced also by such greats as Dinah Washington, Louis Armstrong, and Billie Holiday, they began playing open mic nights and small gigs and by 2011, they headlined Midsummer Night Swing at New York’s Lincoln Center.
The Hot Sardines’ self-titled debut album, named by iTunes as one of the best jazz albums of 2014, spent more than a year on the Billboard Jazz Chart, debuting in the top 10 alongside Michael Bublé, and Tony Bennett, and Lady Gaga. The accolades began pouring in for the band: Downbeat called the Hot Sardines “one of the most delightfully energetic bands on New York’s ‘hot’ music scene,” while the London Times praised their “crisp musicianship” and “immaculate and witty showmanship,” declaring them “simply phenomenal.”
Tickets for the 2017 Tanglewood season, priced from $12 to $124, are available through Tanglewood’s website, through SymphonyCharge at 888-266-1200, and at the Tanglewood Box Office at Tanglewood’s Main Gate on West Street in Lenox, Mass.