Archive for December, 2008

A New Year’s Greeting for 2009

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

From the festival world of KadmusArts:

May we all create a festival life in 2009!

From all of us at KadmusArts,
Best wishes for the New Year!

Arts Presenters: Marco Werman

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

Marco WermanMarco Werman is Senior Producer and host of PRI’s The World. Marco has received several awards for his work, including an Emmy Award for his Frontline/World Rough Cut story Libya: Out of the Shadow.

In this podcast Marco talks about cultural diplomacy, the medium of radio, and the challenges and opportunities facing artists around the world in the 21st Century.

This interview is part of an ongoing series with the Association of Performing Arts Presenters.

 Arts Presenters: Marco Werman [11:36m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

A Hallelujah for Our Times

Monday, December 15th, 2008

Every turning point needs a song, an anthem to capture the spirit of the time and hope for what comes next.

KadmusArts believes the highest culture can be found in the lowest, as well as the lowest in the highest — in the end art is art, and culture sings for us all. Hence the recognition of what UK television’s X Factor has accomplished. Alexandra Burke wins the competition with her version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.

Now, Cohen’s Hallelujah is poised to be a number one hit single for the holiday season.

What a perfect anthem for our times. Hallelujah is gruff and tough, and echoes a desire for steadiness. Cohen combines a well-earned wisdom with a profound hope for what is coming.

Spend a few minutes with these versions, and you, too, will be singing Hallelujah!

Leonard in the seventies:

John Cale:
K.D. Lang:

Sheryl Crow:
Jeff Buckley:

Rufus Wainwright:
Allison Crowe:

Jon Bon Jovi:
Jon Bon Jovi
Kurt Nilsen, Espen Lind, Askil Holm, Alejandro Fuentes:
Nilsen Lind Holm Fuentes

Damien Rice:
Leonard this year:

Hallelujah for our times.

- Bill Reichblum
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Arts Presenters: Jerry Yoshitomi

Monday, December 15th, 2008

Jerry Yoshitomi is an independent cultural facilitator and chief knowledge officer at MeaningMatters. His work focuses on the public value of the arts, participation, cultural exchange and collaboration. He has worked with leading presenting and arts organizations, and has produced key research documents and studies.

In this interview Jerry reflects on some of his most meaningful performing arts experiences, how public arts institutions can best serve the field, and what arts organizations can learn from Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.

This interview is part of an ongoing series with the Association of Performing Arts Presenters.

 Arts Presenters: Jerry Yoshitomi [15:20m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Arts Presenters: Nicole Borrelli Hearn

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

Nicole Borrelli HearnNicole Borrelli Hearn is an artist manager at Opus 3 Artists. Previously, she was the chairwoman of the SITI Company, a theater group in New York.

In this interview she talks about how agents, artists and presenters interact, how to help presenters take risks on new work, and her favorite places to see great music and theater.

This interview is part of an ongoing series with the Association of Performing Arts Presenters.

 Arts Presenters: Nicole Borrelli Hearn [11:42m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Arts Presenters: Bill Bragin

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

Bill BraginBill Bragin is Director of Public Programming at Lincoln Center, heading up the summer outdoor festivals Midsummer Night Swing and Lincoln Center Out of Doors. Bill was also director of Joe’s Pub and The Public Theater.

In this podcast he talks about how he became hooked on world music, how he draws audiences to innovative performances, and the challenges and opportunities for American presenters.

This interview is part of an ongoing series with the Association of Performing Arts Presenters.

Photo Credit: Nicole Szalewski

 Arts Presenters: Bill Bragin [19:36m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Odetta Sings

Monday, December 8th, 2008

Photo by Judy Harter — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

To mark the passing of Odetta, one of our world’s most remarkable voices of passion, beauty and justice, we present a special remembrance.

Jonathan Secor is Director of Special Programs at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. He has also worked at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, while at the same time running his own production company. Jonathan, who co-created Songs of the Spirit, produced Odetta’s last live performance.

Children Go Where I send thee…
Ain’t no Grave Gonnna Hold my Body down…

This is the arc of Odetta for me.

On December 2nd, 2008 this world lost a powerful force. A woman whose voice and whose will changed lives and laws. A woman who could fill your heart with desire to do good, break your heart with the knowledge that there is bad and paint a picture so vivid that you could see, taste and feel exactly what she was singing about. Her physical presence in this world will be missed, but she leaves us a legacy of music to live by and a model for how one can.

At an early age I had the pleasure of getting to know Odetta’s music, and at a later age (for both of us) I had the pleasure and the privilege of getting to know Odetta. Both my parents were huge fans, taking my sister and I to see her whenever she was at Tanglewood. Odetta records were played constantly, in particular at Christmas time and my mother’s singing of black spirituals as lullabies always were sung in Odetta’s voice and style. It would not be Christmas day without hearing Odetta’s voice sending the “children two by two” as she told the children to go where she sent them.

Odetta was the prototype of the activist performer, the predecessor of the Bruce Springsteens and the Bonos whose mission is not just to entertain, but to use one’s talents to effect change, change in particular for the less fortunate. And of Odetta I would say, that like Pete Seeger, it was at the cost of ever becoming a true commercial success. But Odetta was a believer, a believer that we are inherently good people and that one, through one’s words and actions could effect change. I am so very happy that she lived long enough to see a black man win the support of the people to sit in that very white house.

That is not to say that she was not a showman. Odetta gave one helluva performance. She knew how to wrap you around her finger and take you wherever SHE wanted you to go. And in her last years of performing, when she was wheel chair bond and had to change her phrasing and singing style to accommodate emphysema from too many years of smoking — she still had that power. For Tina Turner the power may be in the legs, for Odetta it has always been in the voice.

Odetta needed to, and had earned the right to, hold center stage and have the last word. While at MASS MoCA we booked Odetta to be part of an evening of political music headlined by Steve Earle. Carl Hancock Rux was opener number one, giving a great though mildly incomprehensible performance. Odetta was opener number two. Odetta on a stool with a piano player. Within minutes of being on stage the audience was hers. I felt pity for Steve Earle, for though he gave a great set he never could reclaim that stage for his own.

I did not learn from that mistake, at least not yet. A few years later, when producing Songs of the Spirit at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, I once again booked Odetta, and once again did not have the sense to let her have the last word. A last minute addition of Meshell N’dgecello to the line up had convinced us to push Odetta forward so Meshell could close the evening. Again when Odetta came out, wheeled to the stage but still able to stand and walk to center stage, the thousands in the Cathedral leapt to their feet. And she had them on her feet for her entire set. The love was evident. Yes, I pitied Meshell for following.

The last time I had the privilege of working with Odetta I knew not to do anything but let her close the show. So even though we had some eighty-eight performers on tour with Songs of the Spirit, including the great Hugh Masekala, we made sure that we ended every performance with Odetta’s set. Every night on tour Hugh Masekala would finish his set, and introduce the great “Mama” Odetta. She would be wheeled out, looking old and frail, seemingly not capable of producing much of anything, let alone to follow the trumpet and power of the great musican and activist that is Hugh Masekala. But no. The audience, no matter what city we were in, always got to their feet with a standing ovation before she sang a note. And Odetta would come to live. Out of that wheelchair, out of the beaten body would come this voice that filled the void, the void in the room, the void in our hearts. And with Hugh backing her up in trumpet she would sing “Ain’t no grave, gonna hold this body down”. And you knew, as I know now - Ain’t no grave gonna hold Odetta down. Not then. Not now.

- Jonathan Secor

An Odetta sampler:

  • The Midnight Special — video
  • At the Newport Folk Festival — video
  • At the Sister Rosetta Tharpe Benefit — video
  • Odetta and Ruby Dee — video
  • Odetta on Activism — video
  • Keep on Movin’ It On — video
  • Glory Halleluja — video

Arts Presenters: Marie Trottier

Monday, December 8th, 2008

Marie Trottier is the disabilities coordinator for Harvard University, working with the schools, departments, and performance spaces to ensure disability compliance and foster a culture of inclusion throughout the institution. She is also a successful actor and member of the regional Screen Actors Guild, who has played in a broad range of roles in commercials, music videos, and movies. Marie is a featured speaker at the 2009 Arts Presenters conference session “Reach In/Reach Out: Embracing a Culture of Accessibility and Inclusion”.

In this podcast Marie talks about how creativity and flexibility go a long way to ensuring access, why human contact between patrons is essential to a culture of inclusion, and how errors and mistakes can be teachable moments.

This interview is part of an ongoing series with the Association of Performing Arts Presenters.

 Arts Presenters: Marie Trottier [14:06m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Arts Presenters: Mark Russell

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

Mark RussellMark Russell is the artistic director of the Under the Radar Festival, a two week extravaganza of exciting and experimental theater. Previously, he was also artistic director of P.S. 122 and Portland’s Time-Based Art Festival.

In this podcast Mark talks about the structure and design of UTR, the purity of voice coming from performances, and the need to continuously make the case for art in public life.

This interview is part of an ongoing series with the Association of Performing Arts Presenters.

 Arts Presenters: Mark Russell [10:56m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Prepare for Harmony

Monday, December 1st, 2008

Photo by Wally Gobetz — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

As we approach the end of a tumultuous year, we can’t help but look ahead towards 2009 with a curious mixture of hope, excitement, and given our world’s politics, religions and economies, some trepidation.

This year has inspired many of us to go back to the basics, to reevaluate our lifestyles and to redefine the things that matter — that truly make us happy and our world a better place.

To find peace is a challenge in this hyperactive world of non-stop action and twenty-four hour online communication. However, don’t we all seek a bit of a rest-stop in our fast-forward lives? A safe haven where calmness, and thankfulness, are allowed to thrive?

We want to make sure that the New Year will provide opportunities for peace, good-will, and even a touch of the sacred, the ancient traditions carried inside each of us.

KadmusArts is looking to profile festivals throughout the month of December that celebrate the music of the soul and our communal quest for harmony.

From massive concerts that encourage the practice of non-violence to groundbreaking theatre festivals where exiles and refugees share center stage, sacred arts festivals play an important role in cross-cultural connection and the preservation of cultural traditions.

Let us know your recommendations for festivals that explore the relationship between faith and interfaith, biculturalism, and the sounds of spirituality.

After all, where would we be without artists giving us their visions live in the desert or live via satellite?

Aren’t you ready for a little peace? A little soul? A little harmony?

- Bill Reichblum