Friday, July 19, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

BITS & BYTES: Nordic Fiddlers Bloc workshop and concert; Berkshire Opera Festival concert; Vermont Democracy lecture; “Mirrored Interiors” exhibition; Pakistani tomb of Lal Shabaz Marwandi talk

Berkshire Opera Festival (BOF) announces its spring concert, entitled, "To Paris with Love: Opera in the City of Light," on April 16 at 2 p.m.

Dewey Hall TapRoot Sessions continues with Nordic fiddlers

Sheffield— At Dewey Hall on Monday, April 17, attend the TapRoot Sessions Nordic Fiddlers Bloc workshop and concert. The workshop will be from 6 to 7:15 p.m. with the concert from 8 to 9:15 p.m.

The workshop will focus on the three distinct fiddle styles of Norway, Sweden and Shetland. Attendees will learn a tune from each region by ear and will get an insight to bowing and ornamentation which is an important part of any fiddle style. This workshop is best suited to intermediate and above.

The Nordic Fiddlers Bloc is a fiddle trio that masterfully blends the traditions of Norway, Sweden and the Shetland Islands. Olav Luksengård Mjelva (Norway), Anders Hall (Sweden) and Kevin Henderson (Shetland Islands), have swiftly gained a reputation for their gripping and unique blend of fiddle music since the inception of the Bloc in early 2009. They maintain a firm focus on the traditions of their home while developing a sound that has been described as “meaningful”, ”intense” and “invigorating”. Their clever use of harmony, rhythm, riffs & bass lines creates a sound that leaves the listener enthralled but at the same time dumbfounded that the sound only comes from three fiddles. Their third and most recent album “Bonfrost” has gathered numerous reviews and is said to by Folk Radio UK to “leap out of the speakers and demand attention, keeping the energetic and creative levels up throughout its twelve tracks. It will be a constant visitor to your ears and heart once you surrender to its many charms.”

Tickets $25 for workshop, $25 for concert, or $40 for both.

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“To Paris with Love: Opera in the City of Light.” Image courtesy of the Berkshire Opera Festival.

BOF presents “To Paris with Love” to celebrate spring

Great Barrington— Berkshire Opera Festival (BOF) announces its spring concert, entitled, “To Paris with Love: Opera in the City of Light,” on April 16 at 2 p.m. at Saint James Place. Paris has inspired more artists to loftier heights of creativity than perhaps any other city. From Puccini to Massenet to Strauss, several of the world’s greatest composers set their most memorable operas in the City of Light. Join BOF Artistic Director and Co-Founder Brian Garman on a tour through this wonderful repertoire with some of opera’s up-and-coming stars.

The afternoon concert will feature soprano Amanda Batista, who Opera News has said “is destined for big theaters”; tenor Ryan Capozzo, who Opera News says is “generating genuine drama” on the stage; baritone Yazid Gray, who Seen and Heard International described as “a vocal chameleon”; and pianist Francesco Barfoed, a rising Danish star who frequently collaborates with singers.

Tickets from $20-$100, on sale through the BOF website. Approximate running time: 2 hours, including one intermission.

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“A Loose Confederation of Villages: A Historic View of Vermont Democracy” lecture. Image via the Bennington Museum and Bennington Historical Society.

Take a look into the history of Vermont democracy

Bennington, Vt. — Bennington Historical Society is giving a talk “A Loose Confederation of Villages: A Historical View of Vermont Democracy” on April 16 from 2 to 3 p.m.

This talk will explore the formation and implementation of Vermont’s democracy from independent republic to the 21st century. What was the “mountain rule?” What was the role of the “overseer of the poor?” When did paper ballots start to supplant the voice vote? How did Vermont navigate as a single-party state for 100 years? From comical to serious, Vermont’s political history informs our work today.

A lifelong Vermonter, Steve Perkins’ professional career has led him on a path of preserving and celebrating Vermont’s unique history and iconic landscape. Steve lives in his family’s 1805 farmhouse in northern Vermont and is inspired by the landscape and history surrounding him each day. Steve left Vermont with the intention of not returning, to pursue a career in Historic Preservation. After undergraduate studies in historic preservation, art history, and theater, Steve finished his studies with a degree in Early American Material Culture from the Winterthur Program of University of Delaware. After brief stints at Hampton National Historic Site and Winterthur Museum, Steve returned to Vermont with his wife Galen and took up residency in Bennington. Steve served as the curator and then director of the Bennington Museum. With an ill father to tend to and a need for change, Steve moved home to Williston, purchased the family farm and joined the staff of ECHO. Since 2015, Steve has been the executive director of the Vermont Historical Society. Besides his job, two active teenagers, ongoing repairs to a very old house, and maintaining a farm keep him very busy.

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“Mirrored Intentions,” films by Cecilia Aldarondo. Image via Cecilia Aldarondo and the Williams College Museum of Art.

Cecilia Aldarondo films to be shown at the Williams College Museum of Art

Williamstown— The Williams College Museum of Art presents “Mirrored Interiors,” an exhibition featuring four films by the award-winning filmmaker Cecilia Aldarondo.

“Landfall” (2020) and the film short “Picket Line” (2017) will be shown together on Tuesday, April 18; “Memories of a Penitent Heart” (2016) will screen on Friday, April 14, and Friday, April 21. These screenings will be held at WCMA starting at 4 p.m.

“Memories of a Penitent Heart” (72 minutes) summary: Combining a wealth of recently discovered home movies, videos, and written documents with artfully shot contemporary interviews and vérité footage, “Memories of a Penitent Heart” is a documentary that cracks open Pandora’s box of unresolved family drama. A story about the mistakes of the past and the second chances of the present, Memories of a Penitent Heart is a cautionary tale about the unresolved conflicts wrought by AIDS and a nuanced exploration of how faith is used and abused in times of crisis.

“Landfall” (91 minutes) summary: Through shard-like glimpses of everyday life in post-Hurricane María Puerto Rico, Landfall is a cautionary tale for our times. Featuring intimate encounters with Puerto Ricans as well as the newcomers flooding the island, Landfall reflects on a question of contemporary global relevance: when the world falls apart, who do we become?

“Picket Line” (9 minutes) summary: One week before Donald Trump was elected, 700 workers—many of whom were Trump supporters—walked out of the Momentive chemical plant in Waterford, N.Y., sparking a 105-day strike. In the wake of his win, the striking workers reflect on the election and Trump’s advocacy for union-busting legislation.

Admission is free. For more information, contact the museum at 413-597-2429 or visit WCMA is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Participants gathered at the tomb of Lal Shabaz Marwandi in Sehwan, Pakistan. Photo by author, Shundana Yusaf. Image via the Clark Arts Center.

“Sound, Space, and Gender in South Asian Sufi Shrines” talk by Shundana Ysaf

WilliamstownOn Tuesday, April 18, the Clark Art Institute’s Research and Academic Program hosts a talk by Research and Academic Program Fellow Shundana Yusaf, who explores the dynamic exchange between listeners, sound, and space in the tomb of Lal Shabaz Marwandi. The free lecture takes place at 5:30 p.m. in the Clark’s auditorium, located in the Manton Research Center.

Located in Sehwan, Pakistan, the tomb of Lal Shahbaz Marwandi is the most cacophonous shrine in South Asia. Every night thousands of predominantly poor and orally educated supplicants gather in the courtyard outside the resonant dome to dance to deafening drums. Today, twice as many women participate as men. Yusaf’s presentation describes the role of the dance and drumming in the restructuring of the shrine as a feminist crossroad. The exchange between the bodies, air, and walls traps the listener into a relationship between sound and space, similar to the diachronic nature of all gift economies. The interdependency between the agency of sound, space, and women is not lost on anyone and therefore zealously renewed, night after night, for almost 750 years.

Shundana Yusafشندانه یوسف is associate professor of architectural history and theory at the school of architecture at the Uni­versity of Utah in Salt Lake City. Her scholarship juxtaposes colonial and postcolonial history with sound studies in architecture, framing each as a force of globalization. She is the author of “Broadcasting Buildings: Architecture on the Wireless, 1927–1945” (MIT Press, 2014), and the coordinator and primary author of “SAH Archipedia Utah” (University of Virginia Press, 2019). Together with Ole Fischer, she is the founding editor of “Dialectic: A Journal of the School of Architecture at the University of Utah.” At the Clark, she will complete the manuscript of her third book, “The Resonant Tomb: A Feminist History of Sufi Shrines in Pakistan.”


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