Music Haven Concerts for 2023
For its 33rd season, Music Haven will again “travel the world one concert at a time,” taking listeners 50,000 miles and back while presenting music and performing arts from Ghana, Andalusia, Ireland, Texas, Gambia, Louisiana, South Asia, Georgia, Stratford-upon-Avon and beyond.
“This summer, our musical journeys will cross seven distinct bodies of water—The Atlantic and Indian Oceans; the Alboran, Black, Mediterranean, and Arabian Seas; and the Bay of Bengal”—says Eddie Award-winning Producing Artistic Director Mona Golub. “We’ll gather to hear spectacular global artists who have not played these parts before, welcome back some old friends who have dazzled the world since they last graced our stage and showcase, as special guests, some of the finest talent our region has to offer.”
“Jazz pianist Joey Alexander (who Music Haven introduced to the Capital Region in 2015) and Celtic/American fiddle legend Eileen Ivers return to Music Haven this summer alongside debut performances from Rocky Dawuni, La Banda Morisca, Sona Jobarteh, Aditya Prakash Ensemble and Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole, along with special events, including the second edition of NipperFest and our annual Blues BBQ with WEXT Radio.”
Come July, dancers can groove to the riddims of Ghanaian multi-Grammy®-nominated “Afro Roots” artist Rocky Dawuni, a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for the Environment for Africa. La Banda Morisca, an Andalusian sextet, follows, with haunting, exotic, Spanish folk, brimming with rich sonic accents from north Africa’s Maghreb Desert and the Middle East. Multi Grammy-nominated Joey Alexander will again enchant serious jazz devotees and casual listeners alike with his consummate mastery of the piano. And Gambian singer, educator, activist, and kora virtuoso Sona Jobarteh will mesmerize listeners with her distinctively modern riff on an ancient African groove, the night after Nipperfest, in its second year, celebrates all things Local 518.
July concludes with Music Haven’s annual Blues BBQ, a 3-course blues buffet of dynamic proportions, featuring Blues Music Award’s reigning Contemporary Female Blues Artist, Vanessa Collier, New Orleans multi-instrumentalist, Jumpin’ Johnny Sansone and Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’-mentored upstart Jontavious Willis, accompanied by smokin’ BBQ hot off the grill. And we will celebrate our 16th birthday!
August kicks in on a sweeping Broadway note, with a lush selection of standards courtesy of the lauded Schenectady-Saratoga Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Artistic Director Glen Cortese. Next up, Eileen Ivers—the original fiddler of Riverdance and a founding member of Cherish the Ladies — is sure to draw and galvanize the biggest Celtic crowd of the summer. Hamilton Legend Lin-Manuel Miranda is celebrated mid-month with a Latin Block Party featuring live music by Taina Asili and Latin food, followed by a screening of the Tony Award®-winning musical In the Heights. The eclectic sound of the Aditya Prakash Ensemble will fuse South Asian Karnatik vocals with jazz and funk. The global concert series finishes with a flourish as four-time Grammy winner Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole presides over a dance party laden with fiddle and accordion-driven Cajun, Creole and Zydeco tunes.
The Capital Region’s own traveling Shakespearean troupe, Troy’s Will Kempe’s Players, closes the 2023 season with back-to-back repertory performances of the Bard’s The Taming of the Shrew and Two Gentlemen of Verona. Period music by Andy Rutherford on lute and Yvonne Hansbrough on flute.
Opening acts for 2023—many nominated for 2023 Capital Region Thomas Edison Music Awards—generally come from within a closer geographic locale, but are no less talented, varied or musically adventurous for it. Ghanaian drum master Zorkie Nelson and Umoja Drummers thump out the beat on authentic handmade instruments; Maria Zemantauski displays a vivid knowledge of the history and fire of Flamenco guitar; Joe Barna and Sketches of Influence similarly assay jazz with one eye on the past and the other on the future; the scintillating world music of Heard is a mini-fest unto itself; The McKrells continue to forge a bold blend of Celtic and bluegrass that has been enjoyed around the world; the SUNY Schenectady Jazz Faculty Combo is comprised of the region’s most talented players and educators; and Old-Fashioned Aces roars in with deeply-rooted traditional Cajun sounds.
Proctors will be the official rain site for concerts on July 9 - July 23 and Aug. 20, with Niskayuna High School serving as rain site July 30–¬Aug. 13. Shows scheduled on Aug. 11, 25 & 26, will take place in the park rain or shine. Please refer to the top post on www.facebook.com/Music-Haven-Concert-Series to confirm location after 12 p.m. on show days.