Flagellant songs and the “dancing plague” don’t exactly sound like a good time, but Bay Area early music group Cançonièr promises otherwise.
“Choreomania: Music for the Dancing Plagues of Medieval and Renaissance Europe” opens Thursday in Palo Alto, and added shows are in Berkeley on Saturday and The City on Sunday.
“Many people think the medieval period was depressing and full of religious guilt,” says Tim Rayborn, a Cançonièr co-founder. “But there was also a lot of joy. There’s a tremendous amount of fun in this music.” Read More
Alan Doyle is a busy man. The Newfoundlander plays Wolf Redmond on the Canadian TV series “Republic of Doyle” and another part as Dingy — with Will Smith, Colin Farrell and an old chum and co-star from “Robin Hood,” Russell Crowe — in the upcoming big-screen adaptation of Mark Helprin’s book “Winter’s Tale.” Then there is his first solo album outside his group Great Big Sea: “Boy on Bridge,” named for his childhood acting credit in “A Whale For the Killing.” Finally, there is “XX,” a two-disc, 40-track greatest-hits collection spanning Great Big Sea’s 20-year history.
A highlight among San Francisco Symphony’s 2013-14 exciting season offerings, announced today, is a semi-staged production of Benjamin Britten’s majestic opera “Peter Grimes.” Conducted by Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas, the cast features four internationally acclaimed Merola-Adler program veterans, including tenor Stuart Skelton in the title role. Read More
In her native Zurich, Switzerland, aspiring vocalist Valeska Steiner had heard that Hamburg’s prestigious Hochschule was the university she needed to attend, especially for its introductory six-week songwriting workshop, a great testing ground for young musicians. “It was just a good place to meet other performers,” says the musician, who plays in San Francisco this week. “You have the Hochschule rooms where you can try out different combinations of people.” Read More
San Francisco Ballet’s Program Four is perfect for those who think they don’t like ballet.
Works by George Balanchine, Christopher Wheeldon and Alexei Ratmansky make a lively mixed bill; Wheeldon’s “Within the Golden Hour” fired up the house enough to get an unusual standing ovation mid-program on Friday’s opening at the War Memorial Opera House. Read More
A year ago, Jon Davison, singer for Los Angeles prog-rock outfit Glass Hammer, was stunned when longtime chum and Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins called him with exciting news: Yes bassist Chris Squire told him that his band had chosen a replacement for departing vocalist Benoit David, and Davison was it.
“Taylor basically told me I was going to get the call from them. So I was just waiting and waiting,” says Davison, who watched 120 minutes tick past until Yes’ manager finally phoned. Read More
Valerie Bolden has never heard the song that was written for her — she is serving a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for fatally stabbing her husband in 1996.
“She hasn’t been able to hear it because with recorded music, you can’t send CDs in,” says Thao Nguyen of Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, who adds, “I got her the lyrics and read them aloud to her. She said she hoped it meant more people would write about her.” Read More
Chuck Prophet’s latest album, “Temple Beautiful,” is a keenly observed homage to his adopted hometown of San Francisco, from its early punk-rock heyday back to “Emperor Norton in the Last Year of His Life.” As the deadpan guitarist says, there’s more to The City “than fancy-pants coffee shops run by hipster dufuses.” That explains why he is in the lineup for Tom Fest, a benefit and tribute for producer-engineer Tom Mallon, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor and is undergoing treatment. Read More
Mismatches make for great memories: Sting singing karaoke with fans in a little bar, the Rolling Stones playing a pub or turntablist superstar DJ Z-Trip at the tiny New Parish in Oakland on Friday.
“It doesn’t always have to be the Coliseum,” says Z-Trip, who closed the Grammys with LL Cool J in February and released a mixtape with rapper Talib Kweli in 2012. Read More
What is Jewish music? Judging from the lineup for the 38th annual Jewish Music Festival, it’s a culture without borders or one definitive style.
The 10-day festival, opening Saturday in Berkeley, presents jazz, folk, classical and contemporary works from around the world.
While Poland is the focus of the 2013 festival, True Life Trio, performing Sunday, is one among many acts with a lineup that represents a thousand years of Jewish life and a legacy that is truly global. Read More