With Mona Golub at the helm, the slogan for the Music Haven Concert Series is, “Traveling the world one concert at a time,” and the series kicked off its 25th anniversary season last month in Africa.
Not just any African band, either. Mokoomba hails from the isolated town of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, and their appearance in Schenectady’s Central Park was their first ever concert on American soil. And what a concert it was. led by vocalist Mathias Muzaza, Mokoomba was all-around terrific: great dancers, great singers and great players.
On Saturday, Manhattan’s Central Park hosted Canada Day International 2013, a festival of events held to showcase the best of Canadian music, culture, food and attractions. This year, Canadian artists performed at Central Park’s Summer Stage in Rumsey Playfield, a City Parks Foundation that offers over 100 free concerts throughout the summer.
Headlining the celebration was electro-rock singer/songwriter Lights. Originating in Toronto, Lights released her debut album, The Listening, in 2009, introducing the Canadian music scene to a new blend of alternative rock and synth pop. After receiving the 2009 Juno Award for New Artist of the Year, Lights’ popularity spread across Canada and into Europe. In 2011, she released Siberia, featuring a more mature sound than her debut. More recently, she released Siberia Acoustic, transforming 10 of the 14 tracks from Siberia into acoustic melodies with a transitional sound from the original songs.
Back on May 14, Lights performed at NYC’s Bowery Ballroom, playing all acoustic songs in a tranquil and composed setting. Since everyone was seated, there was not much energy from the crowd, but Lights picked up the energy on stage. Although the set-up was out of the ordinary, she managed to put on a powerful and engaging performance that left me satisfied with the experience. After seeing Lights back in May on her Siberia Acoustic tour, I wasn’t too sure what to expect from a live synth-pop performance.
For years now, that’s been the slogan of the free, summertime Music Haven Concert Series that takes place in the heart of Schenectady’s Central Park. And this year is no different.
The 2013 seven-concert series roams the globe with musical styles ranging from South African soul to rootsy Americana; from gut-busting gospel to hot salsa; and from piano blues to Malian guitar pyrotechnics.
“We’re thrilled to present another season of incredible music in Central Park,” says Music Haven founder and artistic director Mona Golub. “We can’t wait to see the joy on people’s faces when they experience these shows.”
The Music Haven Concert Series will take place at 7pm on Sundays from July 7-August 11. And as always, admission is FREE.
Nona Hendryx came on like gangbusters in Schenectady’s Central Park on Sunday evening. With a crackerjack four-piece band led by guitar hero Ronnie Drayton providing the musical rocket fuel, Hendryx simply funked up the place from the opening volley of “Rock This House” to the final 20-minute encore of “I Sweat (Going Through the Motions)” – which she transformed into a bonafide dance party by inviting members of the audience up onstage to strut their stuff.
The Music Haven Concert Series in Schenectady’s Central Park has officially been announced, and it includes seven weeks of Sunday evening musical entertainment that spans the globe from the Caribbean to the Balkans, from Louisiana to the Emerald Isle.
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