The Passport Series brings the Music Haven to Proctors, “traveling the world one concert at a time.”
For nearly 30 years, the Music Haven Concert Series has presented an amazing array of global sounds in Schenectady’s Central Park, sporting summer seekers to locales like Yemen, Ukraine, Louisiana, Ireland and Peru without ever having to leave their seats.
The Passport Series takes the same beloved. world music festival that patrons of the park series have come to cherish and brings it inside so the party can go all year.
Listen, dance, groove!
October 10, 2018
Sona Jobarteh is the first female Kora virtuoso to come from a west African Griot family. Breaking away from tradition, she is a pioneer in an ancient male-dominated hereditary tradition that has been exclusively handed down from father to son for the past seven centuries. Reputed for her skill as an instrumentalist, distinctive voice, infectious melodies and her grace onstage, Sona has rapidly risen to international success following the release of her critically acclaimed album “Fasiya” (Heritage) in 2011.
The Kora (a 21-stringed African harp) is one of the most important instruments belonging to the Manding peoples of West Africa (Gambia, Senegal, Mali, Guinea and Guinea-Bissau). It belongs exclusively to griot families (hereditary musical families), and only those who are born into one of these families have the right to take up the instrument professionally. Sona, who was born into one of the five principal Griot families, has become the first female to take up this instrument professionally in a male tradition that dates back over seven centuries.
Sona’s family carries a heavy reputation for renowned Kora masters, notably her grandfather Amadu Bansang Jobarteh who was an icon in Gambia’s cultural and musical history, and her cousin Toumani Diabaté who is renowned for his mastery of the Kora.
In recent years Sona has quickly been rising to international success, headlining major festivals around the world in Brazil, India, South Korea, Ghana, Mexico, Tanzania, Cote D’Ivoire, Lithuania, Poland and Malaysia just to name a few. Sona and her music has the unique ability to touch audiences from all backgrounds and cultures.
Edmar Castaneda Trio
November 30, 2018
Since arriving in the United States in 1994, Colombian-born harp virtuoso Edmar Castaneda has forged his own distinctive path in music. He brings not only an unfamiliar instrument but a wholly original voice to jazz, branching out into a world of different styles and genres. His wide-ranging career has been remarkable for discovering a brilliant role for the harp in jazz, then continuing to innovate and spark creativity from a wealth of formidable collaborations. His latest CD, Live in Montreal, features the latest in an ever-growing history of thrilling partnerships, an utterly unique duo with the electrifying Japanese pianist Hiromi.
Born in 1978 in the city of Bogotá, Colombia, Castaneda took up the harp as a teenager to play the folkloric music of his homeland. He discovered jazz shortly after moving to New York City to join his father in 1994 and was immediately drawn to the freedom and sophistication of the music. With no real precedent for the harp in the jazz world, Castaneda studied trumpet by day while trying out his newfound knowledge on the harp at a restaurant gig by night.
He was ushered into the jazz community by Paquito D’Rivera, who recognized Castaneda’s passion and took the young harpist under his wing. D’Rivera has called him “an enormous talent… [Edmar] has the versatility and the enchanting charisma of a musician who has taken his harp out of the shadow to become one of the most original musicians from the Big Apple.”
Since then, Castaneda has taken New York and the world stage by storm with the sheer force of his virtuosic command of the harp, revolutionizing the way audiences and critics alike consider an instrument commonly relegated to the “unusual category”. He’s been acclaimed as a master at realizing beautiful complexities of time, while skillfully drawing out lush colors and dynamic spirit and crafting almost unbelievable feats of cross-rhythms, layered with chordal nuances rivaling the most celebrated flamenco guitarist’s efforts.
February 18, 2019
Led by Greek-born composer, orchestrator, singer and accordionist Magda Giannikou (Kronos Quartet, Louis CK), Banda Magda moves from samba to French chanson, from Greek folk tunes to Colombian cumbia and Afro-Peruvian lando. Drawing on the band’s global background (Greece, Argentina, Japan, Colombia, USA) the group combines South American rhythms with jazz improvisation, cinematic arranging, sophisticated audience participation, mid-century classics and world “chansons” sung in 6 languages. Founded in 2010 in New York, Banda Magda has toured in more than 22 countries and 5 continents. This group of close musical friends turn Giannikou’s songs into engaging romps that have won them a spot with Carnegie Hall Musical Explorers Series, Snarky Puppy’s Family Dinner Vol.1 as well as performances at discerning venues and festivals such as WOMAD, Atlanta Jazz Festival, Vancouver Jazz Festival, L’Olympia, Jazz à Vienne, Canarias Jazz, Apollo Hammersmith, The Kennedy Center, Kathmandu Jazz Festival and many more. After their debut album “Amour, t’es là?” and sophomore “Yerakina”, Banda Magda is releasing its 3rd opus, the vibrant, Technicolor “Tigre” on September 15, 2017 on groundUP / Verve Label Group.
April 11, 2019
Mokoomba is one of Africa’s most exciting young bands, dazzling audiences worldwide with their knockout live shows and potent blend of traditional Tonga, Luvale, & Nyanja sounds laced with international styles from soukous to soul.
Mokoomba is based in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. The band’s six members, Mathias Muzaza (lead vocals), Ndaba Coster Moyo (drums, backing vocals), Trustworth Samende (lead guitar, backing vocals), Donald Moyo, (keyboards, backing vocals), Miti Mugande, (percussion & backing vocals) and Abundance Mutori (bass, backing vocals) grew up as friends in the Chinotimba township.
Living in a border city that attracts tourists from all over the world gave Mokoomba’s music an international perspective from the beginning, incorporating everything from reggae to afropop to soul alongside their own local musical traditions.
The group’s members began playing together as teenagers in 2001, and Mokoomba was officially formed in 2008. Their first major success came that same year, when they won the Music Crossroads Inter-Regional Festival Competition in Malawi.
In 2009 Mokoomba recorded its first album, Kweseka — Drifting Ahead, which generated a local hit “Messe Messe”, and the group’s first European tour. Mokoomba recorded a second EP, Umvundla, in 2011. But their big break came in 2012, when the band released Rising Tide produced by pioneering Ivoirian bassist Manou Gallo (Zap Mama) for the Belgian label ZigZag World.
The success of Rising Tide led Mokoomba to tour over 40 countries worldwide, including performances at Denmark’s Roskilde festival, the UK’s WOMAD festival, Belgium’s Couleur Cafe´ festival, Morocco’s annual Gnawa World Music festival and New Orleans’ storied Jazz and Heritage Festival.
In February 2017 Mokoomba released its self-produced third album Luyando on Germany’s OutHere label, a stripped down, mostly acoustic album that took their sound in a whole new direction, and took critics by storm.
Since then, Mokoomba has become one of Zimbabwe’s most popular bands, playing with such icons as Hugh Masekela, Baba Maal and the Talking Head’s Tina Weymouth and Chris Franz. They’ve rocked legendary rooms and stages worldwide, from NYC’s Apollo Theater, and The Kennedy Center is Washington, D.C., to London’s 100 Club and Amsterdam’s Melkweg, to WOMEX and SXSW, sealing their reputation as one of Africa’s best young live bands.