Celebrate Brooklyn! 2017: Pilobolus and Amadou & Mariam

by Jenni Walkowiak

Brooklyn Creative League is a proud sponsor of the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival. BRIC is “the leading presenter of free cultural programming in Brooklyn” (www.bricartsmedia.org) and aims to make art and media accessible, support artists and offers education throughout Brooklyn. Celebrate Brooklyn! Is an annual music and media festival with free concerts all summer long on the Prospect Park Bandshell stage. All the concerts are free (with a few exceptions for benefit shows), all they ask if that you donate $5 at the door upon entry.

Every year, Brooklyn Creative League gives free VIP passes to our members, and our 2017 ticket draft is nearly complete. I know that I personally, had a lot of fun looking up all of the artists I hadn’t heard of yet. Over the course of the summer, Brittany and I will be sharing highlights on some of our favorites artists performing down at the bandshell. Can’t wait to see you there!

Pilobolus- Photo Credit Robert Whitman - source: https://www.bricartsmedia.org/events-performances/bric-celebrate-brooklyn-festival/pilobolus

Pilobolus- Photo Credit Robert Whitman - source: https://www.bricartsmedia.org/events-performances/bric-celebrate-brooklyn-festival/pilobolus

Thursday, July 6th 8:00 PM

Pilobolus

I first heard of Pilobolus when I was a theatre major in college. My friends were mostly into physical/experimental theatre and dance, so some nights we would stay up watching dance videos online. Pilobolus was one of the groups we came back to again and again. Pilobolus is unique because, much like our theatre company in residence at UNM, they create collaborative works. This means that instead of having one designated choreographer, the entire company works together to build their choreography. The company has been around since the 70’s, creating innovative, collaborative art that breaks all the rules of modern dance.

Amadou and Mariam- photo credit Hassan Hajjaj source: https://www.bricartsmedia.org/events-performances/bric-celebrate-brooklyn-festival/amadou-mariam-innov-gnawa-ahmed-gallab-dj-set

Amadou and Mariam- photo credit Hassan Hajjaj source: https://www.bricartsmedia.org/events-performances/bric-celebrate-brooklyn-festival/amadou-mariam-innov-gnawa-ahmed-gallab-dj-set

Friday, July 21st 7:30 PM

Amadou and Mariam/ Innov Gnawa/ Ahmed Gallab DJ Set

Few musical duos are as cute, fun, and extraordinary than Amadou and Mariam. The real-life married couple from Mali, Amadou Bagayoko and Mariam Doumbia, blend rock, traditional Mali sounds and music from around the world to create tunes unlike anything you’ve heard before. I think it’s interesting to note that both of them are also blind. The couple met when they were young, at an institute for the blind and began performing together before they married in 1980. I’ve never seen them perform live, but a quick listen on Spotify had me grooving in my seat in seconds. I don’t think this is a concert you should miss!

 Innov Gnawa is pretty cool, too! The group was started in 2014 by Moroccan expat Samir LanGus. They’ve performed all over NYC; Lincoln Center, Music Hall of Williamsburg, and Brooklyn Bowl. Here’s an excerpt from their site, “For the uninitiated, gnawa music is the ritual trance music of Morocco’s black communities, originally descended from slaves and soldiers once brought to Morocco from Northern Mali and Mauritania. Often called “The Moroccan Blues”, gnawa music has a raw, hypnotic power that’s fascinated outsiders as diverse as writer/composer Paul Bowles, jazz giant Randy Weston and rock god Jimi Hendrix. The music is utterly singular, played on an array of unique instruments — from the lute-like sintir that the Maâlem uses to call the tune, to the metal qarqaba (castinets) with which the kouyos (chorus) keep time and pound out clattering, hypnotic rhythms.  

 Ahmed Gallab, also known as musician Sinkane, will be performing a DJ set at this concert event. His music projects involve more genre-bending around prog rock, electronica, funk, and jazz. I can only imagine that his DJ set will reflect his own personal style and will definitely be something worth dancing to.

I’ll be back later this summer with more of my favorite artists from Celebrate Brooklyn.