YBCA’s annual music series, New Frequencies, gets a makeover this season and returns as New Frequencies Fest 2012, a two-day mini-festival of music from around the world, November 16–17. An adventurous underground music festival, New Frequencies Fest 2012 focuses on innovative women composers and non-Western musicians whose work blends a variety of influences, genres, traditions and styles. Expand your musical horizons with this year’s wide range of programming, including Women, Strings & Song, an evening of song from some of the finest contemporary American women songwriters and composers and Dafnis Prieto Proverb Trio, a lively celebration of Afro Cuban music and dance.
New Frequencies Fest 2012
Women, Strings & Song
Fri, Nov 16 • 8 pm • YBCA Forum
Post-show Q&A moderated by Laurie Antonioli
Advance tickets: $20 Regular • $15 teachers and seniors
$15 YBCA members and students
At the door:
$25 Regular • $20 teachers and seniors
Rush tickets: $10 at the door, 60 minutes before showtime
FREE for YBCA:You
Join us for an evening of song by contemporary women songwriters & composers who use the voice and strings as their principal instruments of expression. The line up includes Brooklyn-based cellist Marika Hughes; San Francisco’s acclaimed bassist and composer Lisa Mezzacappa who will be joined by New York vocalist, poet & improviser Fay Victor; and the remarkable Parkington Sisters from Cape Cod making their San Francisco debut.
Well known cellist and composer Marika Hughes recently debuted as a bandleader with the release the Simplest Thing, a collection of songs written by her and recorded with a stellar band and many special guests. Simultaneously, she released Afterlife Music Radio – 11 New Pieces for Solo Cello, compositions specifically written for her by Carla Kihlstedt, Nasheet Waits, Jenny Scheinman, and Evyvind Kang among others. Marika will perform songs from both of these releases.
Also on the bill, is one of San Francisco’s most popular and respected musicians, Lisa Mezzacappa. Mezzacappa has been a lynchpin of the Bay Area’s creative jazz scene for ten years, curating music series and leading several of her own groups that span rowdy garage jazz, ethereal chamber music and original music for film and sound installations. She currently performs in more than a dozen original jazz, pop, improv and chamber ensembles around the Bay Area and is also a frequent collaborator on cross-disciplinary projects in sound installation, digital poetry, film, sculpture and public music/art. For this occasion, Lisa will be joined by up and coming New York vocalist, poet & improviser Fay Victor who has been described as “a musician and composer who is rewriting the rules of vocal jazz” (Andrew Zender, PopMatters.com). Rooted in jazz song, bare-bones blues and experimental soundscapes, Victor has collaborated with legends of improv in both the U.S. and Europe.
Closing the evening are the remarkable Parkington Sisters. Combining their diverse tastes — which range from traditional American folk tunes to punk rock — filtered through classical training, these four sisters create a musical experience that is both magnetic in its delivery and genuine in its emotional impact.
I’ve invited artists who are capable of stylistic flexibility and virtuosity, who evoke their stories poetically by singing and playing a variety of string instruments. The concert will showcase experimental jazz improvisation, creative art song, classical vocal string music, Americana roots music, as well as pop songs. As concert-goers we rarely have an opportunity to hear both popular and experimental music under one roof. We still segregate and categorize music by style and genre. This is an attempt to program beyond categories and labels. This is about giving alternative voices center stage, and letting the songs speak for themselves.
Cellist Marika Hughes performs as a soloist and a bandleader. She leads her band so naturally it makes one wonder why cellos haven’t always fronted bands. Rooted in groove, this acoustic group (joined tonight by guitar and drums) instantly establishes itself as a strong new sound, flowing freely between dreamy lullaby, free improv, and killer songs. As you are charmed by her cello, her voice, and her band, you will be charmed by Marika herself: fiercely authentic, her audience an old friend invited along for the fabulous ride.
Marika knew she had to play the cello when after 9 years of playing the violin, she held a cello for the first time and played the C-string; the lowest string. She was 12 and in the NYC shop of Mosa Havivi, a former student of her grandfather, the great cellist Emanuel Feuermann. That low end seduced Marika, she switched to the cello and ended her violin studies.
Growing up in NYC, Marika was exposed to a varied creative life. Her parents owned a jazz club on the Upper West Side, she was a regular on Sesame Street, was a member of New York Youth Symphony, spent summers at the chamber music camp, Greenwood, was a student at festivals in Europe and busked in NYC with her high-school string quartet. After completing her studies at Barnard College in political science and cello performance at the Juilliard School, Marika moved to San Francisco, CA.
Marika spent her early twenties serving coffee and exploring the northern coast of California, all the while playing in local symphonies. Eventually she was able to leave the service of coffee and fine dining behind and began to teach private lessons at private and public schools in the Bay Area. She also enjoyed three years as the cellist for the grammy nominated, Quartet San Francisco.
Realizing that the symphony life was not for her, Marika sought out new musicians, some from the classical tradition, some not, to expand her repertoire and ears. Marika joined Carla Kihlstedt and Shahzad Ismaily in 2 Foot Yard. The band released two CDs; 2 Foot Yard (Tzadik, 2005) and Borrowed Arms (Yard Work, 2008). She founded the band Red Pocket with Jewlia Eisenberg and they released their CD, Thick, on Tzadik’s Oracle Series. She also joined Jewlia’s a cappella trio, Charming Hostess. She is a featured singer on that band’s release, Sarajevo Blues (Tzadik 2005). She toured regularly throughout the United States and Europe with 2 Foot Yard and Charming Hostess. And she toured extensively with singer/songwriter Vienna Teng. Marika recorded for many artists in the Bay Area including Honeycut, Etienne de Rocher, Mr. Bungle, Xiu Xiu and Santana. She also recorded commercials and film scores.
In 2006, Marika decided it was time to come home. Since moving back to NYC, she has enjoyed playing with many local musicians she has long admired. In addition to joining NYC based bands the Neel Murgai Ensemble, Imani Uzuri and Charlie Burnham’s Hidden City she has performed with Whitney Houston, Mary J. Blige and Sean Lennon and has recorded for many artists in NY including Lou Reed, Ani DiFranco, Iron and Wine, Dar Williams, Eric McPherson and Jolie Holland.
Marika has two solo CDs released in early 2011. Highlighting her stylistic versatility and virtuosity, Afterlife Music Radio — 11 New Pieces for Solo Cello (DD Records), features new works written for her by her friends/colleagues including Nasheet Waits, Trevor Dunn and Carla Kihlstedt. The Simplest Thing (DD Records) celebrates Marika’s debut leading her own band and singing her own songs. Produced by Kyle Sanna, the CD features special guests Charlie Burnham, Jenny Scheinman and Vienna Teng.
In 2008 Marika visited the Nkomazi region of South Africa for the first time. Over the next two years she visited a few more times. She has been working with a group of young artists/activists in South Africa. Through the non-profit organization TRIAD Trust (www.triadtrust.org), each member of the 7 member troupe is employed to create and present programs using music and drama to teach life saving HIV/AIDS prevention/education to orphans and vulnerable children in the Nkomazi — a region with a documented 41.3% HIV Positive Rate. On January 1, 2012 Marika successfully completed a fund-raising campaign to complete the album by the ImprovEd singers and songwriters. The recording project began in South Africa in 2010. The Triad album will be released in late 2012.
Marika lives in the countryside of Brooklyn, NY. www.marikahughes.com
Lisa Mezzacappa is a San Francisco-based bassist, composer, and musical instigator. An active collaborator and curator in the Bay Area music community, she leads several of her own groups that span original jazz, to electro-acoustic chamber improv, to Caribbean folk music, and she performs as a sideperson in nearly a dozen others. She collaborates frequently on cross-disciplinary projects in sound installation, film, sculpture and public music/art. As curator, she programs the annual JazzPOP concert series at the UCLA Hammer Museum in Los Angeles; the monthly Monday Makeout creative music series in the Mission District of San Francisco; and a music and film series, Mission Eye and Ear, at Artists' Television Access. Her trio Bait & Switch earned "Best Debut of 2010" in the annual Village Voice Jazz Critic's Poll; that group's second release is due this year.
Lisa has been artist-in-residence at Djerassi Resident Artists Program (2008), Headlands Center for the Arts (2006), the Banff International Jazz Workshop (2000), and the Painted Bride Arts Center (2000). She holds an MA in ethnomusicology from UC Berkeley (2003), and a BA in music from the University of Virginia (1997). She has performed at countless Bay Area venues including Intersection for the Arts, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, SFMOMA, Yoshi’s, the Jazzschool, and the de Young Museum, San Francisco; as well as the Earshot Jazz Festival, Seattle; the Montreal Jazz Festival, Canada; and the Monterey Jazz Festival, CA. She performs regularly in New York, where she leads several cross-continental ensembles. Lisa has released recordings on the Clean Feed, Leo, NoBusiness, Odd-Shaped Case, Edgetone and Evander record labels, and has appeared on recordings on Kadima, Tzadik, Porto Franco and others.
Lisa has been awarded grants by the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, American Composers Forum, the City of Oakland, Meet the Composer and Southern Exposure/the Andy Warhol Foundation. She currently performs in more than a dozen original jazz, pop, improv and chamber ensembles, working with bandleaders Phillip Greenlief, Aaron Novik, Beth Custer, Randy McKean, Aaron Bennett, Graham Connah, Cory Wright and Ross Hammond, and collaborating with Darren Johnston, Katy Stephan, Aram Shelton, Kjell Nordeson, Murray Campbell, Jason Levis, Dina Maccabee, Noah Phillips, Rob Ewing, Aaron Novik, Kasey Knudsen, Vijay Anderson, Michael Coleman, Sam Ospovat, John Hanes, and many many others.
In command, infectious, energetic and strong: Fay Victor hypnotizes audiences, whether she sings a blues, sculpts a free piece, reinvents a Herbie Nichols tune through her own lyrics, or effortlessly scats over the harmonies of a jazz standard. Her musicality is deft and the words (usually hers) speak of universal themes in story-driven ways, running the full gamut of human emotion in an original mix of traditional song forms and free improvisation — she prefers to call it “FreeSong” — that has become her trademark approach to improvised vocal music. Victor’s recent projects include a stripped-down guitar-and vocals blues duo; a collaboration grounded in calypso music with the seminal avant-jazz group Other Dimensions in Music, and a quartet that fluidly incorporates tuneful storytelling with improvised interludes.
At the beginning of the nineties, Ms. Victor began building a name as a jazz vocalist around NY performing primarily jazz standards and blues. After navigating the city clubs for a few years and having formed her first working trio, Victor needed a fresh start and more work and followed the call to Europe. Victor made Amsterdam, the Netherlands her home, living in that city for nearly 8 years. The experience was a fruitful one. Victor used this time to study and hone her distinctive sound, her ear and widen her musical horizons that made the transition from a singer of standards to the unique vocal artist she has become today, a vocalist coming from the jazz tradition as a basis for improvising in the sense of Ornette Coleman/late Coltrane and beyond,contrasted by an earthy soulfulness expressed through originals that offer taut construction and witty lyrics. Victor returned home to New York City in 2003 and since then has been one of the most active vocalist on the scene.
Victor has appeared at venues/festivals including BAMCafe, the Stone, Roulette, Bimhuis, Galapagos, Barbes, CBGB, the Vision Festival, MusikTrienniale, FireHouse 12, Cornelia Street Café, Issue Project Room, Tonic, 55 Bar, and the HOWL Festival. Victor’s international appearances are extensive, having performed in the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Germany, France, Sweden, Austria, Andorra, Mexico, India, Poland, Russia & Japan. She has collaborated with musicians such Misha Mengelberg, Lawrence “Butch” Morris, Gary Lucas, Anthony Braxton, William Parker, Han Bennink, Steve Coleman, Roswell Rudd, Vijay Iyer, Duck Baker, Connie Crothers, Tyshawn Sorey, Matana Roberts, Wolter Wierbos, the ICP Orkestra, Other Dimensions in Music, and the Ellington Orchestra.
From Wellfleet, Massachusetts, a town of crashing waves, gnarled pine trees, and the only town clock in the world that still rings ship’s time, step the Parkington Sisters. Like their hometown surrounds, they have “a collective magic — part chemistry, part alchemy, and entirely mysterious.” The four sisters emerge from a lineage of musicians, each a songwriter and dynamic multi-instrumentalist; Rose plays piano, guitar and accordion; Ariel and Sarah play violin and viola; and Nora plays violin and percussion. They have a magnetic stage presence and can feel at home in front of a rock crowd at the House of Blues, but just as easily adapt to the sophistication of Symphony Hall. With incomparable vocal harmonies and intricate string arrangements, their music is at once timeless and fresh.
2012 has brought many opportunities for the Parkingtons. In October, they will be joining Dispatch on their “Circles Around the Sun” reunion East Coast tour. They have toured extensively across the US, Canada, and Europe with the Dropkick Murphys, opened for Mavis Staples at Symphony Hall in Boston, performed at the 2011 Bonnaroo festival and even shared the stage with Bruce Springsteen. They have performed on records for State Radio, Dropkick Murphys, Dub Trio, Sonya Kitchell, The Spring Standards, Mieka Pauley and The Horrible Crowes (The Gaslight Anthem’s Brian Fallon).
The sisters are currently recording their follow-up album, which will be released in early 2013. Their 2011 debut album, Till Voices Wake Us, was produced by Joel Hamilton (Tom Waits, Elvis Costello) and recorded at Avatar Studios, and Studio G in New York City. The collection of songs explores the darkness but also the hope of each new day, the light in September, the geese flying north, the deer dead on the highway, the struggle to move beyond. The album was selected by Acoustic Guitar Magazine as one of the top essential albums of 2011.
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YBCA's programs are made possible in part by:
National Endowment for the Arts
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is grateful to the City of San Francisco for its ongoing support.
YBCA Performance 12-13 is made possible in part by:
Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Additional Funding for YBCA Performance 12-13:
Zellerbach Family Foundation
Panta Rhea Foundation
New England Foundation for the Arts
and Members of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts