Music: Tate & Silas, Anchor play indie rock Thurs., Aug. 8

The duo of Tate & Silas and the indie rock band Anchor play Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, Aug. 8. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Tate & Silas are a two piece band from New Haven, CT. Tate Brooks plays guitar, Silas Lourenco-Lang plays bass and kick drum. Writing songs in a shed and playing rambunctious shows around town, these rockers are more than meets the eye.

Anchor is an Alternative Rock band based out of Branford Connecticut. They write and perform all original songs. The band members include Taite Hodson (Bass & Vocals), Owen Calderwood (Percussion), Mateo Noble (Guitar), Sawyer Bouley (Guitar & Vocals), and Yann Calderwood (Keyboard & Alto Saxophone).

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Music: On the Trail, new bluegrass quartet, plays Wed., Aug. 7

On the Trail plays Best Video Performance Space on Wednesday, Aug. 7. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is $5.

Featuring four musicians from four very different backgrounds, On The Trail is a modern acoustic quartet that explores everything from bluegrass to contemporary pop, from stunning instrumentals to beautiful traditional songs. The band bonded from their love of bluegrass and the band Punch Brothers, and has already gained recognition and praise for their exploration and strong execution of the challenging music, as well as for their new original music. On The Trail also features Austin Scelzo-fiddle and vocals, Tom Polizzi-mandolin and vocals, and Charlie Widmer-guitar and vocals.

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Music: Kath Bloom, Powers/Rolin Duo, Austin Larkin play Sun., Aug. 4, at 7 PM

Renowned folk/singer-songwriter Kath Bloom returns to Best Video Performance Space on Sunday, Aug. 4. Joining Bloom on the bill is the Ohio-based Powers/Rolin Duo and violinist Austin Larkin. This early show starts at 7 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $7-10 (pay what you can in that range).

For fans of the song and how to feel it. Kath Bloom (USA) is some kind of legend. She comes from a special place where country, blues and folk are made beautifully translucent and emotive. She has a special gift – her voice is delicate and tender, yet retains that raw emotion and hard worn truths that allows each sung word to be felt.

The more you hear of Kath Bloom, the more you notice it’s not just the arresting voice, but the power of the songwriting. “Beautiful” is the typical response—the kind of beauty that comes from truth, musical and the deeply lyrical. There are no good comparisons, but if you like the deep well of Emmylou Harris, the more poignant lyrics of Lou Reed, the joy of Maher Shalal Hash Baz or even Joni Mitchell, you’re kinda in the right zone. In reality, she’s simply Kath Bloom: horse whisperer, vocalist, mum, songwriter and a beautiful person.

Her albums recorded with Loren Mazzacane Connors in the 70′s/80′s are rare things, full of songs that float and melt into the ether. Impossibly beautiful and hard to find on LP, but check the reissues from a few years ago. In the 90′s Kath’s music was famously featured in Richard Linklater’s film Before Sunrise. Since then she has been busy writing and recording to great acclaim. Two new albums in the last few years and she and her songs where also honoured on a tribute album featuring Bill Callahan, Scout Niblett and Mark Kozelek.

Powers/Rolin Duo are an improvisational folk drone group based in Columbus, OH. Jen Powers is a former member of Autophonia, whose Scioto Records cassette release “Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum” was featured by Marc Masters in his Best Experimental Music on Bandcamp article in April of 2019. Matthew J. Rolin has made a name for himself in the guitar soli community over the past three years; his third solo album is set for vinyl and digital release by Feeding Tube Records by the end of 2019. In this project, Jen plays a lightly effected hammered dulcimer and Matthew plays an acoustic 12-string guitar. Together, they create hypnotic tapestries of sound that are both meditative and emotionally dynamic. They have shared bills with Luke Stewart, Amps for Christ, Itasca, Elkhorn, Charalambides, David Nance Group, Mountain Movers, Anthony Pasquarosa, and many more, and have collaborated with Wolf Eyes, Aaron Dilloway, and others.

Austin Larkin is an artist focusing on sound. His work includes performance and composition for violin, ensembles of instruments, electronic media, environments, instances. He recently relocated to New Haven from the Seattle, WA area.

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Children’s Music: Val McKee plays Sat. morning, Aug. 3, at 10:30 AM

Val McKee plays music for kids at Best Video Film & Cultural Center on Saturday morning, Aug. 3, at 10:30 AM.

Suggested donation is $5-10 per family but nobody will be turned away for lack of funds.

Val McKee is a writer, musician, and teacher of both. While Val fronts the band “Junebug Saddle” and has been lucky enough to share a stage or two with some of the area’s finest musicians, she is far more popular with the toddler and preschool audience.

To see just how many little friends Val has made in her ten years of teaching Music Together, join her for a trip to Stop & Shop and wait for the inevitable toddler squeal down an aisle “It’s MISS VAL!” According to Val, being a children’s musician in New Haven is the greatest version of rock star status–like an adorable, fun-sized Beatlemania.

A Tennessee native and mom of three boys, Val’s performances are full of folk and children’s music classics, with plenty of play, education, and humor–heavy on the silly.

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Music: The Mandingo Ambassadors play authentic West African music Fri., Aug. 2

Mamady Kouyate of The Mandingo Ambassadors.

The amazing Mandingo Ambassadors return to Best Video Film & Cultural Center on Friday, Aug. 2, for another sensational show of authentic West African music, led by guitarist Mamady Kouyate. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is $10.

For those who have seen The Mandingo Ambassadors at Best Video in one of their two previous appearances here, know that they will be taking a somewhat different approach for this gig.

For this show, they are adding an element of West African Classical music to their usual West African Jazz repertoire. This will be a mostly acoustic gig featuring two new—to their performances at Best Video—traditional instruments, the kora and balafon.

The personnel will also be different, and as follows: Mamady “Djelike” Kouyate (guitar),  Arouna “Mamoudouba” Kouyate/ Aaron Latham Greenberg (Kora and Vocals), Dylan Olimpi McDonnell (Flute/Alto Sax), Andy Algire (Bala), Frank Brocklehurst (Bass), and Matt Dean (Percussion).

The show will include at least one (possibly two) performances of traditional Mande “Tariku” or oral histories, sung in the style of the court bards of the old Mali Empire (1230-1630 CE). Think “Game of Thrones”, but with about 100% less white people, and you’re halfway there. These will be performed in Maninka, but then translated into English for the few audience members whose Maninka may be a little rusty.

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Music: Groovin’ jazz from BadSlax Thurs., Aug. 1

The jazz quartet BadSlax plays Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, Aug. 1. The music starts at 8 PM and the cover is $10.

One of the area’s liveliest and groovin’est bands, BadSlax is four seasoned musicians who love to play. Their eclectic-but-accessible repertoire which features tunes from some of the great contemporary and classic jazz composers (John Scofield, Pat Metheny, Charles Mingus, Herbie Hancock)–along with some originals–is consistently funky, sometimes swinging, and always cooking.

In March, 2017 they debuted a new drummer, Keith LeBlanc! Keith is a versatile musician and producer with a long and varied career which goes back to his work with The Sugarhill Gang–yup, the “Rapper’s Delight” guys! Keith joined the lineup of Mark Kaplan, tenor sax; Dave Mazza, guitar; and Jim Ludoviconi, bass.

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Music: The Bluegrass Characters play quarterly show Tues., July 30, at 7:30 PM

The Bluegrass Characters will play Best Video Performance Space on Tuesday, July. 30. The show starts at 7:30 PM and the cover is a sliding scale of $5-10 (pay what you can in that range).

Formerly led by the great Stacy Phillips—who tragically passed away last year—The Bluegrass Characters are a local bluegrass supergroup who play the great straight-ahead, hard-driving bluegrass from the 50s and 60s.

The group features a rotating cast of acoustic roots music virtuosos. This month’s line-up features Phil Zimmerman (mandolin), Lukas Schwartz (fiddle), Pete Kelly (bass), Joe “Pepe” Lemeris (banjo) and Andy Bromage (guitar). Three chords and the truth, sung from the heart and through the nose.

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Music: GuitarTownCT presents The Little Roy & Lizzy Show Sat., July 27, at 7:30 PM

GuitarTownCT Concert Productions presents The Little Roy & Lizzy show live at Best Video Performance Space on Saturday, July 27. The show starts at 7:30 PM and tickets are $25 in advance through GuitarTownCT.com.

From Georgia, Little Roy & Lizzy are one of the most entertaining acts in bluegrass today. Front man Little Roy Lewis, 77, is a banjo master, comedian and story teller. Lizzy Long, virtuoso on fiddle, banjo and guitar, has a fantastic voice, and tries to keep Little Roy’s antics in check. Festival favorites, they play traditional bluegrass, country and gospel, with comedy thrown in everywhere.

While starting out on the piano, Elizabeth Long—or Lizzy as her friends and fans know her—soon took up the fiddle, guitar, autoharp, bass, banjo, and mandolin, and has become an accomplished musician, alternating between these instruments as part of her entertainment repertoire. Continuing her quest for success, Lizzy has paired up with Little Roy Lewis from the legendary Lewis Family. Lizzy finds that singing helps to express her thoughts and emotions—whether happy, sad, disappointed or angry. Her extraordinary voice shimmers with strains of America’s musical roots. Lizzy has been nominated for three Dove Awards and has won several fiddle and talent contests. Little Roy summed it up the best, “pull a plank off the wall and she’ll play it!”

Little Roy is awfully hard to overlook. He makes sure that no one in the audience gets bored at any time. Little Roy has won awards as Entertainer as well as for his banjo playing. Little Roy’s favorite banjo players are Don Reno and Earl Scruggs. USA Today called Little Roy “a banjo master, truly a picker’s picker.” Little Roy can also be found playing the guitar and autoharp. In fact, the song ‘Good Time Get-Together’ was written to highlight his instrumental skills. Little Roy is multi-talented – he sings, plays many instruments, tells stories, and acts.

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Music: Sambeleza serves up sensuous Brazilian music Fri., July 26

Sambeleza plays Best Video Performance Space on Friday, July 26. The show starts at 8 PM and the cover is $10. The group will feature Jeff Fuller (bass), Joe Carter (guitar), and Isabella Mendes (vocals, piano).

Sambeleza performs a wide variety of Brazilian songs, both old and new, with a jazz twist. Featured composers include Tom Jobim and Ary Barroso, as well as younger composers like Djavan, Debora Gurgel and Arlindo Cruz. A few originals by group members are added to the mix.

Their first CD, “Sambeleza Live,” was released in the spring of 2015. It was recorded live at Summer Solstice Samba in June, 2014 at Voices Cafe of the Unitarian Church in Westport in association with WPKN-FM. Along with Sambeleza members Isabella Mendes, Jeff Fuller and Joe Carter on that date were special guests Ali Ryerson (flute), Adriano Santos (drums) and Ze Mauricio (percussion).

Brasil (spelled with an “s” in Portuguese) is well known for its rich heritage—a blend of indigenous, African and European cultures—from which the music has risen with fascinating rhythms, soaring melodies and colorful harmonies. The musicians of Sambeleza are outstanding U. S. and Brazilian interpreters of the great songs of the bossa nova and samba traditions, as well as outstanding jazz artists in their own right. Sambeleza derives its name from two words: samba, the national dance of Brasil, and beleza, Portuguese for “beauty.”

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Music: Thabisa performs Afro-soul Thurs., July 25, at Best Video

Thabisa plays Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, July 25. The show starts at 8 PM. The cover is a sliding scale from $10-15 but $5 will also allow you to enjoy the show.

A night of reflection and openness to new beginnings as Thabisa carves and weaves her way through these grounds of unfamiliar territory. This singer songwriter from South Africa and now New Haven’s songbird will share her talents and journey through music and storytelling. Accompanied by the Hamden’s talented musicians Myke Ross (guitar) and Sam Oliver (percussion/drums) she will bring in songs unsung and a few of your favourites from both her “Eyodidi” and “The Journey” albums.

Thabisa’s story begins in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Born and raised by her grandparents in KwaZakhele township, she could always be found singing and dancing outside her home. Neighbors gave her the name “Little Brenda” for the legendary South African pop star Brenda Fassie.

In 2012 she entered the national singing competition, Idols South Africa, and finished in the Top 18. The following year, she signed on with the independent record label Tammy Music and produced two albums, Eyodidi (2015) and The Journey (2013).

Thabisa received a nomination for Best Video at the South African Traditional Music Awards (SATMA) for the song “Vula” off her first album, The Journey. Musically, she finds inspiration from the likes of Miriam Makeba and Billy Holiday, and has shared a stage with living legends Caiphus Simenya, Bebe and Cece Winans, Thandiswa Mazwai and Freshly Ground.

Thabisa currently lives with her family in the United States. “What makes my music worthwhile, is the opportunities it opens for me to work with children and inspire them to dream big” she explained. THABISA volunteers with children using music, cultural exchange, and story-telling.

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