Music: The Afro-Semitic Experience preview “Letters from the Affair” Thurs., Aug. 16, at 7 PM

The Afro-Semitic Experience presents a workshop performance of a new project, “Letters from the Affair,” at Best Video Performance Space on Thursday, Aug. 16. The cover is $7 and the show starts at 7 PM.

“Letters from the Affair” is a hybrid work. This multi-media jazz song cycle is based upon a series of letters written by the Impressionist painters Camille Pissarro and Edgar Degas.

The letters trace their artistic friendship and its eventual deterioration as a result of the anti-Semitism caused by the Dreyfus affair. Images from the era and paintings and prints by the artists will provide further context. This work presents an impression of the personal ramifications of a national political event and is an illustration of how bigotry can destroy a friendship.

A talk back with the band will directly follow the performance.

The project was conceived by the band’s co-founder bassist David Chevan. The song cycle was composed by Chevan along with fellow band members Warren Byrd, Will Bartlett, Alvin Carter, Jr., and Saskia Laroo.

The Afro-Semitic Experience is an American roots jazz band with a difference. It is a group of Jewish-American and African-American musicians who have been performing, recording, and teaching together for 20 years. Their friendship ignites their passion and purpose: Together, as a band, they merge their musical roots, Jewish and Afro-diasporic melodies and grooves, combining the core concepts of ase and shalom — power, action, unity, and peace.

The current line-up includes cofounders David Chevan on the bass and Warren Byrd on vocals and piano along with Will Bartlett on tenor saxophone, clarinet and flute Alvin Carter, Jr. on drum set, Saskia Laroo on trumpet, and Jocelyn Pleasant on percussion. They’ve recorded eight CDs.

Their music embodies the radical notion that people of different faiths, races, and beliefs can come together, and celebrate and build community. Their intentional merging of jazz with the spiritual and the sacred has allowed them to share music in concert as well as at worship services in houses of worship across the United States. In addition to playing in traditionally sacred spaces, they perform at national and regional music festivals, on college campuses and the occasional jazz club. In December 2017 they had the honor of playing at the opening plenary session of the Biennial conference of the Union of Reform Judaism in Boston.

UPCOMING EVENTS (Music events start at 8 PM unless otherwise noted; screenings start at 7 PM unless otherwise noted):

• Wednesday, Aug. 1. AVANT-GARDE: EVAN MILLER, FEDERICO BALDUCCI, CURMUDGEON CORNER, THE SAMUEL BECKETT POWER TRIO

• Thursday, Aug. 2. INDIE ROCK: WALLY

• Friday, Aug. 3. SOLO GUITAR: GLENN ROTH

• Sunday, Aug. 5, 2-5 PM. GUITARTOWNCT FREE AFTERNOON MONTHLY BLUEGRASS JAM

• Monday, Aug. 6, 7:30 PM. TRIVIA 237—A BEST VIDEO MONTHLY TRIVIA NIGHT

• Wednesday, Aug. 8, 7 PM. SECOND WEDNESDAY OPEN MIC

• Thursday, Aug. 9. FOLK: STAN SULLIVAN

• Friday, Aug. 10. BRAZILIAN MUSIC: THE BOSSA NOVA PROJECT featuring ISABELLA MENDES

• Saturday, Aug. 11, 6:30 PM. COUCH YETI BOOKING PRESENTS NO BETTER, SELLER, EVERY BRANCH

• Wednesday, Aug. 15. ROOTS/ROCK: GARY MEZZI, THE TOMMYS

• Thursday, Aug. 16. JAZZ: DAVID CHEVAN—”LETTERS FROM THE AFFAIR” WORLD PREMIERE

• Friday, Aug. 17. FOLK: PHIL ROSENTHAL & DAVE KIPHUTH

• Sunday, Aug. 19, 2-4 PM. IRISH MUSIC JAM

• Monday, Aug. 20, 6 PM. GUITARTOWNCT MONTHLY EVENING BLUEGRASS JAM

• Wed., Aug. 22. CONTRA DANCE MUSIC: WRY BRED

• Thursday, Aug. 23. SONGWRITERS IN THE ROUND: JON SCHLESINGER, BOP TWEEDIE, CHRISTOPHER BOUSQUET, QUINN HARLEY

• Friday, Aug. 24. ROCK ‘N’ ROLL: THE FURORS; ROCK: HAPPY ENDING

• Wed., Aug. 29. INDIE ROCK: JELLYSHIRTS

• Thursday, Aug. 30. SONGWRITERS IN THE ROUND: MARK MIRANDO, RICHARD NEAL, BOB CSUGIE, FRANK CRITELLI

• Friday, Aug. 31, 7:30 PM. BLUEGRASS: DALE ANN BRADLEY (A GUITARTOWNCT CONCERT)

• Sunday, Sept. 2, 2-5 PM. GUITARTOWNCT FREE AFTERNOON MONTHLY BLUEGRASS JAM

• Wednesday, Sept. 5. POP PUNK: DAGWOOD

• Thursday, Sept. 6. INDIE ROCK/POWER POP: LUCY’S NEIGHBOR

• Friday, Sept. 7. JAZZ: GEORGE LESIW BAND

• Monday, Sept. 10, 7:30 PM. TRIVIA 237—A BEST VIDEO MONTHLY TRIVIA NIGHT

• Wednesday, Sept. 12, 7 PM. SECOND WEDNESDAY OPEN MIC

• Friday, Sept. 14. ACOUSTIC GUITAR: ROBERT MESSORE, STEPHEN NYSTRUP

• Sunday, Sept. 16, 2-4 PM. IRISH MUSIC JAM

• Monday, Sept. 17, 6 PM. GUITARTOWNCT MONTHLY EVENING BLUEGRASS JAM

• Thursday, Sept. 20. GARAGE ROCK: THE 509ERS

• Friday, Sept. 21. JAZZ: JAZZPHORIA (HAMDEN HIGH SCHOOL JAZZ COMBO)

• Saturday, Sept. 22. SINGER-SONGWRITER: ANNE MARIE MENTA BAND

• Monday, Sept. 24, 7:30 PM. REMEMBERED IN THEIR OWN WORDS: A MEMORIAL READING FOR DONALD HALL & JANE KENYON​

• Wednesdat, Sept. 26, 7:30 PM. BLUEGRASS: COURTNEY HARTMAN & TAYLOR ASHTON (A GUITARTOWNCT CONCERT)

• Thursday, Sept. 27, 7 PM. INDIE ROCK: PLANET WHAT (TULSA, OK), VIET RAHM (CHICAGO), DR. MARTINO, COMMERCIAL INTERRUPTION

• Friday, Sept. 28. AFRO-FUNK FUSION: THE LOST TRIBE

• Saturday, Sept. 29. JUG BAND MUSIC: WASHBOARD SLIM & THE BLUE LIGHTS

• Monday, Oct. 1, 7:30 PM. TRIVIA 237—A BEST VIDEO MONTHLY TRIVIA NIGHT

• Tuesday, Oct. 2, 7 PM. LITERARY READING: ALICE MATTISON, SANDI KAHN SHELTON

• Wednesday, Oct. 3. ROCK ‘N’ ROLL: THE RIGHT OFFS

• Tuesday, Oct. 9. BLUEGRASS: THE ELM CITY RAMBLERS

• Wednesday, Oct. 10, 7 PM. SECOND WEDNESDAY OPEN MIC

• Friday, Oct. 12. DEEP HAMDEN FESTIVAL: GOODNIGHT BLUE MOON, VAL McKEE

• Saturday, Oct. 13. DEEP HAMDEN FESTIVAL: ALLEN LOWE—A LOVE SUPINE (with ADAM MATLOCK, BENJAMIN SMITH, ESDRAS LUBIN, JEFF CEDRONE, BOB GORRY)

• Sunday, Oct. 14. DEEP HAMDEN FESTIVAL: BRIAN JARAWA GRAY, LITTLE SILVER

• Wednesday. Oct. 17. ELM CITY NOISE FEST: performers TBA

• Thursday, Oct. 18. JAZZ: NICK DI MARIA QUARTET presents MR. MILLENNIAL’S REVENGE

• Friday, Oct. 19, 7:30 PM. BLUEGRASS: MISSY RAINES & THE NEW HIP (A GUITARTOWNCT CONCERT)

• Friday, Oct. 26, 7 PM. ANNUAL HALLOWEEN SPECIAL: LIGHT UPON BLIGHT ENSEMBLE scores HORROR FILM

• Friday, Nov. 2. INDIE ROCK: LYS GUILLORN & HER BAND, ELISA FLYNN

• Monday, Nov. 5, 7:30 PM. TRIVIA 237—A BEST VIDEO MONTHLY TRIVIA NIGHT

• Friday, Nov. 9, 7:30 PM. BLUEGRASS: KENNY & AMANDA SMITH (A GUITARTOWNCT CONCERT)

• Saturday, Nov. 10. BLUEGRASS: GEORGIA RAE, THE ANGRY O’HARAS

• Wednesday, Nov. 14, 7 PM. SECOND WEDNESDAY OPEN MIC

• Friday, Nov. 16. BLUES/ROCK ‘N’ ROLL: JOE MILLER & THE HIPSHAKERS

• Monday, Dec. 3, 7:30 PM. TRIVIA 237—A BEST VIDEO MONTHLY TRIVIA NIGHT

• Friday, Dec. 7, 7:30 PM. BLUEGRASS: HONEY DEWDROPS (A GUITARTOWNCT CONCERT)

• Wednesday, Dec. 12, 7 PM. SECOND WEDNESDAY OPEN MIC