Brooklyn-based world dance outfit People’s Champs will lay down global rhythms for a dance party at MASS MoCA in North Adams on Saturday at 8pm. Led by trombonist Alex Asher and fronted by vocalist Cole Williams, the People’s Champs blend electro-accordion riffs, neo-soul vocals, and gritty drum grooves into a new global fusion. The music is rooted in popular dance music from around the world, and the lush arrangements never lose track of the dance floor. The band mixes jazz, hip-hop, rock, and soul from the United States, Latin America, and Africa, and the result is a passionate new brand of soul music that is equal parts Gorillaz, Michael Jackson, Fela Kuti, and Ornette Coleman.
“POE,” a new play about the great American poet and short story writer Edgar Allan Poe, and his mysterious disappearance for four days in Baltimore in 1849, will get its world premiere at the Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge in a Berkshire Theatre Group production running tonight through Sunday, October 26. You learn some interesting things about the life of Edgar Allan Poe, whose influence on modern American letters cannot be overestimated. Despite having only lived to age 40, Poe is celebrated as a major figure in world literature, and is especially noted for his major contributions to the dark romanticism genre with works like “The Raven.” A Boston native, Poe etched his name in the annals of American literature as an editor and writer of gothic and mysterious short stories and poems. Many credit Poe as the father of detective fiction and the modern short story narrative. Undoubtedly if he lived today, he would be much in demand as a writer for cable TV series and the movies.
The Pablo Aslan Quintet brings its jazz-infused tango to Williams College on Monday at 8pm, in a free concert at Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall. For people who follow this sort of music, the name Pablo Aslan is spoken with great reverence. The Argentine-born Aslan is in demand for his skills as a producer, bassist, and educator, and for his knowledge of traditional and contemporary tango. His albums have been nominated for a Latin Grammy Award for Best Tango Album and a Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album.
In the second in a regular series of conversations hosted by Bard professor and bestselling author Neil Gaiman, author and artist Audrey Niffenegger discusses time travel, Doctor Who, graveyards, taxidermy, graphic novels, pictures, books, and long-distance romance. The program takes place tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Sosnoff Theater in the Fisher Center at Bard College.
Grammy Award-nominated vocalist Shemekia Copeland will bring her singular brand of modern blues, funk, soul and R&B to Club Helsinki Hudson tonight at 9pm. The daughter of the late Texas blues guitar legend Johnny Clyde Copeland, Shemekia Copeland has established her own primacy in the field, literally having been crowned the new “Queen of the Blues” by the late Koko Taylor’s daughter, Cookie.
And finally, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic opens its 55th season performing works by Beethoven, Mahler and film composer Nino Rota at the Bardavon in Poughkeepsie on Sunday at 3pm. The concert includes a performance of Gustav Mahler’s monumental Symphony No. 5 in C-sharp minor, as well as Beethoven’s moving Egmont Overture, and a rare performance of Nino Rota’s Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra in C, featuring Bradley Ward, the HVP’s principal trombonist, as soloist.
Seth Rogovoy is editor of Berkishire Daily and the Rogovoy Report, available online at www.rogovoyreport.com