Sure, in the abstract, a banjo duo might seem like a musical concept beset by limitations. But when the banjo players cast in those roles are Abigail Washburn and Béla Fleck—she with the earthy sophistication of a postmodern, old-time singer-songwriter, he with the virtuosic, jazz-to-classical ingenuity of an iconic instrumentalist and composer with bluegrass roots— it's a different matter entirely.
The work of Scott Bradlee & Postmodern Jukebox has been viewed on the ensemble’s YouTube channel well over a hundred million times. Most of those doing the viewing, however, are not fully aware of the method to Bradlee’s madness. On the surface, the method is video—clips of full-band performances (that’s Bradlee on piano) shot in the bandleader’s living room with a single stationary camera. The madness: pop hits of the present performed à la pop hits of the past. Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” assayed as a doo- wop number; Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Thrift Shop” tricked out in flapper jazz; Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” rendered a 1940s big-band standard.
Martha Redbone is a, "charismatic indie-soul diva." An Independent Music Award-winning musician of Cherokee, Choctaw, Shawnee and African-American descent, Martha Redbone burst onto the scene at the 2002 Native American Music Awards. She has established a solid history of performing, educating, and mentoring across Native North America. She leads and tours with Martha Redbone Roots Project, a band ranging from trio to septet.
Letters Aloud is a live reading series where great actors give voice to deeply personal letters written by famous people throughout history. Accompanied by live music and thoughtful imagery—it’s an entertaining and poignant reminder of how correspondence has changed over the years and how truly valuable a handwritten (or typewritten) letter can be.
Already one of the most acclaimed comics of his generation, Eddie Izzard is developing an equally stellar reputation as a film, television and stage actor. His bizarre, tangential, absurd, and surreal comic narratives are lauded for their creativity and wit.
Blind Boys of Alabama are on tour for their newest album, I'll Find a Way. It represents a strong new chapter for the group, whose career stretches back more than seventy years.
Formed in the late 1930s at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in Talladega, the group has harmonized throughout the turbulent twentieth century and well into the twenty-first: from Jim Crow through Civil Rights and into the Obama era. They have, however, enjoyed some of their biggest and most rousing successes in the last ten years, during which they've won five Grammys, four Gospel Music Awards, and multiple invitations to sing at the White House.
Over 30 years ago, the Capitol Steps began as a group of Senate staffers who set out to satirize the very people and places that employed them. In the years that followed, many of the Steps ignored the conventional wisdom ("Don't quit your day job!"), and although not all of the current members of the Steps are former Capitol Hill staffers, taken together the performers have worked in a total of eighteen Congressional offices and represent 62 years of collective House and Senate staff experience.
Consider the humble ukulele. It’s an adaptation of a stringed instrument that traveled with Portuguese immigrants who came to work in the sugar cane fields of Hawaii. Islanders made the “machete” their own, mixing external influences of classical European music and Spanish guitar with Hawaiian songs. Native Hawaiians renamed the little machete the ukulele and it’s become synonymous with Hawaiian music and Hawaiian culture.
Jake Shimabukuro comes from that same process of mixing both island and outside influences, both modern and historical. He’s combined the qualities of a long line of virtuoso ukulele players with modern rock musicians to create a sound that’s uniquely his own but still firmly grounded in Hawaiian tradition.
Described as a "quartet with a difference" by the Irish Times, the Dublin Guitar Quartet is a one-of-a-kind classical guitar ensemble that occupies a unique space in the wider chamber music world. It is the first classical guitar quartet devoted to new music. Since its formation at the Dublin Conservatory of Music and Drama, Dublin Guitar Quartet has worked to expand the limited repertoire by commissioning new works and adapting modern masterpieces from outside of the guitar repertoire.
Solas is the quintessential Irish-American band recording and touring in the US today with 11 highly regarded albums to their credit. Formed in 1996, in a manner befitting their name (Gaelic for "light”), Solas burst onto the Irish music scene and instantly became a beacon—an incandescent ensemble that found contemporary relevance in timeless traditions.
Scrap Arts Music delivers intricate rhythms, raw energy, athletic choreography and the hottest—most inventive—reuse of materials on stage today. With instruments fashioned from industrial scrap and offbeat materials ranging from accordion parts to artillery shells, Scrap Arts Music’s original instruments and music are as visually striking as they are sonically riveting. Audiences from four continents have welcomed this electrifying quintet with unbridled enthusiasm, embracing their intoxicating mix of music, movement and spectacle.