Date: Tuesday, May 4th, 2010
Time: 7:30 pm
Location: Stuart’s Opera House
Barbez, sui generis luminaries of the New York music scene, weave a haunting mosaic of avant-rock, old-world cabaret, Eastern European folksong, and contemporary classical into a beautiful and personal soundscape.
Since the group’s formation in Brooklyn in the late 1990s, Barbez has released six albums, each of them mixed by the incomparable Martin Bisi (Sonic Youth, Swans, Herbie Hancock). The group’s 2007 Force of Light, released on John Zorn’s Tzadik label, was an homage to the Romanian-Jewish Holocaust poet Paul Celan. Its follow-up, Bella Ciao, also for Tzadik, was inspired by ancient Roman Jewish melodies and the Italian Resistance during the Second World War. The group’s forthcoming release, For Those Who Came After: Songs of Resistance from the Spanish Civil War, out on October 6, will be released on the Boston-based label Important Records, like Barbez’s first two albums. These ten iconic Spanish Civil Was songs were recorded with the Bay Area singer Velina Brown live at the Japan Society in 2016. The occasion was the annual celebration of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, the name for the American volunteers who risked their lives in the 1930s to fight fascism in Spain.
Barbez has performed across the United States and Europe including engagements at the Festival Musicas del Mundo in Sines, Portugal, UCLA’s Royce Hall in Los Angeles, sharing the bill with the MC5 and Sun Ra Arkestra, the Festival Territoria in Moscow, Russia, and the Museum of Jewish Art and History in Paris, France. Over its history, Barbez has collaborated with a diverse group of musicians including Dawn McCarthy of Faun Fables, the cellist Julia Kent of Antony and the Johnsons, and the singer and guitarist Nils Frykdahl of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. The group has also been privileged to perform with a wide variety of groups including Cat Power, Devendra Banhart, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and the Angels of Light, among many others.
Barbez maintains a long-running collaboration with the experimental theatre director, filmmaker, and playwright, John Jesurun, a MacArthur “genius” grant winner, and have composed and performed scores for several of Jesurun’s theatrical works, which have been staged at the Berliner Festspiele, in Berlin, Germany and the Rubin Museum of Himalayan Art in New York. Jesurun, who directed the renowned “Last Goodbye” video for Jeff Buckley, has directed three videos for the band. Barbez has also contributed music for several dance works, including One and The Making of Americans, both choreographed by the Bessie-award winner Juliette Mapp and presented, respectively, by Danspace Project and Dance Theatre Workshop in New York.
Barbez is made up of the following members: Dan Kaufman (Rebecca Moore) guitar, Pamelia Kurstin (David Byrne, Simone Dinnerstein) theremin, Peter Hess (Philip Glass Ensemble) clarinet, bass clarinet Danny Tunick (The Clean) marimba, vibraphone, Catherine McRae (filmmaker Sam Green, the Quavers) violin, Peter Lettre (Shearwater) bass, and John Bollinger (Sway Machinery) drums.
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