Contemporary music, local and international acts, ten concerts, seven venues and three days of music…that’s the promise of the Parma Music Festival that begins Aug. 14 and runs through the 17 in Portsmouth. Music fans can hear world musicians, hometown artists, classical, contemporary and chamber music alike; music for film, electronica, SCI panel discussions, a kid’s concert… and many of these events are free! Dipping into this all you can eat buffet of music is Bob Lord. We guarantee that listeners will have heard his theme for NHPR’s “The Exchange” and his clever covers of thematic songs as leader of Dreadnaught, the house band for our Writers on a New England Stage series. He now wears his other hat as CEO of Parma, and the keynote speaker for the festival.
There’s plenty to do this summer weekend in New England, including a few Word of Mouth favorites and others yet to be discovered. In the favorites category, Ethan Lipton, the man Time Out New York says is to lounge lizardry what Peter Sellers's Inspector Clouseau is to policing, performs “No Place To Go” at the Hop at Dartmouth on July 20th. The Obie-Award winning theatrical song cycle is about the anxieties and driftlessness of being suddenly jobless. Ethan and his orchestra then travel to the Music Hall in Portsmouth to play songs from their vast and repertoire of old-timey style swing and songs.
We spoke with beatboxer, comedian, musician, and kinda TV talk show host Reggie Watts about his music and other ongoing projects. Reggie takes suggestions submitted via Youtube and turns them into original songs which have never before been performed, and may never be performed again. It’s all part of his online comedy collective called Jash with comedians Sarah Silverman, Tim and Eric, and actor Michael Cera. In addition to his online performances, Reggie has also been playing shows and festivals around the country. He’ll be at the Portsmouth Music Hall in the fall.
West African singer-songwriter Fatoumata Diawara has a backstory not unlike many of today’s cosmopolitan Africans. She was born in Ivory Coast to parents from Mali and now lives in Paris. She’s a stage and film actress, singer, and songwriter, all of which has given her a world of experience which shines through on her 2011 solo album Fatou. The album plays to her roots, but retains an infectious pop sensibility. Fatoumata is performing next Thursday, June 13th at the music hall in Portsmouth. We spoke to her last year before her performance at Dartmouth, just after the release of the album Fatou which is also her nickname, reflecting the very personal nature of its songs and production.
Howard Fishman is no stranger to the diverse potential of musical genres. His first project, The Howard Fishman Quartet, captured the New York City music scene. The group has released three eponymous quartet volumes since its inception in 1999. After several live and studio albums, he diversified further by helming a brass band echoing hints of bluegrass and New Orleans street music in 2008. This was followed by an original theater work, “We Are Destroyed”. His most recent endeavor consists of a concept album, “No Further Instructions,” which illuminates the traversement of Romania and Eastern Europe.
A few years ago, violin virtuoso Joshua Bell set up as a busker at D.C. subway station. The former child prodigy whose concert performances command hundreds of dollars made less than fifty bucks that day. Joshua Bell doesn’t play it safe. He’s been called a “classical music rockstar” with 40 albums to his credit ranging from solos to movie scores.