P R E S S R E L E A S E S 2002
May 8, 2002
World Beat Family Concert at MASS MoCA
(North Adams, Mass.) The incredible diversity of singer/songwriter Basya Schechter reflects her upbringing as an Orthodox Jew in Brooklyn and is enhanced by her extensive travels through various Middle Eastern countries, Europe, Africa, and South America. Kids of all ages will love dancing and learning about world music and culture at Family Concert with Basya Schechter at 4 P.M. on Saturday, June 8. Schechter's music draws from a wealth of influences including Torah-chanting, Yiddish song, Middle Eastern arrangements and instruments, and American and West-African melodies and rhythms. Her instruments include the Arabic oud, Turkish saz, and a variety of percussion instruments. The event is free with museum admission, but advance reservations are required and space is limited. Tikkun said of a recent concert, "I was especially blown away by her singing so emotionally and smoothly over such complicated Middle Eastern rhythms...truly World Beat."
Basya Schechter's rift with orthodoxy may have begun with the simple act of picking up the guitar, but it has flown from there. "I wanted to hitchhike around the world. I wanted to dance and sing and write, to do all those things that had limits placed on them." Along the way she formed the band Pharaoh's Daughter whose members specialize in jazz, Jewish, or Arabic music blending to create a sound that leaves a lasting impression evolving from a hypnotic meditative sound into a full-on jam complete with high energy and ecstatic grooves and back again. Schechter still draws heavily on her background, though, for her songwriting. Her lyrics include lines from Solomon's Song of Songs, A String of Pearls follows the serving purpose of music ideas of Levi Yitzchok of Berdichev, and Ethics of The Fathers-- Ein Ani Li Milli (If I am not for myself, who is for me and when?), an expression of Jewish will and survival down the centuries written at the talmudic academy of Sura in Babylonia around CE 230. She's toured extensively including Munich, Poland, Vienna, Slovenia, and Athens, Greece. She and her band were invited to Queen Elizabeth Hall in London as part of a weeklong UK Mini Tour in the Tenth London Biannual Jewish Music Festival. One of her songs, Niggun, served as the opening of Pearl Gluck's documentary film, The Couch.
Admission for Family Concert with Basya Schechter is free with museum admission. Beginning June 1, museum admission is $9 for adults, $3 for kids between six and sixteen, and free for children under six. Admission is free for members. Space is limited, so advance reservations are required (even for members and children under six). Reservations can be made through the MASS MoCA Box Office located off Marshall Street in North Adams from 10 A.M. until 6 P.M. daily. Reservations can also be made over the phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or purchased on line at www.massmoca.org.
MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located on a 13- acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings. MASS MoCA focuses on the work of visual and performing artists charting new territory.
For Immediate Release