Growing up in the Cedar Park section of West Philly, Justin Faulkner spent so much time with his nearby cousins that they felt more like brothers. So it hit particularly hard when one of those cousins fell victim to gun violence, killed just outside West Philadelphia High School when Faulkner was in his early teens. Not long after, another cousin met the same fate, followed by several of Faulkner’s childhood friends. Continue reading →
The Backporch Festival is taking place on June 7th in Columbia, PA. Organized by Lancaster community group The Row House, the day-long event will feature music, food, games and seminars. Brooklyn indie gospel duo and Sufjan Stevens-compatriots The Welcome Wagon will headline, with support from Philadelphia’s Everhart, Chicago’s celtic rockers The Crossing and more. The Row House was founded in 2010 by Pastor Tom Becker and “is a hub of hospitality, discussion and ideas for making Lancaster City a better place.” Tickets and information can be found here. Check out music from some of the participating bands below.
Every summer, the 100 block of North Mole Street in Center City is blocked off for a block party meets musical celebration. Philadelphia’s Molestice Festival has been a cultural touchstone of the community for 35 years. Since the block party’s roots, it has since expanded to include food trucks and an assortment of activities for all ages. Continue reading →
The bio for Egyptian musician Nadah El Shazly, playing tonight at Vox Populi, references American horror punk progenitors The Misfits, the traditional Arab melody sytem the maqam, African jazz, and Alan Bishop of the pioneering experimental rock band Sun City Girls. On paper that seems like an intriguing but possibly overwhelming mouthful, but when you listen to Ahwar, El Shazly’s debut album, it all very much falls into place. Continue reading →
April is Jazz Appreciation Month, and however you feel about that somewhat calcifying designation there’s ample opportunity to do some appreciating this month. The city’s own twist, “Philly Celebrates Jazz” (which at least seems more enthusiastic than mere appreciation), had its official kick-off on Thursday at City Hall with the presentation of awards to guitarist Kevin Eubanks and vocalist Ella Gahnt. Continue reading →
It’s that time of year again. The time for unsigned artists across the country to break out their video cameras, warm up their vocalizers and come up with the most original and captivating original musical performance from behind some sort of desk. “Why?”, you ask? Because NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Contest is back for 2019, awarding one lucky winner a visit to NPR headquarters to play their very own Tiny Desk concert, and then come on tour with NPR Music with support from our sponsor, Blue Microphones.
Today at SXSW, NPR Music announced the return of the popular Contest. And for the first time ever, it’s open to artists 18 years and older. Over the past four years the Contest has received more than 22,000 entries from artists and bands across all 50 states. Continue reading →
Many of jazz’s most creative voices have had a lot to say this year. For whatever reason, 2018’s best releases include a staggering volume of music, albums that sprawl to 2 or 3 discs in length. Witness Tyshawn Sorey’s monumentally minimal Pillars, three hours of sparse, delicately textured gestures that leave the listener to wander through a limbo of sound and genre. Guitar innovator Mary Halvorson’s Code Girl ran to two discs of arcanely angular song forms, while her collective trio Thumbscrew (with bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Tomas Fujiwara) paired an album of original music with an accompanying set of covers. The brilliant composer Henry Threadgill doubled up with releases by his ensemble Double Up and another by his latest conglomeration, the 14 or 15 Kestra: Agg. That’s just to mention a few. Continue reading →
Ars Nova Workshop’s inaugural October Revolution of Jazz & Contemporary Music was undoubtedly the highlight of last year’s Philly jazz calendar, and the follow-up is shaping up to be equally awe-inspiring. More than an avant-garde jazz festival, the October Revolution aims to be a survey of the history and the current moment in disruptive music-making, taking the pulse of contemporary jazz innovation while looking back at great artists who’ve made a habit of never looking back. Continue reading →
Baltimore Avenue’s first Neighborhood to Neighborhood Festival happened 23 years ago, and though it’s been on and off over the years, it came back to the bustling intersection in a big way in 2016. Since then, N2N has hosted performances from Music Soulchild, Common, and Robin Thicke; last year’s festival served as a tribute to Prince with Morris Day and the Time as well as Sheila E.
This year, the N2N Festival decide to honor the late Aretha Franklin, who passed away on August 16th. In order to appropriately pay homage to the powerhouse soul singer, the N2N team curated a show with some of the best vocal talent in R&B, includingPhiladelphia natives Kathy Sledge of Sister Sledge and Kindred the Family Soul, as well as Jean Carne, Kelly Price, Keke Wyatt, and Monica. Continue reading →