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January Music highlights

1/22 through 2/13- MODFEST ‘09, a three-week festival of new music, art, dance, film, and literature honoring composer STEVE REICH, at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie—Few contemporary composers have had the enormous influence of Steve Reich, whose densely textured minimalism weaves together various world music styles—from Indonesia to Africa and the Middle East, to name a few—into a steady output of new works that continue to surprise and astonish. Three weeks of workshops and performances will keep the Vassar art departments busy, as MODFEST performers will include Vassar student vocal and instrumental ensembles, dancers, poets, and filmmakers who will participate along with faculty and guest artists, as well as including high school student artists, poets, and musicians from the Poughkeepsie community. The festival highlights the Departments of Africana Studies, Art, Dance, English, Film, and Music, and events will be held at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Kenyon Hall, Main Building, James W. Palmer III Gallery, Skinner Hall of Music, and the Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film. A detailed schedule of events is available at Vassar College, 124 Raymond Ave., Poughkeeepsie,, 845.437.7000.

Su 2/8- LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO at Paramount Center for the Arts, Peekskill—One can be forgiven if one felt somewhat oversaturated in the ‘90s by the densely luscious vocal harmonies of South Africa-based Ladysmith Black Mambazo. From a featured place on Paul Simon’s Graceland to numerous ad campaigns (7-Up, Life Savers, IBM), their own Grammy-winning Shaka Zulu (1987) and Long Walk to Freedom (2005), Joseph Shabalala and company—most of them related—seemed ubiquitous at that time, culminating in special performances for Nelson Mandela at both his Nobel Peace Prize reception (1993) and Presidential Inauguration (South Africa) in 1994. Performing a traditional style of music and dance born in the mines during apartheid and slavery, Shabalala’s group developed their own amazingly pure and rhythmically tight style that has made them internationally popular, and they are presently still touring their 2007 release Long Walk To Freedom, with a new release (already available in Africa and Europe) imminent in the coming months. Paramount Center for the Arts, 1008 Brown St., Peekskill,, 914.739.2333. 3 PM

Th 1/22 & Fr 1/23- SHEMEKIA COPELAND BAND (Th)/RORY BLOCK (Fr) at Towne Crier, Pawling—Towne Crier has a nice blues two-fer coming up with two of the most compelling female blues artists in the business. Shemekia Copeland has been getting a lot of international attention for her honest and rootsy sound, her work alongside of Dr. John, Steve Cropper, and filmmakers Wim Wenders and Martin Scorsese, and even a Grammy nomination. With her crackjack band in tow, look for her to debut material from her upcoming (2/24) Telarc CD Never Going Back, which features Oliver and Chris Wood, John Medeski, and Marc Ribot. Then Friday, it’s Rory Block, who’s had a long and fruitful career as an educator—making the Power of Delta Blues Guitar video series with Stefan Grossman—and an artist with 15 releases, performing and recording with the likes of Keb Mo, Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahal, and Stevie Wonder, and garnering five W.C.Handy Blues Awards. You want the blues? They got ’em. Towne Crier, 130 Rte. 22, Pawling,, 845.855.1300. Shemekia Copeland Th 1/22 7:30 PM; Rory Block Fr 1/23 9 PM

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