SCHENECTADY — Mona Golub, producing artistic director of Schenectady’s Music Haven, announced an abbreviated, but dynamic three-show season for the acclaimed summer concert series.
“I’m thrilled to keep Music Haven on the map this summer and welcome friends and neighbors back to the heart of the park,” said Golub, who has dedicated herself to producing concerts and events that gather community in Central Park since 1990. “As international travel and world tours begin to resume, I am already at work curating a full season of spectacularly diverse global artistry – not to mention a few new special events – for the summer of 2022.”
Artists from here and abroad will make their mark on Schenectady’s Central Park starting with the opening show featuring blue guitarist Albert Cummings and special guests Wyld Blue on Sunday, Aug. 15.
The shows set to take the stage the final three Sundays in August. The next two shows are to feature Israeli/Iranian pop singer Liraz, with special guest Kanun virtuoso Firas Zreik (Aug. 22) and a pops concert by the Schenectady Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Glen Cortese, with special guest vocalists Mia Scirocco and Casey Grey (Aug. 29).
All concerts are free and begin at 7 p.m.
Music Haven 2021 launches with some classic Americana, featuring blues guitar virtuoso Albert Cummings, touring in celebration of his new album, Believe, on Provogue Records. Cummings, who hails from the Northeast and cut his chops in the Capital Region, is now counted amongst the genre’s elite. He’s earned praise from the King of Blues, B.B. King and drawn comparisons to legends like Albert King, Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan, whose band Double Trouble was so smitten that they volunteered to play on and produce Albert’s first album. Cummings has since enjoyed a recording career that spans 20 years and earned a stellar reputation for his live performances. Kicking off the evening will be Wyld Blu, 2019 Eddies Award winner in the Blues Band of the Year category.
The second concert of the season will invoke the series’ international mission in a journey to the Middle East with Israeli/Iranian pop singer, Liraz, who will be accompanied by several members of NYC’s celebrated retro Ethiopian jazz collective, Anbessa Orchestra: Meitar Forkosh (violin), Dor Heled (keyboard), Ran Livneh (bass), Eran Fink (drums) and Navdad Livneh (guitar). Liraz, who is of Sephardic Jewish descent, worked on her latest album, Zan (Glitterbeat Records), under challenging conditions. To produce it, she was in covert correspondence with Iranian musicians whose recordings were smuggled out of the country and then added to her vocals, which were recorded in the Persian language of Farsi. Zan is Persian for women, and this album pays tribute to the women of Iran. All of the collaborators had to remain anonymous, according to Liraz, “These musicians are my brothers and sisters, but our countries are enemies. If they were caught, they would be jailed,” she explained to Songlines Magazine, the world’s premier global music publication, which bestowed its coveted Best Artist Award on Liraz in 2021.
Liraz initially found fame as an actress, but in Los Angeles rediscovered her Iranian roots, immersed herself in the music and decided she would sing in Farsi. Here’s a taste of Zan:
Palestinian Kanun virtuoso, Firas Zreik, will set the stage as the evening’s special guest.
The final show of the 2021 season celebrates the return of the Schenectady Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Glen Cortese. The program to be performed is inspired by “The American Songbook” and contains classic music from the Tin Pan Alley era by Gershwin, Porter and Berlin, some Copland, traditional American folk tunes and great American film music by John Williams including “The Cowboys Overture” and a “Star Wars” medley.
Michele’s Charcoal Pit returns to serve hungry Music Haven fans in 2021. And, as has become tradition, international and specialty offerings that reflect spirit of the concert and/or the locales from which the artists come, will be promoted in advance of each show.
Wine and local craft beverages from Wolf Hollow Brewing Company and Nine Pin Cider will be available. And Ben & Jerry’s will scoop premium ice cream.
In the case of inclement weather, Proctors remains the official rain site for The Music Haven Concert Series.