Saturday, October 31, 2015

Women Musicians Network 19th Concert Tuesday, November 10, 2015, 8:00 pm

Photo taken March, 2015. Photographer: Caroline Alden. Singer: Nadia Chechet

Women Musicians Network 19th Concert
Tuesday, November 10, 2015, 8:00 pm (doors 7:30)
Berklee Performance Center

By Kirk Etherton

        One great thing—or problem—about my living here in "Greater Somerville" (which includes Boston) is that there are always so many very good events, it's easy to miss something great.

        The W.M.N. concert, usually held in March, is truly a great thing. I've seen at least the past 12 shows, and I won't miss this one.

        What sets this event apart is always the exceptional level of diversity, plus very fine musicianship.

        Women Musicians Network is a student club at Berklee College of Music. Somerville resident Lucy Holstedt (also a Berklee professor and the club's co-founder and faculty advisor) directs and hosts the concert.

        Every time, the focus is on women students and their bands from around the world. There are plenty of guys performing, too, but the spotlight is on women—as composers, bandleaders, rock guitarists, you name it.

        I got to hear "audition tapes" from all of the 11 original acts chosen to perform on Nov. 10—from jazz and blues to gospel, folk, and fusion. Here is some of what impressed me the most.

        1. Olivia, a composer and pianist from Spain, doing a Spanish / Indian fusion piece along with an Indian singer and a sitar player.
        2. Shir, a woman from Israel who has an amazing vocal range, leading her "electro-pop" tune. (It would be difficult to describe, without losing most everything in translation.)
        3. Mariana, a pianist / guitarist / singer-songwriter from Portugal, doing a very beautiful, original song in her native language.
        4. Gretchen, guitarist and vocalist from Chile. She leads a mostly male band; her singing on the rock tune she composed brings to mind some of the most powerful and affecting female vocalists of the past 40 years.

        That's four of the 11 acts. I could go on and on, but space is limited. Besides, music doesn't come across very well in a newspaper.

        I should mention that most of these women arrive at Berklee with significant musical credits. Natalia has a great Andean folk-based tune that's doing very well on the radio charts in her native Columbia. Some of these "college students" have already taught in universities, and performed around the world.

        Special guests this year are three Berklee professors, also doing original material. Christiane Karam, concert co-director, will be leading her Pletenitsa Balkan Choir.

        The concert starts at 8:00 pm and ends at 9:30 pm, which I feel makes it an extremely efficient international music festival.

Women Musicians Network 19th Concert
Tickets: $8 in advance / $12 day of show

Box office: 617.747.2261

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