Yosl Kurland

Mount Toby Peace & Social Concerns Committee and the Concert Series presents the 3rd event in our Quaker/Jewish Relations Study

Saturday – January 11 – 7:30 pm

Yosl Kurland: A Jewish Perspective on Social Justice:

Songs in Yiddish, Hebrew and English

www.ganeydn.com

Many Yiddish poets wrote songs calling for social Justice, based on biblical commandments to care for the poor and the stranger because we ourselves were strangers in the land of Egypt, and the Yiddish song repertoire includes much in that vein. In tonight’s program, Yosl will perform songs by these “sweatshop” poets as well as his own compositions that reflect the Jewish experience in calling for justice for both workers and refugees. Yiddish songs will have translations projected for the audience. Aaron Bousel will accompany on Accordion.

Vocalist and educator Yosl Kurland, a founding member of the Wholesale Klezmer Band since 1982, performs and writes Yiddish songs and synagogue music. With his band he performed widely for weddings, bar mitzves nd concerts, including at Carnegie Hall with Pete Seeger, and has taught workshops at elementary, middle and high schools on Yiddish music, dance, literature. He developed a workshop on Yiddish Songs of Cultural Resistance in the Holocaust. He taught history at an inner city alternative high school for 17 years using period songs to engage students and to illustrate events more vividly. He teaches adult ed classes on Yiddish literature and klezmer music and is a cantor for Temple Israel of Greenfield.

Wholesale Klezmer Band accordionist Aaron Bousel began playing the instrument at age ten, though it wasn’t until 1995 that he began to play klezmer. He has participated in workshops at Klez Kanada in Quebec and Yidstock at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst. Soon after moving to Amherst, MA in 1997 he became accordionist for the band Hu Tsa Tsa with which he has played at many b’nai mitzvah, weddings, and local synagogue functions. He is also accordionist for the Yiddishkeit Klezmer ensemble and has accompanied Mak’hela, the Jewish chorus of western Mass.

Suggested donation $10 to $30

Sharon Katz & The Peace Train

This concert is canceled – it is rescheduled for September 26, 2020

Sharon sends her regrets that she can’t make it on Dec. 14, 2019. There will not be a substitute performer on this date.

Sharon Katz & The Peace Train

Saturday, December 14, 7:30 pm

https://sharonkatz.com

The multicultural South African band of Sharon Katz & The Peace Train helped Nelson Mandela end Apartheid and they continue spreading their message of peace and reconciliation through music all around the world. Honoring South Africa’s 25th Anniversary, The Peace Train:Transcending Barriers tour features concerts, film screenings and workshops across Africa, Mexico, Cuba and the United States in 2019-2020. Their November 1st, 2019 Cuba tour featured a concert in Santiago de Cuba at the 33rd International Festival of Choirs with a 150 voice children’s choir and 57 piece Symphony Orchestra.

On the Grammy’s “Best World Music Album” ballot, they made history when they formed South Africa’s first, 500-voice multiracial choir & then organized a courageous tour on board a train –The Peace Train – to promote a peaceful transition to democracy.

This year, 2019 saw the band gracing the main stages of Old Songs and Philadelphia Folk Festivals and Sharon also performed her compositions at a concert in a stadium in Tijuana, Mexico with a 1,500 voice children’s choir. Sharon was honored to receive the 2019 Phil Ochs Award in recognition of her music and activism for social and political change.

The versatile group of musicians, singers, dancers and workshop leaders entertain, educate and inspire audiences of all ages and sizes. Melodies from South Africa’s diverse cultures, including Maskanda, Kwasa-Kwasa and Mbaqanga, are fused with rock, folk and funk to tell South Africa’s story – past and present – through music and dance.

WHEN VOICES MEET, a multiple award-winning film, documents The Peace Train’s role in spreading Nelson Mandela’s message and helping youth to heal from the wounds of Apartheid. Selected by over 25 film festivals worldwide, it has shown on TV in 50 countries and is featured on Amazon Prime. Screenings have resulted in numerous diversity & inclusion projects around the world & the Transcending Barriers tours which began with a cross border Peace Train Project in July 2018 with American and Mexican participants marching across the USA border.

Sharon Katz & The Peace Train’s many recordings include “Imbizo” on Billboard’s Highly Recommended list, “Lerato” with South African Jazz diva Dolly Rathebe, “Double Take” with South African songbird Abigail Kubeka, the 2018 release Side-By-Side, and Carnival! alongside Sting, Elton John, Tina Turner, Madonna and Ruben Blades. Sharon is currently working on a new CD recorded in Cuba as well as a second documentary chronicling The Peace Train Transcending Barriers Project which was created as a cross USA Mexico border initiative to counteract the USA administration’s cruel border policies.

Suggested donation: $15 to $30

Tom Juravich & Teresa Healy

Tom Juravich & Teresa Healy

Saturday – November 16 – 7:30 pm

Healy & Juravich offer their audiences duets about work, life, struggle and love. Together, they have performed for union and community groups, house concerts and protest rallies in the United States and Canada. They have written songs supporting campaigns for public health care and celebrating activism. Other original songs oppose war and militarism and express solidarity with families facing the ongoing housing crisis.

Teresa Healy is a singer-songwriter well-known in folk and activist circles across Canada. She now calls Brattleboro, Vermont, home. Healy’s first CD, She Pushed from Behind, dealt with the issues of early feminism in Canada. Her work with labour activists in the Ottawa Irish community was featured on CBC, while her peace songs have been heard around the world. As David Francey says of her writing, Teresa shows “a keen eye for the everyday.” This attention to the details of family life is at the heart of Boot Against Nettle; a collection of original songs ready to be turned into Healy’s next recording.

Tom Juravich is a singer-songwriter with deep roots in Massachusetts. He now shares a home with Teresa in southern Vermont. Tom has been writing and singing about the hopes and dreams of working people all of his life. At the core of Juravich’s music is his voice.  As Pete Seeger put it, “I was impressed by your wide variety of material and frankly, jealous of your wonderful voice.” Juravich released Altar of the Bottom Line just after Healy & Juravich’s first collaboration Tangled in Our Dreams came out. Previous CDs, World to Win and Out of Darkness were released by Flying Fish/Rounder Records.  Juravich’s songs are included in Rise up Singing and Pete Seeger’s Carry it On.     http://tomjuravich.com/

Suggested donation: $15 to $30

 


Sara Thomsen

SARA THOMSEN

saralaughing www.sarathomsen.com

Saturday – October 19 – 7:30 pm

Dubbed in her local press as “one of Northern Minnesota’s best kept secrets,” Sara Thomsen is a weaver of song and community singing. With a voice rich as the best mid-west soil, Sara’s songs carry you inward and outward—in, to the particulars of your own life, and out—into the shared humanity of us all. Her performance style is easygoing and full of humor and depth, capturing the audience’s engagement. Sara’s music gently enfolds and unfolds the listener.

At concerts, conferences, classrooms, workshops, retreats, jails, places of prayer, and lines of protest, to be with Sara is to want to sing. Increasing wonder and awareness, deepening spiritual connection, and widening social engagement through song is at the heart of her work. Sara’s ability to get people singing magically transforms gatherings into communities empowered with possibility.

Sara is the founder and artistic director of the “Echoes of Peace Choir,” a non-audition community choir in Duluth, Minnesota, with a repertoire of world music and a membership of 70+ voices. Thomsen later founded the Echoes of Peace non-profit to expand and develop the work of examining critical social issues using music and the arts to build and bridge informed, engaged, and caring communities. She is also the artistic director of “Three Altos,” comprised of Rabbi Amy Bernstein, Thomsen, and professor Paula Pedersen. The trio has released two CDs: Camaradas and One Voice.

Sara is a staunch supporter of struggles for human dignity and ecological sustainability. Slowing down enough to see and hear the vibrant wonder of the commonplace is her work and play.  All this can be felt in her music. Whether it is a song welcoming a newborn, protesting a policy, depicting night falling or describing a loved one, her music is alive and pulsing.

“Thomsen’s soulful voice, poetic lyrics and unforgettable melodies cut through to the heart and the soul of human experience.”— Minnesota Women’s Press

Recommended donation: $20 to $30

ROY ZIMMERMAN

ROY ZIMMERMAN

Saturday – September 21 – 7:30 pm

In the current national nightmare, we need to laugh. And we need to hope. Roy Zimmerman’s signature blend of heart and hilarity has never been more necessary, and he rings his satirical songs to Leverett at Mount Toby Friends Meeting on Saturday, September 21.

In a career spanning more than thirty years, Roy’s songs have been heard on HBO and Showtime, and his videos have garnered tens of millions of views on social media. With his satirical folk quartet The Foremen he recorded for Warner/Reprise Records. Roy has shared stages with Bill Maher, Ellen DeGeneres, Holly Near, Robin Williams, Arlo Guthrie, John Oliver, The Roches, Andy Borowitz, The Chambers Brothers, Kate Clinton and George Carlin.

Rize Up is Roy’s tenth album release as a solo artist. It’s a funny and forceful expression of resistance in the age of Trump. “Satire empowers people,” says Roy. “To laugh is to fight back. To hope is to fight back.”

Roy tours the country constantly bringing laughter and encouragement to the “Blue Dots” – the most progressive people in some of the least progressive places in the nation. “I get accused of preaching to the converted,” says Roy, “but that’s not how I think of it. I think of it as entertaining the troops.”

http://www.royzimmerman.com

Suggested donation: $10 to $30

WINDBORNE

WINDBORNE

Saturday – June 8 – 7:30 pm

 www.windbornesingers.com

Stunningly powerful vocal harmony floods the room as the four Windborne singers present Song on the Times, their project of working class movements for peoples’ rights from the past 400 years, sung for today struggles. The group was catapulted to new heights when clip of them singing in protest outside Trump tower went viral, and their Indiegogo for the project raised 1,600% of its goal from 2,600 people in every State and 22 countries.

Aside from this new project, Windborne has collected and studied polyphonic vocal music for over 15 years from traditional singing masters from cultures around the world, Windborne is able to shift from radically different genres like no band you have ever heard, as comfortable with an improvised Corsican couplet song, as an English ballad.

Lynn Mahoney Rowan, Will Thomas Rowan, Lauren Breunig, and Jeremy Carter-Gordon share a vibrant energy onstage – their connection to each other and to the music clearly evident. They educate as they entertain, telling stories about the music and explaining the characteristics and stylistic elements of the traditions in which they sing.

Facebook: Facebook.com/WindborneSingers

Youtube: Youtube.com/WindborneMusic

The best musical discovery of the year…Stunningly powerful vocal harmony…Windborne sets a new bar for folk harmony singing today” –Brian O’Donovan WGBH, National Public Radio

Suggested donation: $10 to $30

Maria Dunn

MARIA DUNN

Saturday – May 18 – 7:30 pm

Mount Toby Friends Meeting, 194 Long Plain Rd. (Rt. 63), Leverett, MA

www.mariadunn.com

Mount Toby Concerts is pleased to announce the upcoming performance of an outstanding Canadian singer/songwriter of music for social change. A true preserver of the spirit of folk music, 2017 Juno nominee Maria Dunn is often compared to Woody Guthrie for her keen social awareness and her unvarnished songs about the lives of working men and women. Thirteen years as a volunteer DJ in community radio (1987-2000) encouraged Maria to listen widely to the master songwriters, singers and instrumentalists of folk and roots music. Discovering their recordings and becoming an avid fan and supporter of live music in her community, she absorbed the important messages of compassion and human struggle.

By the time she began writing her own music in the mid-90s, Maria was learning to draw deeply on the folk tradition of storytelling through song to honour the resilience and grace of “ordinary” people, past and present. In keeping with Pete Seeger’s words (1994), “The key to the future of the world is finding the optimistic stories and letting them be known”, her latest recording, Gathering (April 2016), highlights stories of love—not songs of romantic love, but songs of family, community, humanity and the love that fires our actions to make the world a better place. The songs range from historical and narrative to personal and immediate, inspired by social justice stories both global and local.

Stylistically, Maria continues to expand her musical palate from her original influences: North American folk/roots and the music of her Scottish-Irish heritage. She adds musical inflections and instrumentation to evoke the countries of origin and sets her songs in styles that complement the stories they tell.

• …remarkable singer-songwriter, think of her as a distaff Woody Guthrie. – Edmonton Sun

…this is history come alive. Her lyrics are sharp and poignant… – Sunday Edition, CBC Radio

She’s assured, strong, and her versatile voice carries her songs straight to the head and heart. – Sing Out!

Suggested donation: $10 to $20

For more info: https://mttobyconcerts.wordpress.com

CRYS MATTHEWS AND HEATHER MAE

Crys Matthews & Heather Mae

Saturday – April 20 – 7:30 pm

https://crysmatthews.com               https://www.heathermae.net

Ask any one about the new generation of social justice music-makers and they’ll mention either Crys Matthews or Heather Mae. Matthews is a powerful lyricist whose songs of compassionate dissent reflect her lived experience as what she lightheartedly calls “the poster-child for intersectionality”. Heather Mae, a powerhouse performer and earthshaking vocalist, has turned her personal struggle with mental health and body image into an empowering message of self-love, a universal light force that shines for every audience member.

CRYS MATTHEWS

2017 NewSong Music and Performance Competition grand prize winner Crys Matthews blends Americana, folk, jazz, blues, bluegrass and funk in to a bold, complex performance steeped in traditional melodies and punctuated by honest, original lyrics. Her two newest releases, The Imagineers and an EP, Battle Hymn for an Army of Lovers showcase two sides of Matthews’ dynamic songwriting: The Imagineers is a selection of thoughtful songs about love and life; Battle Hymn for an Army of Lovers tackles social justice themes. Songs from both projects have already won her recognition and awards including: the opportunity to perform twice at Sundance Film Festival’s ASCAP Music Cafe in Park City, UT; the People Music Network’s Social Justice Songs contest at the 2017 Northeast Regional Folk Alliance; and an official showcase at Folk Alliance International 2018 to name a few. Equally at home in an acoustic listening room as she is on stage at large music festivals, as well as a prolific lyricist and composer, Matthews has found inspiration in her surroundings; from driving through the Blue Ridge Mountains to the compelling and heart-breaking love story of Richard and Mildred Loving. Thoughtful, realistic and emotional, Matthews’ songs speak to the voice of our generation and remind us why music indeed soothes the soul.

HEATHER MAE

Heather Mae writes music for the light seekers and the good-troublemakers. Delivered via explosive vocals over high energy rhythm-heavy piano, her performances are an empowering, on-fire, musical experience that bursts in the chest of every audience member, moved to their core by her passion and message of self-love and social justice. Her 2016 debut album, I AM ENOUGH, reached #58 on iTunes Pop Album charts without the help of a record label and was an announcement to the world: Mae is the next generation of social justice music. In September 2019 she is adding another title to her resume: mental health advocate. Mae has taken her personal struggle with Bipolar Disorder 2 and Depression and turned it into a record, entitled GLIMMER. With this new record and live show, Mae is a magnetic light force and every audience member is transformed with her anthemic message of hope.

Suggested donation: $25 to $30

Reservations at https://mttobyconcerts.wordpress.com

JOHN McCUTCHEON

SOLD OUT

JOHN McCUTCHEON

Thursday – March 7 – 7:30 pm

http://www.folkmusic.com

No one remembers when the neighbors started calling the McCutcheons to complain about the loud singing from young John’s bedroom. It didn’t seem to do much good, though. For, after a shaky, lopsided battle between piano lessons and baseball (he was a mediocre pianist and an all-star catcher), he had “found his voice” thanks to a cheap mail-order guitar and a used book of chords.

From such inauspicious beginnings, John McCutcheon has emerged as one of our most respected and loved folksingers. As an instrumentalist, he is a master of a dozen different traditional instruments, most notably the rare and beautiful hammer dulcimer. His songwriting has been hailed by critics and singers around the globe. His thirty recordings have garnered every imaginable honor including seven Grammy nominations. He has produced over twenty albums of other artists, from traditional fiddlers to contemporary singer-songwriters to educational and documentary works. His books and instructional materials have introduced budding players to the joys of their own musicality. And his commitment to grassroots political organizations has put him on the front lines of many of the issues important to communities and workers.

Even before graduating summa cum laude from Minnesota’s St. John’s University, this Wisconsin native literally “headed for the hills,” forgoing a college lecture hall for the classroom of the eastern Kentucky coal camps, union halls, country churches, and square dance halls. His apprenticeship to many of the legendary figures of Appalachian music imbedded a love of not only home-made music, but a sense of community and rootedness. The result is music…whether traditional or from his huge catalog of original songs…with the profound mark of place, family, and strength. It also created a storytelling style that has been compared to Will Rogers and Garrison Keillor.

The Washington Post described John as folk music’s “Rustic Renaissance Man,” a moniker flawed only by its understatement. “Calling John McCutcheon a ‘folksinger’ is like saying Deion Sanders is just a football player…” (Dallas Morning News). Besides his usual circuit of major concert halls and theaters, John is equally at home in an elementary school auditorium, a festival stage or at a farm rally. He is a whirlwind of energy packing five lifetimes into one. In the past few years alone he has headlined over a dozen different festivals in North America (including repeated performances at the National Storytelling Festival), recorded an original composition for Virginia Public Television involving over 500 musicians, toured Australia for the sixth time, toured Chile in support of a women’s health initiative, appeared in a Woody Guthrie tribute concert in New York City, gave a featured concert at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, taught performance art skills at a North Carolina college, given symphony pops concerts across America, served as President of the fastest-growing Local in the Musicians Union and performed a special concert at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. This is all in his “spare time.” His “real job,” he’s quick to point out, is father to two grown sons.

But it is in live performance that John feels most at home. It is what has brought his music into the lives and homes of one of the broadest audiences any folk musician has ever enjoyed. People of every generation and background seem to feel at home in a concert hall when John McCutcheon takes the stage, with what critics describe as “little feats of magic,” “breathtaking in their ease and grace…,” and “like a conversation with an illuminating old friend.” Whether in print, on record, or on stage, few people communicate with the versatility, charm, wit or pure talent of John McCutcheon.

John McCutcheon is not only one of the best musicians in the USA, but also a great singer, songwriter, and song leader. And not just incidentally, he is committed to helping hard-working people everywhere to organize and push this world in a better direction.” — Pete Seeger

“The most impressive instrumentalist I’ve ever heard.” — Johnny Cash

Suggested donation: $25.00 to $30.00

It is highly recommended that you make reservations for this concert. Click on “Reservations” at the top of this page.

THE WHISPERING TREE

THE WHISPERING TREE

Saturday – February 16 – 7:30 pm


www.thewhisperingtree.com

This month, Mount Toby Concerts will present The Whispering Tree, a young and exceptionally talented Franco-American duo. Singer/songwriter Eleanor Kleiner and multi-instrumentalist Elie Brangbour craft richly immersive folk-rock brimming with evocative lyrics, nature imagery, perspectives from travel, and a panoramic musicality that encompasses traditional folk, indie rock, classic rock, and 1960s pop and rock n’ roll. The twosome has garnered favorable comparisons to Cowboy Junkies, Over the Rhine and Aimee Mann.

The pair’s debut, Go Call the Captain, was named “one of the year’s most luminous albums” by The Big Takeover Magazine, and NYC’s The Deli magazine called The Whispering Tree “one of the most talented duos to take stage in NYC.” Other marquee career moments include official showcases at the Northeast and Southwest Regional Folk Alliance Conferences; being Kerrville New Folk finalists and Philadelphia Songwriter’s Project winners and Eleanor and Elie having the honor to lend their voices to Pete Seeger and Lorre Wyatt’s album, A More Perfect Union.

Their latest album, Invisible Forces explores duality and the struggle for a sense of permanence in the face of inevitable change, inspired by the pair’s new home in the pastoral Hudson Valley. “I found myself taking photos of abandoned places, there’s a peaceful beauty in watching these great man made structures fall back to the earth,” Eleanor shares. Elie adds: “There is beauty in nature reclaiming this ground.” The idea of the transience of the house appears on the impressionistic “These Houses” and the blues-riff driven “This House Is Split in Half.” The latter tune represents fresh turf for The Whispering Tree as the duo integrates a touch of classic rock swagger within its elegant folk-pop. Interesting enough, this bedrock music of the 1960s and 1970s has always been an influence, and prior to the album, The Whispering Tree released several singles re-imagining classic rock tunes as plaintive, harmony driven folk songs.

Suggested donation $10 to $20