Berklee College offers free concert of jazz, Caribbean music at Strand

Berklee Groups in Free Performance at Strand Theatre from Chris Lovett on Vimeo.

Berklee College of Music will present a free, three-in-one concert of jazz and Caribbean music at the Strand Theatre on Friday evening at 7:30 that will showcase three Berklee groups featuring students from all over the world, including Brazil, Korea, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

“Jazz Fest, with a Taste of the Caribbean” is a product of Berklee’s Office of Community Affairs and Campus Engagement’s partnership with the Boston Foundation, which has allotted grant funding to the college in hopes that it will help produce “art installations, outdoor markets, and random acts of culture in the neighborhood surrounding the Uphams Corner train station will advance a vision for the Fairmount Indigo Line as a cultural corridor that draws upon the local cultural assets and ethnic traditions of the corridor’s residents.”

Ron Savage, Ensemble Department Chair, and a renowned jazz drummer, is the concert’s producer and New Voices in Jazz 2, which he directs, offers cutting-edge originals and well-known jazz standards by John Coltrane and Kenny Garrett.

The Caribbean Jazz Fusion Ensemble, directed by Sean Skeete, assistant chair of ensembles, mixes traditional and modern Caribbean rhythms with jazz improvisation on songs by David Rudder, Monty Alexander, and Kalabash.

The Music of the Dominican Republic Ensemble, led by Ricardo Monzon, associate professor of percussion, plays Merengue and Bachata music by Juan Luis Guerra, Milly Quezada, La India, and Olga Tañón. 

More Berklee activities are planned for Uphams Corner. The Music Education Department will present KidsJam sessions, while the Music Therapy Department will work with patients in the dementia unit at Uphams Corner Elder Services. The Professional Music Department will dispatch students from the Jazz Revelation Records label to perform at other events.

Dot innovators at Figment Festival

The free festival fun moves to the Rose Kennedy Greenway as the 4th annual FIGMENT Boston runs on this Saturday (July 27) from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and on Sunday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. FIGMENT Boston 2013 is a sort of funhouse/wonderland with more than 100 interactive art projects and performances.

FIGMENT is a free, annual participatory arts festival that inspires all ages in the creation and celebration of art and a culture where everything is possible. Originating in New York, FIGMENT weekends have sprung up across the country. Over the past four years, FIGMENT Boston has invited thousands of people to broaden their definition of art by breaking down the wall between spectator and artist.
This free, non-commercial event is independently produced by an all-volunteer staff and artists, including some from Dorchester.

Among the latter, the electro-conscious world folk ensemble Honeycircuit weaves a mix of electronic beats, live instrumentation, and ethereal vocals to produce a sound that has been compared to a “tribal Portishead.” Live kalimba, violin, guitar, African drums, laced with spirited vocals. And Dot graphic designer Franklin Marval recreates the experience of driving through coastal Venezuela in his installation “The Cumaná Road.”

Non-Dorchester based offerings are nice, too. Learn belly-dancing with Belly Dance Troupe Al-Jawary Al-Hessan, which will perform a full Egyptian-style raqs sharki (belly dance) show. See a giant elephant built of wood that blows bubbles. Hear MIDI sound events triggered by digital tap shoes. Venture, if you dare, into Video Bleep: “a 360-degree surround-video immersive, interactive mind control bubble.” See the full lineup at


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