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Culture to Do: April 5, 2023

Combo Chimbita and Billy Martin perform at Bombyx in Florence on Saturday, April 8 at 7 p.m.

Marcia Ball and Tinsley Ellis
Bombyx, Florence
Thursday, April 6 at 7 p.m.
Marcia Ball, pianist, singer, songwriter and 2018 Texas State Musician of the Year has won countless fans for her ability to ignite a full-scale roadhouse rhythm and blues party every time she takes the stage. Georgia troubadour Tinsley Ellis acquired his first guitar at age seven. Twenty albums and millions of miles later, Ellis has become an elder statesman of the Blues world. The two join forces for a powerful night of acoustic songs and ribald road stories.

The Peking Acrobats featuring the Shanghai Circus
Tillis Performance Hal, UMass
Thursday, April 6, 7:30 p.m.
Since their founding in 1986, the Peking Acrobats have dazzled global audiences, pushing the limits of human ability, and defying gravity with amazing displays of contortion, flexibility, and control. Their spectacles mix time-honored Chinese folk music with high-tech special effects and awe-inspiring acrobatic feats.

Community Music School of Springfield Free Master Classes
African American Jazz Master Class with Charles Tolliver
Fridays, from 6 – 8 p.m. through May 12
Trumpeter and composer Charles Tolliver, the 2022 Jazz Foundation of America Lifetime Achievement Awardee, will instruct professional jazz musicians, music educators, and jazz students in jazz improvisation.
Ewe Traditional Music Master Class with Nani Agbeli
Tuesdays from 6 – 8 p.m. through May 16
Nani Agbeli is a master drummer and dancer in Ewe traditional music from Ghana. He has performed nationally and teaches at Pomona University. Nani Agbeli’s master class participants will learn Gahu, a foundation piece from Ghanaian Ewe drum/dance literature and drumming.

The Performance Project Presents: Mother Tongue
Shea Theater, Turners Falls
Friday, April 7 at 7:30 p.m.
Developed by members of First Generation, the amazing intergenerational arts and youth leadership organization based in Springfield, “Mother Tongue” is inspired by family stories and events from Congo/Tanzania, Bhutan/Nepal, South Sudan, Holyoke, and Springfield. The performance incorporates movement, music, dance, and weaves together stories in Arabic, Swahili, Nepali, and English to personally address issues of culture, identity, diaspora, and more.

The Eagles Experience
Gateway City Arts, Holyoke
Friday, April 7 at 8 p.m.
With a one-to-one lineup that reflects the Eagles during their heyday in the late 1970s, the members of The Eagles Experience each emulate one member of the band, playing the correct instrument and singing the songs as sung by their assigned Eagle. No pre-recorded backing tracks or “digital assistance.”

The Mahaiwe, Great Barrington
Friday, April 7 at 8 p.m.
Raised between Reykjavík and Washington, DC, Icelandic-Chinese singer-songwriter Laufey (pronounced “lay-vay” ) makes music that is the byproduct of rich cultural heritages and mixed musical influences. Inspired in part by her mother, a classical violinist, Laufey took up piano and cello early on. But it wasn’t until deep-diving into her father’s record collection, consisting of jazz artists Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, that she launched into her musical journey.

Music @ Amherst
Tai Murray, Violin, with Gilles Vonsattel, Piano
Buckley Recital Hall, Amherst College
Friday, April 7 at 8 p.m.
Violinist Tai Murray has established herself a musical voice of a generation. Murray won an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2004 and was named a BBC New Generation Artist. Swiss-born American pianist Gilles Vonsattel is the recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant and the Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award, and winner of the Naumburg and Geneva competitions, and is on the faculty of UMass Amherst. The program includes music by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, John Adams, Arvo Pärt and Franz Schubert.

Myriam Gendron + Izzy Oram Brown
The Drake, Amherst
Friday, April 7 at 8 p.m.
After her 2014 critically-acclaimed debut album Not So Deep As A Well, Myriam Gendron returns with “Ma délire – Songs of love, lost & found,” a very modern exploration of North American folk tales and traditional melodies. Izzy Oram Brown is a Brooklyn based guitarist and songwriter who released her debut record "Mess" in September of 2022. drawing on her work as a guitar player and her love of the folk song tradition.

Combo Chimbita + Billy Martin
Bombyx, Florence
Saturday, April 8 at 7 p.m.
Combo Chimbita uses cumbia as a portal to downright freaky sounds with an inventive combination of rhythms from Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America. It’s a music they call "tropical futurism" that evolved during nightly jams at Barbès in Brooklyn. The band focuses on themes of spirituality, catharsis, and political upheaval. Medeski Martin & Wood's Billy Martin will perform a solo set utilizing percussion instruments, found objects, voice, flutes, bird calls, and more.

Funmilayo — an opera for chorus, soloists, and orchestra
Chapin Auditorium, Mount Holyoke College
Saturday, April 8, at 8 p.m.
Sunday, April 9, at 3 p.m.
“Funmilayo,” the latest in Mount Holyoke Colleges’ African opera series, focuses on the life of Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti (1900–1978), a Nigerian pioneer activist who campaigned against colonial rule and resisted the marginalization of women in local government administration. It features a libretto and music by Hammond-Douglass Five College Professor of Music Olabode “Bode” Omojola.

Rhythm Is Life: Dormeshia Tap Collective
MASS MoCA, North Adams
Saturday, April 8 at 8 p.m.
Joined by a smoking hot jazz trio and an ensemble of fellow dancers, tap queen Dormeshia brings her critically acclaimed, classic-style tap concert to North Adams for an evening of thrilling percussive dance and music co-presented by Jacob’s Pillow. Through a series of rhythmic explorations, Dormeshia creates a kaleidoscope of choreography that both moves with the universal pulse of life and invites others to find their own groove.

Snarky Puppy
Tillis Performance Hall, UMass
Monday, April 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Jazz, funk, rock, world music — and whatever else works — melded in a joyous outpouring of improvisational music by a lineup of outstanding instrumentalists. Snarky Puppy has evolved over the past 18 years from a fun, catch-all ensemble at the University of North Texas into an internationally acclaimed collective of highly accomplished session and stage musicians.

Alice Howe & Freebo
The Parlor Room, Northampton
Wednesday, April 12 at 7:30 p.m.
Listen to Alice Howe and you’ll be touched by her honest, authentic, emotionally resonant singing in the tradition of the roots music that shaped her. Freebo is a genuine folk, rock and blues icon best known for his decade of touring and recording with Bonnie Raitt.