by Mike Telin
“There are a lot of world-music performers in the area that I would have loved to present over the years if I only had a space,” ethnomusicologist, world-music enthusiast, and promoter David Badagnani said during a recent conversation. “And with this series there is an additional opportunity for audiences to hear world-music performers in a different way.”
On Saturday, December 12 at 8:00 pm at the North Water Street Gallery in Kent, the new “Around the World Music Series” will present an evening of Greek music performed by bouzouki virtuoso Kostas Revelas and guitarist George Papazekos. The evening will also include stories of the Greek islands told by the musicians. A meet-and-greet reception will begin at 7:30.
Finding the right venue for presenting world music has been in the back of Badagnani’s mind for some time, and the opportunity came his way this past summer when a friend contacted him saying that he was going to be in the area to perform. “He told me he was interested in finding a venue for a second Northeast Ohio show, and he thought that Kent would be a great place, considering that Kent State University is there and they have a great ethnomusicology program.”
After further thinking about the idea, Badagnani contacted Jeff Ingram at Standing Rock Cultural Arts. In addition to a gallery, the organization’s newly renovated facility includes a black-box theater with a small stage. “It’s a beautiful, intimate space. With only a week and a half of lead time, we attracted some twenty people to the concert. It was the ideal audience, and they loved the music. Because the space is small, it is easy for the musicians to talk to the audience. After the show I asked people if they would be interested in hearing more music of this style, and they all said yes. So then I asked Jeff about starting a series. It’s the type of thing that falls into their mission.”
I asked Badagnani how he met Kostas Revelas. “We were both at a show featuring a visiting Chinese rock band at Mahall’s in Lakewood. I hadn’t heard him play, but after listening to some of his performances on YouTube I realized that he is an extraordinary musician with complete command of his instrument. It’s like an extension of his body. It will be worth people’s while to come to Kent to hear something extra special.”
Badagnani keeps a list of all of world music groups and festivals in the area on a Facebook page called World Music in Northeast Ohio.
The “Around The World Music Series” will continue as follows:
Saturday, February 6, 2016 – Shiva Sastry (Carnatic music of South India, played on veena and mridangam)
Saturday, March 19, 2016 – Yang Jin (music for pipa, zhongruan, and liuqin lutes by one of China’s leading performers)
Saturday, June 18, 2016 – Frank “Little Elk” Running (songs and stories of the Lakota Sioux Nation)
Saturday, July 23, 2016 – Luca Mundaca (original bossa nova songs by singer/guitarist/songwriter from Brazil, a local favorite)
Published on ClevelandClassical.com December 7, 2015.
Click here for a printable copy of this article