Beloved Summer Festival Begins Fourth Decade of Free Programming at the Prospect Park Bandshell June 8 with David Byrne
July 29, 2009 11:39:13 AM PDT
BRIC Arts | Media | Bklyn is pleased to announce the lineup for the 2009 Celebrate Brooklyn! Performing Arts Festival. The festival will offer a summer full of free concerts, dance, film screenings and more at the Prospect Park Bandshell, beginning with a highly anticipated David Byrne opening night show, June 8, and concluding with performance by Brooklyn¹s Big Daddy Kane on August 8. Launched in 1979, Celebrate Brooklyn! is a cultural innovation celebrating Brooklyn's diversity. The Festival changed the cultural landscape in Brooklyn, by giving audiences access to performances of the highest quality and providing artists with a Brooklyn platform for their work.

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This year, free Celebrate Brooklyn performances (for which there is a suggested donation of $3 at the gate), will include 23 shows featuring 46 artists/groups from Brooklyn, across the U.S. and all over the world. In addition to music of nearly every genre, there will be extraordinary dance performances and a unique Music & Movies series with special live music performance to film on New York's largest outdoor film screen, a giant 50 by 21 feet.

Performance highlights include the world premiere of a Celebrate Brooklyn! commission, developed this spring at a BRIClab residency with Ethel string quartet and the art-rock group Gutbucket performing a new score to the Mexican science fiction film classic La Nave De Los Monstruos (June 20); underground alt-rockers Blonde Redhead (June 26); Brooklyn aerial dance company STREB (July 9); a family concert with Brooklyn's own They Might Be Giants; Blues great Robert Cray (July 17); Bollywood superstar Kailash Kher (July 25); reggae legend Burning Spear (July 30); and Luna alumni Dean & Britta's 13 Most Beautiful Songs For Andy Warhol's Screen Tests.

Each year, Celebrate Brooklyn! hosts several benefit concerts that offer rare opportunities to see great artists at a reasonable ticket price, while supporting the festival's free performances. This season's benefit concerts include MGMT on July 1 (Sold Out), Jackson Browne on July 21, TV on the Radio on August 11, Bonnie Raitt & Taj Mahal on August 12 and Animal Collective on August 14 & 15. For ticketing information, please visit bricartsmedia.org.


All performances except Benefit Concerts are free with a $3 suggested contribution

Monday, June 8, 8:00 P.M. (gates open at 6:30 P.M.) David Byrne

In this free concert, David Byrne will perform Music of David Byrne and Brian Eno, featuring material spanning his collaborations with Brian Eno: three Talking Heads albums, 1981's groundbreaking My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, and last year's Everything that Happens will Happen Today. An ensemble cast including dancers, background vocalists, and a singular band will amplify the spectacle.

The concert will be preceded at 5:30 P.M. with Celebrate Brooklyn's first Green Gala, which includes cocktails, dinner and reserved seats for Byrne's performance. Gala tickets, for $325 and up, are available at 718.855.7882 x33. The 8:00PM concert will be followed, at 9:45 P.M., by a dance party open to gala guests and Friends of Celebrate Brooklyn.

Thursday, June 11, 7:30 P.M. (gates open at 6:30 P.M.) Goran Bregovic & His Weddings & Funerals Orchestra

Sarajevo-born Goran Bregovic is a seminal figure in the Yugoslav rock world, a film composer who has been likened to Ennio Morricone and Nino Rota, and a collaborator of artists as varied as Iggy Pop and Cesária Évora. Kicking off his first North American tour at Celebrate Brooklyn with his enormous band?featuring brass, a classical string ensemble, an all-male choir and traditional Bulgarian and Roma singers?he marries the dance music of a raucous gypsy wedding with Eastern European choral arrangements in what Spain's La Vanguardia has called, "a mind-blowing return trip with no destination or port of arrival?a magnificent concert, one of the greatest marvels to be heard on stage today."

Friday, June 19, 7:30 P.M. (gates open at 6:30 P.M.) David Rudder/Samantha Thornhill

Calypsonian David Rudder is a performer of such innovation and vitality that Jamaican newspaper The Gleaner has called him "the Bob Marley of soca." His music is a throbbing, innovative mix of classic calypso and soulful pop. He will be preceded by Trinidadian-born, Brooklynite slam poet Samantha Thornhill.

Saturday, June 20, 7:30 P.M. (gates open at 6:30 P.M. La Nave de los Monstruos, with live score by Ethel and Gutbucket Part of Celebrate Brooklyn!'s Music & Movies Series

In a special Celebrate Brooklyn! commission, the nation's premier rock-infused, postclassical string quartet, the immensely acclaimed Ethel, teams up with the wild art-rock group Gutbucket to perform a new original score to the vintage Mexican science fiction classic La Nave De Los Monstruos (The Monsters' Ship, 1959). In the film, the last male on Venus has died, and two Venusian hotties embark on a quest to find men on other planets. The bands premiere the new work this evening after developing the project at a BRIClab residency this spring. Gutbucket will also perform an opening set.

Thursday, June 25, 7:00 P.M. (gates open at 6:00 P.M.) Femi Kuti & The Positive Force/Melvin Gibbs' Elevated Entity

The Afrobeat pioneer Femi Kuti, backed by his band The Positive Force, will return to Celebrate Brooklyn to turn the Bandshell into a giant Nigerian dance party. The New York Times has championed as the group's music as "thick, musky Afro-funk" a polyrhythmic elaboration on James Brown's late-1960s sound?with lyrics that focus on government oppression and the problems of modern Africans. The evening will begin with a performance by Brooklyn-born Melvin Gibbs, whom Time Out NY has deemed "the best bassist in the world." Gibbs will showcase his Elevated Entity project, which is something of a downtown NYC supergroup and continues Gibbs' exploration of African diaspora music with a fusion of Afro-Brazilian rhythms, funk and rap.

Friday, June 26, 7:30 P.M. (gates open at 6:30 P.M.) Blonde Redhead

The vaunted NYC underground sensualists Blonde Redhead have shape-shifted from dissonant noise explorations to ethereal, dreamy pop over the course of their career, always inspiring intense devotion from their fans. PopMatters says of them, "It is as if they are pressing on piano keys and each key is a trigger that tugs a wire within the listener." There are keys for longing, possession, despair, and ecstasy?and Blonde Redhead travel fast and skillfully over the whole keyboard.

Saturday, June 27, 7:00 P.M. (gates open at 600 P.M.) Celebrate Brooklyn and LimeWire Present Dr. Dog/Phosphorescent/These United States

Esquire has called Philadelphia's Dr. Dog as "your favorite band's favorite band," and Philadelphia Weekly has described the band's music as a blend of "a little folk, blues, indie rock, soul, bluegrass and a whole lot of down-home harmonizing." They channel (The Band one moment, the Beach Boys another, and Pavement the next. In the music played by Brooklyn's Matthew Houck, a.k.a. Phosphorescent, "you can hear Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Will Oldham?but the modern day folkie has a sound all his own." (Gothamist) These United States' 'distinct electro-folk sound' (NPR) rounds out the bill. Thursday, July 2, 7:00 P.M. (gates open at 6:00 P.M.)

Obie Juan Bermudéz/Cucu Diamantes/Rebel Diaz Bud Light Latin Music Series

The Latin Grammy-winning Puerto Rican pop star Obie Juan Bermudéz, whom The Houston Chronicle calls "a talent on par with Juanes or Alejandro Sanz," headlines this triple bill, joined by Yerba Buena singer Cucu Diamantes, whose music is a unique mix of "salsa, funk, cumbia, hip-hop, pop-punk, mariachi, tango, disco and flamenco?just for starters" (The New York Times). Opening the show will be the activist hip-hop outfit Rebel Diaz, whose frontwoman is the mesmerizing rhymer Lah Tere.

Thursday, July 9, 8:00 P.M. (gates open at 7:00 P.M.) Dance STREB: Invisible Forces

STREB, the seminal, Williamsburg-based acrobatic company, celebrates 30 years with Invisible Forces, which combines the thrills of the circus and the velocity of the Indy 500 in one Action event. The show features STREB's new Action Platform, a 20-foot, rotating floor; the España Whizzing Gizmo; and the two-dimensional vertical pipe grid, Airlines. The result is a singular spectacle in which beautiful bodies engage with sexy hardware, exemplifying what The Village Voice recently said of the company: "Streb's unique movement art?kin to sport, circus, physics experiment, and hard labor?has reached a peak of theatricality and dare-all virtuosity."

Friday, July 10, 7:30 P.M. (gates open at 6:30 P.M.) Celebrate Brooklyn and LAMC present Los Amigos Invisibles/Aterciopelados Bud Light Latin Music Series

A featured performance as part of the Latin Alternative Music Conference (LAMC), this double bill brings together two great South American acts. The Venezuelan party band Los Amigos Invisibles is a lusty outfit that combines a "love of disco and funk with their reverence for old-fashioned Latin dances like the mambo and bossa-nova" (New York Post). The Columbian national heroes Aterciopelados are proficient in everything from punk to electro-lounge and jangly Latin folk rock, and have what Time Magazine calls an uncanny ability "to take north-of-the-border musical styles...and breathe new life into them."

Saturday, July 11, 4:00 P.M. (gates open at 3:00 P.M.) Ezra Jack Keats Family Concert A Very Special Show with They Might Be Giants

Featuring Readings of Keats Stories by Claudia Marshall of WFUV Brooklyn's legendary alternative rockers They Might Be Giants are, of course, also now recognized among the foremost creators of cool kids' albums. Billboard calls them "the ultimate fan- and now family-friendly rock act." TMBG's most recent disc, Here Come the 123s, won them the 2009 Grammy Award for Best Children's Album. They return to the Bandshell to headline this year's annual Ezra Jack Keats Family Concert, which will also feature readings of Keats' classic stories by WFUV's Claudia Marshall. The event will also include a special appearance by Livable Streets Education's big purple friend, ZoZo.

Thursday, July 16, 7:30 P.M. (gates open at 6:30 P.M.) Kronos Quartet/Luminescent Orchestrii

For more than 35 years, Kronos Quartet has, time and again, redefined "string quartet, assembling in the process "a body of work unparalleled in its range and scope of expression" (NPR). Their repertoire runs the gamut from Bartók to Charles Mingus to Jimi Hendrix, and their collaborators have been as diverse as Philip Glass, Asha Bhosle, and Nine Inch Nails. They share the Bandshell stage this evening with the frenzied and slightly diabolical Luminescent Orchestrii, a Gypsy punk string ensemble that "plays renditions of Appalachian and Gypsy tunes that run from lively and infectious to deeply melancholy" (Time Out NY).

Friday, July 17, 7:30 P.M. (gates open at 6:30 P.M.) The Robert Cray Band/The Sweet Divines American Express Roots Music Series

According to Rolling Stone, the five-time Grammy-winning Stratocaster legend Robert Cray makes soul-infused blues [that] has become the bridge between traditional and contemporary.²He remains a strong persuader, as potent as ever after three decades of recording and touring. Opening for him will be The Sweet Divines, four young ladies with a fierce band behind them. The group pays homage to the traveling soul revues of the `60s with an authentic sound that evokes Stax, Aretha, James Brown and funky New Orleans. The BBC has exclaimed, "Sign them up, and let them bring the funk to the masses!"

Saturday, July 18, 2:00 P.M.?9:00 P.M. (gates open at 1:00 P.M.) African Festival with King Sunny Adé/Freshly Ground/The Mandingo Ambassadors/Cheikh M'Baye & Sing Sing/Abena Koomson/Yasser Darwish American Express Roots Music Series

Celebrate Brooklyn!'s annual all-day festival of music, food and crafts features a lineup of music selected to keep dancers moving into the night. This year's headliner is the great King Sunny Adé of Nigeria. The bill also includes a rare U.S. appearance by South Africa's Freshly Ground; The Mandingo Ambassadors, from NYC by way of Guinea, whose music has been structured to make you feel good (The New York Times); the wild Senegalese drum troupe Cheikh M'Baye & Sing Sing; the powerful Brooklyn-born, Ghanaian vocalist Abena Koomson; and whirling traditional Egyptian dancer, Yasser Darwish.

Thursday, July 23, 8:00 P.M. (gates open at 7:00 P.M.) Dance Stephen Petronio Company

The New York Times has lauded Stephen Petronio as 'one of the few contemporary dancer makers who have created an instantly recognizable style.' He celebrates his company's 25th Anniversary Season with the dynamic and elemental I Drink the Air Before Me, an evening-length work inspired by the power of extreme weather and storms, both atmospheric and internal. Petronio's predeliction for forward thinking popular music?his dancers have moved to Rufus Wainwright and Antony?is satisfied here by a score from the beloved young composer Nico Muhly.

Friday, July 24, 7:30 P.M. (gates open at 6:30 P.M.) Buckwheat Zydeco/The Holmes Brothers American Express Roots Music Series

The swamp boogie accordion master Buckwheat Zydeco and his band spit out the kind of crackling music that's been missing since the heyday of Stax Records, says The Wall Street Journal, which adds that, "on stage [Zydeco's] attack is relentless." Zydeco shares the bill with the Holmes Brothers, whose harmony-filled blend of American roots music jumps from church to the juke joint and "recalls the era when soul seceded from gospel music (Mother Jones).

Saturday, July 25, 7:30 P.M. (gates open at 6:30 P.M.) Kailash Kher/Electro Morocco

The South Asian superstar, Bollywood icon, and judge of Indian Idol Kailash Kher moves 'among styles without hesitation, adding elements of folk, reggae and rock to Indian pop,' according to The Wall Street Journal, which adds that he "has a voice as appealing as it is thrilling." Kher is joined on this bill by Electro Morocco, which is comprised of five NYC-based Israelis and combines buzzing guitars with synths and beats to concoct a dance floor-friendly mix of retro rock, Middle Eastern folk and warped electro.

Thursday, July 30, 7:30 P.M. (gates open at 6:30 P.M.) Burning Spear/Naomi Shelton & The Gospel Queens

Roots reggae legend Burning Spear will return to Celebrate Brooklyn! for another epic performance. Last year's vital Jah Is Real featured contributions from Bootsy Collins and Bernie Worrel and found Spear at the top of his game. PopMatters said, "Four decades and still dropping knowledge: no other artist, with the possible exception of Toots Hibbert, can lay claim to being reggae's true elder statesman." The evening will begin with the harmonies and church-inflected soul of Naomi Shelton & The Gospel Queens.

Friday, July 31, 7:00 P.M. (gates open at 6:00 P.M.) The Royal Family: Soulive's 10th Anniversary Celebration, with Special Guests John Scofield and Christian Scott/Ivan Neville & Dumpstaphunk

The exceptional jazz-funk trio Soulive celebrates ten years of 'simmering instrumental funk' (Entertainment Weekly) by bringing out The Royal Family, a conglomeration of various side projects and special guests that will come together for the ultimate outdoor summer NYC jam. The proceedings will begin with a performance by Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk, which Offbeat describes as "musically hard-nosed and rooted in 1970s inner city funk."

Saturday, August 1, 7:30 P.M. (gates open at 6:30 P.M.) Music & Movies Dean & Britta: 13 Most Beautiful?Songs for Andy Warhol's Screen Tests/ Crystal Stilts

Dean & Britta, who are beloved as one of the sexiest duo's in rock, in addition to being alumni of the groundbreaking alt-rock band Luna, perform original scores to Warhol's rarely seen short silent film portraits, which captured Factory superstars, celebrities, and anonymous teenagers in mesmerizing four-minute shots. The New York Times says, "The music unabashedly translates the ominous drone of early Velvet Underground songs like I'm Waiting for the Man and Venus in Furs into a more modern electronic mode reminiscent of Giorgio Moroder's chic torture-chamber disco." Commissioned by the Andy Warhol Museum, the project is like an archeological dig unearthing NYC's 1960s art scene, complete with an unforgettable soundtrack.

Thursday, August 6, 7:30 P.M. (gates open at 6:30 P.M.) Music & Movies Purple Rain Sing-A-Long with Escort

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of one of history's greatest pop albums, and the extravagantly, hilariously whacky and over the top film it inspired (the apotheosis of both the purple one's genius and self caricature), Celebrate Brooklyn! invites audiences to don something lacey and ruffled and come out for a night of participatory Prince. There will be lyric subtitles on-screen, although everyone probably knows all the words already. Joy Dragland, lead singer of Brooklyn's live disco orchestra Escort certainly does; Purple Rain was the first cassette she ever owned. Her group will lead the sing-along, after warming up the crowd with an opening set. (Note: The film is Rated R. Admission of anyone under 17 will require an accompanying parent or guardian.)

Friday, August 7, 7:00 P.M. (gates open at 6:00 P.M.) Grace Potter & The Nocturnals/ Deer Tick / The London Souls

Fronted by the Joplin-like vocals and the Hammond B-3 playing of the group's fearless frontwoman, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals play blues-based rock with glorious passion. The music of Deer Tick is hard to categorize?folk? indie rock? alt-country? Americana??but easy to love. They write and play some of the most soulful, inspired music around, littered with lyrics as sharp as a shot of whiskey and rapid-fire guitar solos strong enough to blow the dust off your boots. (Brooklyn Vegan) The night begins with the ferocious riffs of THE LONDON SOULS, who claim Led Zeppelin and Stevie Wonder as prime influences. Few bands so young have any business brandishing the mighty musical chops The London Souls do. (The Deli Magazine)

Saturday, August 8, 7:00 P.M. (gates open at 6:00 P.M.) Celebrate Brooklyn & Lyricist Lounge Present Big Daddy Kane (with Special Guests TBA), Plus a Screening of BDK: The Big Daddy Kane Story

The Lyricist Lounge returns to Celebrate Brooklyn! with a momentous night of hip-hop featuring Brooklyn legend Big Daddy Kane, who will perform with his live band. The show will be preceded by a screening of the short documentary BDK: The Big Daddy Kane Story, directed by Lyricist Lounge's own Anthony Marshall.

Celebrate Brooklyn! Benefit Concerts

Celebrate Brooklyn! benefit concerts offer rare opportunities to see great artists at a reasonable ticket price while supporting the festival's free performances.

July 1 MGMT (Sold Out)
July 21 Jackson Browne
August 11 TV on the Radio
August 12 Bonnie Raitt & Taj Mahal
August 14 & 15 Animal Collective

For ticketing information, please visit www.bricartsmedia.org.

About the Celebrate Brooklyn! Performing Arts Festival

A performing arts program of BRIC Arts | Media | Bklyn, Celebrate Brooklyn! is one of New York City's longest running, free, outdoor performing arts festivals. Launched in 1979, as a catalyst for a Brooklyn performing arts scene and to bring people back into Prospect Park after years of neglect, Celebrate Brooklyn has been an anchor in the park's revitalization and has become one of the city's foremost summer cultural attractions. Over the course of its history Celebrate Brooklyn has presented over 1,700 artists and ensembles reflective of the borough's diversity, ranging from internationally acclaimed performers to emerging, cutting-edge artists. All Celebrate Brooklyn performances are free. The festival attracts upwards of 250,000 attendees from across New York City to the Prospect Park Bandshell each summer.

For more information, please contact Blake Zidell at Blake Zidell & Associates, 718.643.9052 or blake@blakezdell.com.