Dianne Reeves, La Santa Cecilia To Headline Free Concert Series

Hartford Courant

Dianne Reeves, Martha Redbone, Lalah Hathaway, Brandy Clark and La Santa Cecilia headline the five free outdoor concerts that highlight the 19th International Festival of Arts & Ideas in New Haven.

The two-week event runs June 14 to 28 and includes 11 ticketed events at venues throughout New Haven, as well as 15 free “ideas” conversations and lectures and more than 50 interactive tours, master classes and activities.

A total of 85 percent of the events of the festival will be free.

“The theme for this year is ‘Transformation and Tradition’,” says Mary Lou Aleskie, the festival’s executive director.

This year’s line-up has a decidedly less international feel compared to previous festivals, with the accent this year on regional and national artists.

The festival will kick off with the first free concert on the New Haven Green on Saturday, June 14 with Grammy Award-winning vocalist and pianist Lalah Hathaway, The opening act will be Ruben Studdard, the winner of “American Idol”’s second season.

Martha Redbone Root Project will be the second free Green concert on Sunday, June 15 with music reflecting influences in the fields of folk, country, gospel, honky-tonk, bluegrass, soul and Native American music. This show comprises a collection of William Blake poems set to Redbone’s music of Appalachia.

Dianne Reeves will perform music from her own songbook accompanied by the New Haven Symphony Orchestra under the baton of music director William Boughton. The free concert will be Saturday, June 21 on the Green.

Grammy-nominated country singer Brandy Clark will perform on the Green on Sunday, June 22.The opening act will be Bronze Radio Return.

The free concert series will end with the Los Angeles-based band La Santa Cecilia on Saturday, June 26, The group won this year’s Grammy Award for best Latin rock album. The opening act is Nation Beat.

Among the ticketed events will be the return of Canadia-based acrobatic-theater group Les 7 doigts de la main (7 Fingers). Last year the group performed a new show, “Sequence 8” at the festival and this time it revives its show “Traces” at the University Theatre June 24 to 28. The show, which played off-Broadway several years ago, also toured the country, playing Hartford’s Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts three years ago.

There will also be the U.S. premiere of “The Events,” a new play by David Grieg with music by John Browne, at the Yale Repertory Theatre June 24 to 28. The show’s six performances, directed by Ramin Gray, will also feature six local choirs, each performing on a different night. The show, which was a hit at the Edinburgh Festival last year, tells of a tragedy and how a community copes in the wake of the traumatic event.

The Elevator Repair Service will present its theater piece, “Arguendo” June 18 to 22 at the Rep, directed by John Collins.

The drama explores the Supreme Court’s oral arguments in Barnes v. Glen Theatre  in 1991, a First Amendment case brought by a group of exotic dancers and the owners of the Kitty Kat Lounge in Indiana.

Performance artist, playwright and rapper Lemon Anderson will present his solo show “County of Kings” June 14 and 15 at Yale Rep, developed and directed by Elise Thoron

In the field of dance, there’s Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance group presenting “Moses(es)” at University Theatre June 18 to 21 and Adele Myers & Dancers presenting “Einstein’s Happiest Thought” June 24 to 27 at the University Theatre.

In the field of music, there’s also jazz violinist Regina Carter performing “Southern Comfort” June 17 and The Irish and American folk group The Gloaming on June 19, both performances at Sprague Hall.

On the New Haven Green, there is France’s Compagnie Carolosolo’s “Ile O” on June 14 and 15, which combines “aquatic poetry and music.”

Cellist Erik Friedlander’s “Block Ice and Propane” will be presented at the Iseman Theater, with photographic images from his parents Lee and Maria Friedlander and a film by Bill Morrison. The show, in collaboration with the Yale University Art Gallery, will be June 15.

There will also be performances by the Yale Choral Artists June 20 and the Yale Institute for Music Theatre will present reading of its two shows, “Afterland” and “Clouds Are Pillows for the Moon” on June 14 and 15.

The ideas portion op the festival will be in a separate blog.

Information: artidea.org.

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