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“Music of Life and Work in Western Pennsylvania: Songs and Rhythms Still With Us”
Thursday, October 25, 2018 @ 7:00 pmFree
Local troubadours Sue Powers (5-string banjo) and Jeff Berman (dulcimer, percussion), mainstays of the popular long-time roots/folk group Devilish Merry, and the fusion folk/world ensemble AppalAsia, will present a unique concert of old time and current home-grown music with a social edge.
Susan Powers.banjo/vocal and Jeff Berman.dulcimer/vocal combine influences from folk and jazz traditions with uniquely original compositions to create music that is soulful and sophisticated, with a hypnotic quality that is all their own.
They are founding members of the group APPALASIA and Susan is also a founding member of Devilish Merry Dulcimer Players News wrote, ”Jeff’s dulcimer and Susan’s claw-hammer banjo seem to merge as one… the rhythmic flow and groove is really outstanding. Susan has a voice you won’t forget, at once earthy and bluesy as it is mysterious and haunting.” And after hearing them at NERFA, David Amram wrote, “Those of us who sat and listened… were all literally spell bound. Hearing the banjo played in new ways with dulcimer was just what the world needs to hear.”
Susan Powers, a multidiscipline artist who has been a freelance teacher for 30 years. She was raised in O’Hara Township near Pittsburgh Pennsylvania in an artistic and musical family. Her art education started with the Tam O’Shanter classes at the Carnegie Museum, then obtaining a BFA in Painting from Carnegie Mellon University, and a MFA in painting from Pratt institute in NYC. Her visual art ranges from documentary photography, digital ink jet print collages, abstract oil paintings and paintings with handmade paper. She continues to explore the music of the banjo from the perspective of a trained visual artist, creating a personal approach in style of playing and contemporary issues in song. She has shown and performed nationally, and internationally and her work is in many private collections.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has written about Susan that “…her polyrhythmic…claw-hammer style [explores] inside the rhythm… an Afro-blues style applied to Celtic music…”. The Pittsburgh City Paper has written, “(her songs)… convey a sense of drama… her approach to the banjo – a bluesy variation on claw hammer plucking – makes her an original.”
Jeff Berman is a multi-instrumentalist, improvising artist, composer, and educator whose work reflects his global musical vision. A native of NYC now living in Pittsburgh, his genre-extending concept on vibraphone, mountain dulcimer, percussion, and drums has allowed him to collaborate, across stylistic, and cultural, boundaries, with a diverse group of artists from across the planet.
Jeff has performed internationally both as a solo artist and as a member of various ensembles. Some of the artists he has performed, recorded, and collaborated with include clarinet/mandolinist Andy Statman, pianist Paul Bley, tabla master Samir Chatterjee, singer Linda Thompson, saxophonist Dave Liebman, cellist/composer Robert Een, singer Susan McKeown, cellist/producerArthur Russel, banjo-master Tony Trischka, Tibetan singer Pasang Dolma, guitarist/producer Matt Balitsaris, and choreographers Yin Mei, and Gia Cacalano and to name just a few. He is a founding member of the group AppalAsia that features his evocative and ambitious vision for extending the concept and language of mt. dulcimer performance and composition As a composer Jeffs’ music has been used for dance, theater, performance, and film, including the Academy Award nominated documentary In Our Water.