The place where artists and writers with Maine connections are showcased.

Posts from the ‘Bands’ category

Take Me to the River, a documentary about Memphis blues — debuts at MIFF, Maine

By Ramona du Houx. First published in Maine Insights

Take Me to the River, a documentary that traces the roots and rhythms of the Blues out of Memphis, Tennessee, made its Northeast coast debut at the Maine International Film Festival (MIFF) last summer. Soul sounds filled the movie theater with blues rhythms as well as compilations of some of the most talented living blues legends singing with hip-hop and rap performers. The documentary brought together generations who are bound together because of the music’s roots. As rapper Snoop Dogg said, “The music they were making in their time is exactly what we make. We all came from the ghetto … it’s the same connection. The power that we have is the power they gave us.”

Take Me to the River follows the artists through the creative process of recording a historic new album, which is now for sale. Frayser Boy, William Bell, and William “Boo” Mitchell were at MIFF for the screening and talked with an exuberant audience after the showing of the movie.

The movie showed how inspirational, community-based blues music can heal with the power of love. Read more

Portland, Maine to have more concerts at State Pier

Photo by Ramona du Houx

Photo by Ramona du Houx

At a meeting in December the Portland City Council approved a request from Waterfront Concerts to expand the programming offered at the Maine State Pier. The Old Town-based concert promotion group led by Alex Gray plans to increase the number of concerts it will hold from five in 2014 to more than eight in 2015.

Last year was the first year Waterfront Concerts began booking shows at the pier, with 3,000 people per concert. To start the second annual Reggae Fest will be held on the pier on Aug. 8, featuring an array of reggae bands from all over New England and the world playing all afternoon and evening.

Portland Artists Announce Holiday “FunkFest for FairPoint Strikers”

WHAT: Benefit Concert for Striking FairPoint Workers, Tickets $10 at the door
WHEN: Monday, December 22, doors open at 8:30 pm, show starts at 9 pm
WHERE: Empire, 575 Congress Street, Portland

A lineup of some of Portland’s most prominent musicians is holding a “FunkFest for FairPoint Strikers” on Monday, December 22, at Empire music hall. The evening will be headlined by the eight-piece band Model Airplane. Adam Waxman and Joe Farrell and special guest Kenya Hall will also perform.

The announcement of the benefit concert at Empire marks the latest surge in public support for the FairPoint strikers. Since the strike began on October 17, the workers’ relief fund has received nearly $150,000 in donations.

“The community support we’ve received has been amazing,” said Peter McLaughlin, chair of the bargaining committee of the nearly 2,000 union workers at FairPoint. Read more

Ursula K. Le Guin talks about the dangers to literature and what can be done

Ursula K. Le Guin was honored at the National Book Awards November 20, 2014, and gave a speech about the dangers to literature and how they can be stopped. Le Guin received wide recognition for her novel The Left Hand of Darkness, which won the Hugo and Nebula awards in 1970. Her subsequent novel The Dispossessed made her the first person to win both the Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novel twice for the same two books.

Thank you Neil, and to the givers of this beautiful reward, my thanks from the heart. My family, my agent, editors, know that my being here is their doing as well as mine, and that the beautiful reward is theirs as much as mine. And I rejoice at accepting it for, and sharing it with, all the writers who were excluded from literature for so long, my fellow authors of fantasy and science fiction—writers of the imagination, who for the last 50 years watched the beautiful rewards go to the so-called realists.

I think hard times are coming when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom. Poets, visionaries—the realists of a larger reality. Read more

Stonington gallery offers jazz concerts

The g-Watson Gallery will present two jazz concerts in July featuring internationally acclaimed musicians. On Sunday, July 6, pianists Bruce Barth and Eri Yamamoto will perform piano duos, according to a news release from the gallery.

Barth studied at the New England Conservatory of Music and initially toured extensively with Terence Blanchard before leading his own groups and playing as a sideman with many others. He has performed on over 100 recordings and movie soundtracks, including many as a leader. Read more

Old Port Festival in Portland, now a three day celebration, a huge success

With glorious summertime weather and an expanded three-day schedule of events to stimulate and engage any festival-goer the Old Port Festival was a huge success this year.

Families enjoyed science presentations at the park on Exchange Street designed for kids as well as a rock- climbing wall near the City Hall and the traditional parade on Sunday featuring the Shoestring Puppet Theater with their fantastic papier-mâché puppets that are two stories high.

“I loved the big sun, and the pirate gave me a high-five,” said John Connors, 8.

The mythological puppets energized crowds as they rambled amiably down Exchange Street. This year there was something for everyone at the Old Port Festival.

“We’re trying to make it more of a destination event and to broaden the scope to focus on all of Portland’s downtown, not just one area,” said Steve Hewins, executive director of Portland’s Downtown District, the merchants group that runs the Old Port Festival. That focus included the arts district, which kick started the festival during the Friday night art walk. Read more