Steel Pulse opens Schenectady Music Haven series on Sunday – The Daily Gazette
Breakthrough band Steel Pulse, heading to Schenectady on Sunday, seem like a fitting choice to kick off Music Haven’s 2022 season.
The Grammy-winning reggae band from England, led by guitarist/vocalist David Hinds, rose to fame in the 1970s and became known for their socially conscious lyrics and irresistible beats.
Influenced by the legendary Bob Marley, Steel Pulse were formed at Handsworth Wood Boys School and the line-up included Hinds, Selwyn Brown, Basil Gabbidon and Ronald McQueen among others. They shared bills with punk rockers like The Clash and reggae/ska band The Specials early in their career.
Over the years, the band’s roots reggae sound evolved with the addition of jazz and punk music. His lyrics remained politically charged, especially with songs like “Ku Klux Klan”. Several Steel Pulse albums have been nominated for Grammy Awards, and their 1986 album “Babylon The Bandit” earned a win for Best Reggae Recording.
Starting in the mid-2000s, the band took a roughly 15-year hiatus from producing new music and returned in 2019 with “Mass Manipulation”. The album, which is the band’s 12th studio release, speaks out against human trafficking and police brutality, among other human rights issues. The 17-track album also removes the electronic elements heard in earlier songs.
“This album is more organic,” vocalist and guitarist Hinds said in an interview with Key West Florida Weekly. “We don’t pile the horns a million times over, like we normally would, to the point where they started to sound synthetic. I also think the vocal delivery on this album has more energy and the lyrics are more focused.
On Sunday, Steel Pulse opens the Music Haven series, which comes back strong for the first time since the pandemic began.
“I really felt, with the theme of unification and upliftment, that kicking off the show this summer with a reggae show was a good idea,” said production art director Mona Golub. .
The group’s socially conscious messages also fit into the series.
“[Steel Pulse is] definitely a social justice group and it’s definitely part of the concept of traveling the world one gig at a time,” Golub said. “You get the music, you get the culture behind the music, the ideas, the dreams, the beliefs and I think that’s part of what makes our trips to the park so special.”
Golub has seen the band perform in years past and even brought Steel Pulse to the capital region to perform in the concert series it produced in the 1990s and early 2000s at the Lakehouse Theater at Albany’s Washington Park.
“The fact that Steel Pulse are truly dedicated to making the world a better place through their music means something and they bring that to life every time they perform,” Golub said.
Honduran-born Garifuna artist Aurelio will open the concert.
Throughout the summer, the series will feature a mix of national and international bands, including the Steep Canyon Rangers, Dakha Brakha, Frigg and Spanish Harlem Orchestra, among others.
Since announcing Music Haven’s lineup earlier this year, Golub said, “We’ve had great feedback from people, not only that we have a full season to show, but I think they realized very quickly that the caliber of the season is off the charts. We’ve never had so many Grammy nominations, Grammy winners and Blues Award winners. . . artists performing at Music Haven as part of a season.
Golub also thanked the more than 60 companies and organizations that sponsor the series and stepped up this year.
“I’m forever grateful not just for the financial support, but for the trust they have in me to bring the community together in a positive way,” Golub said.
Music Haven shows begin at 7 p.m., unless otherwise specified, and will take place at the Agnes Macdonald Music Haven Stage in Central Park. Proctors is the site of the rain, but on the following dates the shows will take place rain or shine in Central Park: July 10, July 23, July 28, August 4, August 13, August 20, and August 26-27. Refer to the Music Haven contact line, 518-660-0675 or find the Music Haven Concert Series on Facebook to confirm location after noon on show days.
Here is the complete program:
Sunday, July 10—Steel Pulse
True reggae revolutionaries whose legacy has always been to better humanity through music, Steel Pulse frames founder David Hind’s straight vocals in great Caribbean beats. Special guests: Aurelio
Sunday, July 17 — Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas
A Louisiana Music Hall of Famer at the top of his game, Nathan Williams brings a Zydeco dance party out of his accordion wherever he goes, bringing pizzazz and wit.
Special guests: The Brass Machine
Saturday, July 23—NipperFest (11 a.m. – 10 p.m.)
Celebrate the local 518 music scene on two stages featuring The Figgs, Sirsy, Super 400, Girl Blue, Erin Harkes, Sawyer Fredericks, Sydney Worthley, Reese Fulmer and more! Local food, local craft beer, and local nonprofits complete this inaugural event.
Sunday, July 24—Sammy Miller and the Congregation
On a mission to share joyful, world-conscious jazz by honoring and advancing
America’s original musical art form, Miller and Company is expanding its reach. Special Guest: SUNY Schenectady School of Music Faculty Jazz Combo
Thursday, July 28—Blues BBQ with Shemekia Copeland (5-9:30 p.m.)
A powerhouse vocalist whose stage presence and recordings have garnered worldwide acclaim, Copeland headlines this three-course blues banquet. Local ‘Blues Challenge’ heroes Mark & Jill and Matt Mirabile open on stage, as the smoking barbecue comes out of the grill.
Sunday, July 31—Lemon Bucket Orchestra
A revolutionary phenomenon, brimming with charisma and Balkan-Klezmer-Gypsy-Punk Party Band influences, Lemon Bucket Orkestra is absolutely irresistible. Special guest: Golfström
Thursday, August 4 — Dakha Brakha
The ethereal, haunting music of Eastern European vocal roots is airlifted into the 21st century by this passionate and adventurous “ethno-chaos” Ukrainian quartet.
Sunday, August 7 — Spanish Harlem Orchestra
From Puerto Rico via the barrios of New York comes three-time Grammy-winning salsa dura and Latin jazz from SHO. Special guest: Alex Torres and Sus Amigos
Saturday, August 13—Schenectady Symphony Orchestra
Led by Artistic Director Glen Cortese, the SSO returns with “A Night at The Movies” selections of your favorite films, plus a few other surprises. Special Guest Singer: Mia Scirocco
Sunday, August 14 — Steep Canyon Rangers
A Grammy-winning and Billboard chart-topping sextet that blends their signature bluegrass with elements of pop, country and folk-rock. Special guest: Nora Brown
Saturday, August 20 — “Summer of Soul”
*Mini-Fest at 5 p.m., Film at dusk
Questlove’s multi-award-winning musical documentary pays homage to the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, capturing the explosion of black music, art and pride that marked Mount Morris Park’s history that summer . The festivities begin with soul food, music, art and community.
Sunday, August 21—Frigg
Led by four violins, this septet of Finnish virtuosos has carved out a place for itself in folk music with its feel-good tunes and exquisite musicality. Special guests: Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas
Friday and Saturday August 26 and 27 – Will Kempe’s Players: “A Comedy of Errors”
Will Kempe’s Players delivers classic Shakespearean comedy, filled with unexpected role reversals, mistaken identities and enough slapstick humor to entertain from start to finish. Period music by Duo Marchand.
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Categories: Life and Arts, Schenectady