A. R. Rahman, Del McCoury, Aloe Blacc, Catherine Russell, and Susana Baca Headline Berklee Signature Music Series

By 
Allen Bush
August 18, 2014
The Del McCoury Band
Catherine Russell
A. R. Rahman
Susana Baca
Aloe Blacc
Photo by Brenda McClearen
Photo by Nancy Carbonaro
Photo by Dabboo Ratnani
Photo courtesy of the artist
Photo courtesy of the artist.

The Signature Music Series at Berklee offers an exciting fall season of concerts featuring bluegrass, Chicago blues, Oscar-winning film scores, Afro-Peruvian music, and a live performance of a storied Marvin Gaye album, presented in collaboration with Revive Music Group. Featured guests—the Del McCoury Band, Catherine Russell, A.R. Rahman, Susana Baca, and Aloe Blaccwill perform with Berklee students and faculty at the series concerts.

The Berklee Performance Center at 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, is host to the Signature Music Series, with the exception of A.R. Rahman Meets Berklee, which will be staged at Symphony Hall. Tickets are available at berkleebpc.com, or at the Berklee Performance Center Box Office. Tickets for the A. R. Rahman event are on sale at the Symphony Hall Box Office or bso.org. Both venues are wheelchair accessible.

Friday, September 12, 8:00 p.m. - Inspired by Muddy and Monroe with the Del McCoury Band and Catherine Russell 

Muddy Waters and Bill Monroe are two American music masters who each helped create and define a blues-based genre: Chicago blues, in the case of Waters, and bluegrass, from Monroe. Special guests the Del McCoury Band and Catherine Russell will perform with students and faculty from the Berklee American Roots Music Program to re-envision the music of Waters and Monroe, still influential to generations of musicians across the world. Paul Rishell and Annie Raines, and the Wayfaring Strangers featuring Tracy Bonham, Margaret Glaspy, and Laura Orshaw, will also perform. Matt Glaser, artistic director of the American Roots Music Program, and Rob Rose, vice president for special programs, are the show’s producers. McCoury will receive a Berklee American Roots Master award.

Thursday, October 24, 8:00 p.m. at Symphony Hall – A.R. Rahman Meets Berklee

An international cast of students will perform the timeless music of A. R. Rahman, the prolific Grammy- and Academy Award-winning cinematic composer for such hits as Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours. Rahman will receive an honorary doctor of music degree, and join a 60-piece Berklee student and faculty ensemble to perform several of his memorable songs. In conjunction with the Berklee India Exchange, concert proceeds will contribute to a scholarship in Rahman’s name for students from India to attend Berklee. The show’s producer is Annette Philip, vocal instructor, and cofounder of the Berklee India Exchange, connecting students with successful players in the flourishing Indian entertainment industry.

Watch Berklee students and faculty discuss their favorite A.R. Rahman song:

Thursday, November 13, 8:00 p.m. - Susana Baca Meets Berklee

Berklee's Latin Music and Culture Celebration presents world-renowned Peruvian singer Susana Baca performing with a 30-piece band composed of Berklee students. Contemporary writing and production majors created arrangements from a selection of Baca’s songs especially for this concert. The concert producer is bass professor Oscar Stagnaro and its director is Matthew Nichol, chair of the Contemporary Writing and Production Department and executive director of the Mediterranean Music Institute.

Thursday, December 4, 8:00 p.m. - Vulnerable: A Marvin Gaye Tribute Featuring Aloe Blacc, Miguel Atwood Ferguson, the Berklee College of Music Symphony Orchestra. Curated and Produced by Revive Music. Note - Tickets for this show will be on sale Tuesday, August 26.

Emerging from a generation rooted in conformity, Marvin Gaye was a nonconformist. More than a superb vocalist and subtle composer, Gaye was a visionary who expressed the tenor of his times. Over a 10-year period starting in the late 1960s, Gaye embarked on a passion project that he later described as the best material he ever recorded. The project became known as Vulnerable. Recording songs such as “Why Did I Choose You?,” “She Needs Me,” “Funny Not Much,” “This Will Make You Laugh,” and “The Shadow of Your Smile” with Bobby Scott and his Orchestra, Vulnerable represents Gaye’s commitment to creating a successful jazz record. In homage of this landmark recording and Gaye’s artistic contributions, Revive Music Group, in collaboration with Berklee, will present the first live performance of Vulnerable in its entirety alongside his popular and lesser-known compositions. Performing will be special guests Aloe Blacc, who cowrote and sang on Avici’s “Wake Me Up,” charting at No. 1 in more than 100 countries, and whose current album Lift Your Spirit includes the Top 10 hit “I’m the Man”; and Miguel Atwood Ferguson, a musician, composer, and arranger who appears on more than 300 recordings from Ray Charles and Henry Mancini to Erykah Badu and Flying Lotus.