Canada Comes to Berklee

Wednesday / December 12, 2007 / 7:15 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center
136 Massachusetts Avenue
United States

The New Pornographers are AC Newman and a group of ridiculously talented people, uniquely equipped to realize his musical ambitions. The group formed in 1997, immediately recorded the classic "Letter From An Occupant," and it was on. Their four full-lengths (as well as Newman's 2004 solo debut) have received wild critical and public acclaim, and they continue to enjoy bigger (and taller and smarter) audiences. The band’s latest album, Challengers, continues along the lines of 2005's Twin Cinema, whose "relative melancholy makes it the band's best album yet" [Blender].  Dialing back the frantic pace, these are songs with dynamics and epic sweep. While it's still a "top-down summer power-pop classic" (or any variation thereof that the band's enjoyed over the last several years), this is something more personal, more lasting.

With his third album, ATLANTIS-Hymns for Disco, the Trinidad-born, Toronto-raised musician k-os has joined the ranks of such out-of-box visionaries as the Beastie Boys, Beck, Gnarls Barkley, Kanye West, and OutKast. ATLANTIS is a sonic tour-de-force, encapsulating the best of old-school hip-hop, indie-rock, and soul, while presenting an artist with a unique and powerful voice all his own. The sonic dexterity shown on k-os's latest album isn't anything new. In just a few short years, the artist (whose name stands for "Knowledge of Self") has scored numerous accolades, including Canada's prestigious Juno, a Source hip-hop award, and a Grammy nomination for his collaboration with the Chemical Brothers. In Canada, he's already a multi-platinum artist. Throughout Europe, he's considered a groundbreaking MC, and in the U.S., he's quickly becoming a commercial and critical success.

Bill King is a multi-talented blues pianist, composer, and publisher whose recording and production credits include Liberty Silver; Bill King and the Jazz Report All-StarsFrom the Heart, a tribute to Oscar Peterson; and most recently, Bill King’s Saturday Nite Fish Fry’s Jump Shout Rock da House and Dirt Road Blues; The Rockit 88 Band’s Too Much Fun; and the King.Alleyne.Roth Trio’s It Might As Well Be Spring. These projects highlight King’s versatility as both a keyboardist and composer.

Berklee student performers—vocalists Alison Slaight, Rebecca Muir, Tara Kieth, and Ryan Shergold; and fiddler Ivonne Hernandez—will be directed by Rob Rose, associate vice president for special programs, and Ken Zambello, professor of ensembles.