PAUL SIMON at BAM
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Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) to present “Songs from The Capeman” April 1-6;
Concert Series is First of Three-Part Celebration of Paul Simon’s Music
Performers to include Oscar Hernandez and Spanish Harlem Orchestra,
Obie Bermudez, , Claudette Sierra, Paul Simon, Ray de la Paz, Little Anthony and the imperials and more;
Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) is proud to produce Songs from The Capeman (April 1 through April 6, 2008), a special concert staging of Paul Simon’s 1998 Broadway show, The Capeman. The show’s lauded music, in performances at the BAM Harvey Theater (651 Fulton St), will feature Paul Simon, Oscar Hernández and the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Claudette Sierra, Obie Bermudez, Ray De La Paz, Little Anthony and the Imperials and other guests.
Paul Simon’s Capeman songs—featuring music by Paul Simon and lyrics by Paul Simon and Derek Walcott—tell the gripping story of gang member Salvador Agron, convicted of killing two teenagers in the West Side Story-era of the 1950’s. The music and lyrics weave together the sounds of Latin rhythms with doo-wop, gospel and rock ‘n’ roll. “These songs have a contemplative, sensuous elegance all their own,” said The New York Times. Calling the Capeman music “superb,” Alec Wilkinson prophetically opined in his 2002 New Yorker profile of Simon, “The production probably would have been better received had it played at, say, the Brooklyn Academy of Music.”
The Capeman’s original musical director and arranger Oscar Hernández, who arranged the original show (as well as the theater hits Quien Mató a Hector Lavoe and La Lupe), will join top-flight talent that will include a mix of original cast members and newcomers to the music: Hernández brings his Grammy-winning Spanish Harlem Orchestra to interpret the mambo-based score, while Puerto Rico-born, New Jersey-bred vocalist Obie Bermudez (“Antes”) and the veteran New York cantante Ray De La Paz step into the roles originally created onstage by Marc Anthony and Ruben Blades. Latin jazz vocalist and Queens native Claudette Sierra reprises her songs from the show’s Broadway run. As a special treat, Little Anthony and the Imperials (“Tears on My Pillow”) also lend their incomparable harmonies to the evening.
“We at BAM have been honored with a chance to reposition the music from The Capeman so that the songs can truly be heard. Our six-night program presents these finely-crafted pieces in a long-overdue new light,” Says Joseph Melillo, Executive Producer at BAM.
The Capeman concerts are the first in the three-part series Love in Hard Times: The Music of Paul Simon, a month-long program celebrating the music and lyrics of one of America’s greatest artists. Songs from the Capeman will be followed by Under African Skies (April 9-13), which features Simon’s South African-inspired music and American Tunes (April 23-27), which will include some of Simon’s most beloved songs over the course of his extraordinary career, interpreted by several guest star appearances.
Paul Simon: Songs from The Capeman
Produced by BAM
Producer Chris Wangro
April 1 - 6, 2008 at 8pm
BAM Harvey Theater (651 Fulton St)
Tickets: $30, 50, 65 (call BAM Ticket Services at 718 636 4100 or visit www.BAM.org
SONGS FROM THE CAPEMAN
During his distinguished career Paul Simon has been the recipient of many honors and awards including twelve Grammy Awards, three of which (Bridge Over Troubled Water, Still Crazy After All These Years, and Graceland) were albums of the year. In 2003 he was given a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for his work as half of the duo Simon and Garfunkel. He is an inductee of The Songwriters Hall of Fame and is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame both as a member of Simon and Garfunkel and as a solo artist. His song “Mrs.Robinson” from the motion picture The Graduate was named in the top ten of The American Film Institute’s 100 Years 100 Songs. He was a recipient of The Kennedy Center Honors in 2003 and was named as one of Time Magazine's “100 People Who Shape Our World” in 2006. Recently, Mr. Simon was a recipient of the first Gershwin Prize for “Popular Song” awarded by the Library of Congress.
Of Simon’s many concert appearances he is most fond of the two concerts in Central Park in New York (with his partner and childhood friend Art Garfunkel in 1981 and as a solo artist in 1991) and the series of shows he did at the invitation of Nelson Mandela in South Africa—the first American artist to perform in post-apartheid South Africa.
Paul Simon’s philanthropic work includes the co-founding of The Children's Health Fund with Dr. Irwin Redlener. The CHF donates and staffs mobile medical vans that bring health care to poor and indigent children in urban and rural locations around the United States. In the 20 years since its inception it has provided over 1,500,000 doctor/patient visits. In the wake of Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina it was the primary health care source for those communities decimated by the storms. Mr. Simon has also raised millions of dollars for worthy causes as varied as AMFAR, The Nature Conservancy, The Fund for Imprisoned Children In South Africa, and Autism Speaks. In 1989 The United Negro College Fund honored him with its Frederick D. Patterson Award.
Paul Simon liner notes on story of The Capeman:
The director and leader of the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Oscar Hernández has arranged Latin music and jazz for successful theater shows including Quien Mató a Hector Lavoe and La Lupe. He was also the musical director of Ruben Blades’ group, Seis del Solar. Hernández worked closely on the original Capeman music with Paul Simon.
Spanish Harlem Orchestra
Styled as a New York version of the Buena Vista Social Club, this Grammy-winning group of Latin music veterans helmed by pianist Oscar Hernández represents the unsung heroes of salsa and mambo while spotlighting some of the genre’s most promising new talent. Their 2007 release United We Swing (Six Degrees Records) has just been nominated for “Tropical Album of the Year” by Billboard’s Latin Music Awards.
Latin jazz vocalist Claudette Sierra has performed alongside some of salsa’s greats, including Celia Cruz and Marc Anthony. She began working with Paul Simon in 1995 as he began crafting the songs that would eventually debut in The Capeman. The daughter of a Cuban father and Nuyorican mother, the Queens-based singer was part of Capeman’s original Broadway cast. Her latest release is the 2006 CD About Time.
Ray De La Paz
A veteran Latin singer with roots in NYC’s doo-wop scene, Ray De La Paz is a cantante’s cantante. Having cut his teeth in the bands of Ray Barretto and Louie Ramirez, he has performed with many of the greats including Tito Puente and is one of the defining voices of “salsa romantica”. De La Paz currently performs with the Spanish Harlem Orchestra.
Born in Puerto Rico and raised in Vineland, New Jersey, Obie Bermudez has established himself as a Latin singer and songwriter of considerable talent, at home in rock, salsa, and pop settings. He was nominated for a Latin Grammy for his first release Antes (Before) and won for the followup CD Todo el Año (All Year). His latest release is Lo Que Trajo el Barco (What the Ship Brought In).
Little Anthony and the Imperials
Doo-wop legends Little Anthony and the Imperials were formed in New York City in 1958, and are remembered for hits including “Tears on My Pillow” and “Shimmy Shimmy Ko Ko Bop.” A half-century later, the group continues to perform with almost all of the original members, a rarity in doo-wop. The group are recipients of the Rhythm and Blues Foundation “Pioneer” award.
"I feel extremely honored that Paul Simon wants Spanish Harlem Orchestra (SHO) & myself to be part of an important tribute to his music. He is an American icon whose music transcends time and place. Working with him on the Broadway Show "The Capeman" gave me insight into his musical genius which I am happy to relive with these concerts"
-- Oscar Hernández [Los Angeles, Feb. 20th, 2008]
“About thirteen years ago, as an emerging vocalist with some track record, but much left to learn, I was thrilled and honored when Paul hired me to come to his studio and sing the songs he was writing for the female roles in The Capeman. In the years that I participated in the creation of the musical I came to fully understand the balance that a great artist strikes between a natural gift, skill, originality, focus and conviction. I saw it every day working with Paul and I’m still inspired by the experience. And I’m so glad that, after all this time, this beautiful music will be heard again.”
-- Claudette Sierra [New York City, Feb 23, 2008]
Visa Signature is a major sponsor of Love in Hard Times: The Music of Paul Simon.
BAM 2008 Spring Season is sponsored by Bloomberg. Programming in the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House is supported and endowed by The Howard Gilman Foundation. Programming in the BAM Harvey Theater is endowed by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
Leadership support for Songs from The Capeman is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.