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23+ shows to see this week: March 3-10

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Lilac O'Brien
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The Comb Down

The area music scene finally heats up, with a busy week chock-full of all kinds of great music, from African to opera and beyond! Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Eileen Ivers and Rickie Lee Jones all return to Central New York; two new series debut at the Downstairs; The Comb Down gets back to the Upstairs; and Cornell University hosts several stellar concerts.

Though covid-related mandates have been relaxed in the past week, please be sure to check with each show’s event page for various venue protocols, as well as potential postponement or cancellation information. Stay safe, and enjoy as much live music as you can in the coming days!

And don’t forget – there’s still time to enter the 2022 NPR Tiny Desk Contest! It's open to area musicians of any style — you'll just have to upload a video of you or your band performing one original song. The contest is open through March 14. Find out all the details here.

Members of Ladysmith wearing blue robes
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Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Harmonic Convergence

The legendary South African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo will return for its first show in Ithaca since 2018. For 60 years, the five-time Grammy Award winners have won fans around the world with its uplifting vocal harmonies, signature dance moves and charming onstage banter. In 1987, Paul Simon’s “Graceland” album introduced Ladysmith Black Mambazo to the world; the late former South African President Nelson Mandela designated the group “South Africa’s cultural ambassadors to the world,” a title the members carry with them with the highest honor along with their message of peace, love, and harmony.

When: 8 p.m. Friday

Where: State Theatre of Ithaca

Cost: $25-$45

Event Info

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Jim Catalano
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Bobby Henrie and Richie Stearns

String Thing

Richie Stearns and Friends return to South Hill Cider for a night of old-time tunes. Richie, best known for his work with the Horse Flies, Richie & Rosie, and the Evil City String Band, will be joined by Finger Lakes legend Bobby Henrie, whose mastery of styles from jazz to bluegrass has made him one of the area’s most beloved performers, for tonight’s event. See the venue’s covid guidelines here.

When: 4-7 p.m. Thursday

Where: South Hill Cider

Cost: free; donations welcome

Event Info

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Jim Catalano
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Dan Forsyth

Songs to Sing

Dan Forsyth of Driftwood will host Singer/Songwriter Night, a new series taking place every first Thursday of the month at Hopshire: “This is an opportunity for songwriters to share their craft with each other. Bring a song you are working on, it doesn’t have to be complete, to get input from your peers. All are welcome to come listen respectfully.”

When: 6-8 p.m. Thursday

Where: Hopshire Farm and Brewing, Dryden

Cost: free

Event Info

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Electric Avenue

The Electrozone and the Downstairs will debut a new weekly series, “EZ Nights,” which they call “a vibrant and eclectic showcase of artists and entertainers.” This week’s artist is Stepwriterun, whose known for a blend of Detroit-inspired acid house, dub techno, ambient, house, and techno. Hear more here.

When: 7-9 p.m. Thursday

Where: The Downstairs (below the Watershed)

Cost: small cover charge

Event Info

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World Premiere

Opera Ithaca, in association with Ithaca College School of Music and Department of Theatre Arts, will present the world premiere of “We Wear the Sea Like a Coat,” with music by Sally Lamb McCune and libretto by Rachel Lampert and Yvonne Gray. The work tells the contemporary story of an American couple living on an island in Orkney, Scotland for a year: “Sara, an oceanographer, is on an environmental assignment. Jonathan, a writer, is newly unemployed. As outsiders, they find themselves at the center of conflict between conservation and exploitation. In a radically changing world, they face their own existential questions about building a family. As truths unfold, Sara is forced to come to terms with what matters most.”

When: 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday

Where: Hoerner Theatre, Ithaca College

Cost: $12-$18, available online here.

Event Info

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Punk Pioneer

Cinemapolis will close out its screening of the new documentary, “Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché,” about the first woman of colour in the UK to front a successful rock band. She introduced the world to a new sound of rebellion, using her unconventional voice to sing about identity, consumerism, postmodernism, and everything she saw unfolding in late 1970s Britain, with a rare prescience. As the frontwoman of X-Ray Spex, the Anglo-Somali punk musician was also a key inspiration for the riot grrrl and Afropunk movements. But the late punk maverick didn’t just leave behind an immense cultural footprint. She was survived by a daughter, Celeste Bell, who became the unwitting guardian of her mother’s legacy and her mother’s demons. Misogyny, racism, and mental illness plagued Poly’s life, while their lasting trauma scarred Celeste’s childhood and the pair’s relationship. Featuring unseen archive material and rare diary entries narrated by Oscar-nominee Ruth Negga, this documentary follows Celeste as she examines her mother’s unopened artistic archive and traverses three continents to better understand Poly the icon and Poly the mother. Learn more about the film here.

When: closes Thursday, March 3; one show at 8 p.m.

Where: Cinemapolis

Cost: $7-$10.50

Event Info

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Jim Catalano
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DJ ha-MEEN

Subterranean Dance

The Downstairs will also debut a new Friday series for March: The Magenta Lounge, which features local DJs Proper Philth and ha-MEEN trading tracks on their turntables to create a unique experience with a laid-back vibe.

When: 7-11 p.m. Friday

Where: The Downstairs (below the Watershed)

Cost: $5

Event Info

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César Franck

Perfectly Franck

In the year of César Franck’s 200th birthday, Cornell’s University organists Annette Richards and David Yearsley perform a joint recital exploring the musical worlds of one of the central figures of the 19th-century organ repertoire. The Cavaillé-Coll style instrument at St. Luke Lutheran Church in Collegetown faithfully reproduces the sound and feel of the organs that Franck wrote for, and provides a vehicle for Franck’s “Trois Pièces” and "Chorale No. 3 in A Minor.” Also on the program is the “Andante Sostenuto” from the Symphonie Gothique by Franck’s successor at the Paris Conservatoire, Charles Marie Widor, and the music of the composer who was a model for them both, J. S. Bach.

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: St. Luke Lutheran Church, 109M Oak Ave., Collegetown

Cost: free and open to all

Event Info

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Spencer Schwartz
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Andrew Alling

Welcome Return

Andrew Alling will return to downtown Ithaca to showcase his repertoire of original music in a one-man-band format: guitar, bass pedals, harmonica, and vocals – with no looping machine!

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Sacred Root Kava Bar and Tea Lounge

Cost: donations welcome

Event Info

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Mike Darrah
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Facebook.com
Metasequoia returns to the Range Friday night.

Ready to Roll

Metasequoia returns to downtown Ithaca, bringing its blend of rock, reggae, funk, and roots music to the Range. The band has released two albums, “Trilling” and “Insects,” with more music on the way soon. Find out more here.

When: 9 p.m. Friday

Where: The Range

Cost: $5

Event Info

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Lilac O'Brien
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The Comb Down

Combing It Down

The Comb Down returns to downtown Ithaca, bringing with them their incessant funk grooves and boundless energy. The band features some of Ithaca’s top talents – keyboardist Jon Petronzio, bassist Andrew Battles, trombonist TJ Schaper, guitarist Brian Mlodzinski, drummer Ashley Ickes, percussionist Bryan Davis and trumpeter Jack Storer. They’ll be joined by special guests for this show: Pato Z, a multi-instrumentalist who plays bass for Nahko and Medicine for the People; and Jay Spaker, also known as Double Tiger.

When: 10 p.m. Friday

Where: The Upstairs

Cost: $10 in advance, tickets available here; $15 at the door

Event Info

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Women’s Works

Alison Wahl, soprano, and Laura Amoriello, pianist, will present “Women in Music,” a concert of music by living women composers. The program will feature works by Capers, Garrop, Higdon, Powell, Temple, Wahl, and Wallen.

When: 3 p.m. Saturday

Where: Hockett Family Recital Hall, Ithaca College

Cost: free

Event Info

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For the Children

The Cornell Symphony Orchestra, with Michelle Di Russo, conductor, presents its annual Young Person’s Concert. The program includes Stravinsky’s “Firebird Suite” (1919), Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Fantasy-Overture, and a world premiere by Piyawat Louilarpprasert. This family concert will feature an instrument zoo before the performance, as well as curated musical examples during the concert, to engage and inspire younger audience members.

When: 3 p.m. Saturday

Where: Bailey Hall, Cornell University

Cost: free and open to all

Event Info

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Eric Harvey and Michael Stark

Dynamic Duo

Local musicians Eric Harvey and Michael Stark will share an evening of singer-songwriter and solo piano music. Harvey is best known for his work as multi-instrumentalist for the band Spoon, performing internationally and appearing on many of the band's most critically lauded and commercially successful releases, including “Gimme Fiction,” “Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga,” “Transference,” and “They Want My Soul.” After departing the group in 2016, Harvey, a longtime resident of Texas, relocated to his native New York where he joined the touring band of Hamilton Leithauser (The Walkmen), and began performing under his own name. Drawing on a wide range of styles including British and American Folk, New Age, and Electronica, Harvey often performs solo, showcasing his fingerstyle guitar work. Hear more here. Stark, often found weaving his sound among a flight of diverse Ithaca bands – TZAR Wingnut, Analogue Sons – will also share his latest compositions filled with effected piano, bass pedals, vintage drum machines and improvisation.

When: 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Trumansburg Conservatory of Fine Arts

Cost: $12 in advance, available online here; $15 at the door.

Event Info

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Kevin Dossinger
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Ready for Release

Ithaca trio Material Objects are releasing their debut record, the 12" EP "Content vs Carrier," on Habit Forming / Angry Mom Records. A year in the making and the successful navigation of producing a record during a pandemic, “Content vs Carrier” drudges up cosmic post-punk and robust indie rock paired with heavy-duty basslines across seven cuts. Hear more here. Rounding out the bill are fellow locals Chimes Of Bayonets, who themselves have two 7" EPs out on Habit Forming Records, and House Husbands, a Cornell band with 1 Ginger.

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Sacred Root Kava Lounge & Tea Bar

Cost: free; donations welcome

Event Info

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Camille Thurman

Winning Composition

The Ithaca College Jazz Ensemble performs the winner from the 2021-22 David P. and Susan W. Wohlhueter Jazz Ensemble Composition Contest: "The Fireflies of Kabayashi" by Masaya Taniguchi. The concert will feature the acclaimed saxophonist-vocalist Camille Thurman as guest artist. Also featured on the concert will be music by Nicola Corso, Miguel Lopez, Julie Maniscalco, and Kathleen Sakson.

When: 8:15 p.m. Saturday

Where: Ford Hall, Ithaca College

Cost: free and open to all; guests must remain masked at all times.

Event Info

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Ron Adelberg
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Dogs in a Pile

Where Dogs Run Free

Dogs in a Pile come to downtown Ithaca. The New Jersey quintet blends jazz, funk, rock, and psychedelic influences to create its distinctive sound. The band – drummer Joe Babick, guitarists Jimmy Law and Brian Murry, bassist Sam Lucid, and keyboardist Jeremy Kaplan – has built a growing fanbase up and down the east coast, selling out the legendary Stone Pony in Asbury Park last summer. Find out more about them here.

When: 10 p.m. Saturday

Where: The Upstairs

Cost: $10

Event Info

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KIA CALDWELL PHOTOGRAPHY llc
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Karen Slack

Honoring History

The Cornell Concert Series, in partnership with ONEcomposer, presents a celebration of our country’s legacy of Black women composers in a concert that combines the talents of soprano Karen Slack, the Miró Quartet, and collaborative pianist Erika Switzer. On the heels of Black History Month and in the lead-up to International Women’s Day, these artists will present arrangements of art songs, spirituals, and other works by two of the foremost Black women composers to impact the musical field: Florence Price and Margaret Bonds. The program further highlights composers who have been historically overlooked, but whose musical contributions are enduring and undeniable. This singular performance is part of a larger residency that will take place over March 4–7, organized by ONEcomposer. As part of this residency, the performers will create first-ever recordings of works by the composers featured on-stage in Bailey Hall. Additionally, the musicians will work with Cornell students and the young artists of Opera Ithaca.

When: 3 p.m. Sunday

Where: Bailey Hall, Cornell University

Cost: $19-$39, available online here.

Event Info

Sunday Jazz

The Savage Club of Ithaca will host "Jazz Sunday" at its recently renovated building in Lansing.

When: 6-8 p.m. Sunday

Where: The Savage Club Performing Arts Center, 1004 N. Auburn Road, Lansing

Cost: free; donations welcome

Event Info

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Eileen Ivers

Celtic Fire

Grammy Award-winning fiddler Eileen Ivers returns to Central New York, as she continues to push the fiddling tradition boundaries from a folk music staple to a fiercely fresh, powerfully beautiful, intensely driving world stage experience. Her latest album is “Scatter the Light.” Find out more here.

When: 8 p.m. Sunday

Where: Center for the Arts, Homer

Cost: $35, available online here.

Event Info

Rickie Lee Jones.
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Courtesy of the artist
Rickie Lee Jones.

Hitting the Road

Fresh off the publication of her acclaimed memoir, Last Chance Texaco: The Chronicles of an American Troubadour” (Grove Press), Rickie Lee Jones will return to Central New York. Known for hits such as “Chuck E’s in Love,” Jones has carved out a diverse, rewarding career since emerging in the late 1970s with her distinctive blend of jazz, pop, folk, and more. Find out more here.

When: 8 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Center for the Arts, Homer

Cost: $22-$45, available online here.

Event Info

Celebration Day

The Cornell Department of Music will present a series of events celebrating International Women’s Day and featuring collaborations between the voice, piano, and composition studios. Tuesday, March 8, is the global day of celebrating the cultural, political, social, and economic achievements of women and will feature a concert titled “A Voice of One’s Own.” The program, showcasing instruments from Cornell's Center for Historical Keyboards, includes works by Amy Beach, Margaret Bonds, Pauline Hall, Marie Jaëll, Marianna Martines, Fanny Mendelssohn, Florence Price, Clara Schumann, and Pauline Viardot and features students of Lucy Fitz Gibbon, Ricardo Lugo, Ryan McCullough, Gary Moulsdale, Patrice Pastore, and Andrew Zhou.

When: 8 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Barnes Hall

Cost: free and open to all

Event Info

Annette Richards
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Annette Richards

European Vacation

Cornell’s Midday Music for Organ series continues: On the early 18th-century-style North German organ in Anabel Taylor Chapel (2011), modeled after a 1706 instrument by Arp Schnitger, Annette Richards offers a taste of music from beyond the borders of German-speaking Europe. The program takes listeners to the Iberian peninsula, with the tientos of Pablo Bruna, and to the British Isles, with the organ voluntaries of the blind virtuoso John Stanley, juxtaposing their mid-century charm with the sonatas of C. P. E. Bach, composed in 1750s Berlin.

When: 12:30 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Anabel Taylor Chapel, Cornell University

Cost: free and open to all

Event Info

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Daniel McGrew

A Prize Premiere

Cornell faculty soprano Lucy Fitz Gibbon and pianist Ryan McCullough welcome two visiting artists – tenor Daniel McGrew, winner of the 2021 Young Concert Artists International competition, and pianist Michael Brofman, founder of Brooklyn Art Song Society – for a program featuring the concert premiere of Katherine Balch's “estrangement.” Commissioned as a response to Robert Schumann's “Dichterliebe,” and written with poet Katie Ford, “estrangement” is interleaved with and comments on the Schumann, asking listeners to reconsider the very act of human connection.

When: 8 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Barnes Hall, Cornell University

Cost: free and open to all

Event Info

Freight
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Freight returns to Stone Bend Farm on Saturday

More Events

Aiken is at Cortland Beer Company at 6 p.m. Thursday

Benny T brings his Open Mic Posse back to Salt Point Brewing at 6:30 p.m. Thursday

Jeremy Bussman hosts the weekly Open Mic Night at the Upstairs at 7-10 p.m. Thursday

Louiston is at Barnstormer Winery at 5 p.m. Friday

Leo and the Maydays are at Hopshire Brewing at 6-8 p.m. Friday

Clint Bush will NOT be at Homer Hops at 6-8 p.m. Friday, but someone else will

Two for the Road is at Grist Iron Brewing at 6-9 p.m. Friday

The Wranglers are at Cortland Beer Company at 8 p.m. Friday

Patrick Young is at Treleaven Winery at 1-4 p.m. Saturday

Freight and Louiston will join forces at Stone Bend Farm at 4-7 p.m. Saturday

Richie Stearns, Pat Burke, and Steve Selin of the Evil City String Band will joined by Joe Hayward at South Hill Cider at 5-8 p.m. Saturday

Past My Bedtime will be at the Dryden Veteran’s Memorial Home at 5 p.m. Saturday

Tink Bennett and Derek Gasque of Tailor Made are at Summerhill Brewing at 6-8 p.m. Saturday

Peg Newell is at Homer Hops at 6 p.m. Saturday

Joe and Jake are at Grist Iron Brewing at 6-9 p.m. Saturday

In Too Deep is at Cortland Beer Company at 8 p.m. Saturday

Virgil Cain is at Homer Hops at 2 p.m. Sunday

The Center for the Arts in Homer hosts its weekly Open Mic Night at 7 p.m. Tuesday

Adam Parker is at Salt Point Brewing at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday

Sacred Root Kava Bar and Tea Lounge hosts its weekly Open Mic Night at 7 p.m. Wednesday

Louiston
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Louiston

Jim Catalano covers the Finger Lakes music scene for WITH (90.1 FM in Ithaca, WITHradio.org) and its affiliates.