The Global Mashups series is returning to Flushing Town Hall. Each of the five concerts will feature musical performances from two different regions followed by a lively jam session between all of the artists onstage together.
To kick off the series, there will be a performance on April 20 by Spanglish Fly, the city’s only band dedicated to reviving and renewing Latin boogaloo’s soul and R&B mix, and Chop and Quench, a band comprised of members of the cast and band of FELA! The Musical.
FELA! The Musical centered around the life of Fela Kuti, who created afrobeat, a blend of jazz, funk and African rhythm and harmonies. The show ran on Broadway for one-and-a-half years before touring for two years. Following the tour, they created the FELA! The Concert, an incarnation of the Broadway show, of which Chop and Quench was created.
Though the FELA! band has created original music and explores a variety of afrobeat styles, expect to listen and watch the classic Fela compositions, said Greg Gonzalez, music director and drummer for FELA! The Musical.
Gonzalez, who is also an educator for the Mark Morris Dance Center and Carnegie Hall's Future Music Project, says that the concert will allow people to listen to musical genres they might have never heard before.
Chop and Quench did a number of concerts in Lagos, Nigeria, last year and will bring some of that magic to Flushing.
“This is a chance for people to hear Fela’s music from those who know it intimately and have played with all of Fela’s sons,” Gonzalez said. “It should be a really fun night with a lot of energy.”
For this particular show, afrobeat band Antibalas’ frontman Amayo will join Chop and Quench in place of their usual lead singer, Sahr Ngaujah.
“It’s definitely like friends getting together for us,” Gonzalez said.
Members of Chop and Quench have also worked members of Spanglish Fly in the past. Spanglish Fly effortlessly blends Afro-Caribbean rhythms with the fervor, the feeling, and the harmonics of 60s soul.
They’re looking forward to joining together for the melding of Latin boogaloo and afrobeat.
“Latin music and afrobeat seem to have a natural marriage and I think it will be great,” Gonzalez said. “We want to put this on people’s radar. It’s a chance to hear something different that might grab some people.”
In addition to Spanglish Fly and Chop and Quench’s performance, Flushing Town Hall is hosting Egypt meets Haiti on May 4; Mexico meets Guinea on May 18; Balkans meets El Barrio on June 1; and, Texas meets Peru on June 15. Each Global Mashup series features a dance lesson at 7 p.m. followed by the performance at 8 p.m.
“It’s amazing to behold how the traditional music of one region can blend seamlessly with the sounds of another region,” said Ellen Kodadek, Executive and Artistic Director of Flushing Town Hall. “Each year, we endeavor to make this a unique experience, one you won’t see anywhere else, as artists from across the globe meet for the first time, and then present together.”
Tickets are $16, and $10 for members and students. You can purchase tickets by visiting www.flushingtownhall.org/globalmashup or by calling (718) 463-7700 x222.