The Peoples' Voice Cafe

An alternative coffeehouse
offering quality entertainment.

~ Spring 2010 Season ~

February 6th, 2010:
Buskin & Batteau

With the release of their long-awaited new CD, Red Shoes and Golden Hearts, award-winners David Buskin and Robin Batteau demonstrate that despite their 13-year hiatus in order to, 1) "raise kids," and 2) " take a nap", they have not lost their unique alchemy, their " irresistible amalgam of melodic, sensual pop, folkie grit and killer wit"(Washington Post). Ably assisted by super-percussionist Marshal Rosenberg, David (on piano and guitar) and Robin (on violin and guitar) take therir audiences on a journey described by the NY Times as "by turns acerbic, funny and plaintive. Buskin and Batteau are breathing new life into the genre of the folk-pop singer/songwriter." They've played in Carnegie Hall and on London street corners; worked with or written for almost everybody: Judy Collins, Tom Paxton, Joan Baez, Bonnie Raitt, Christine Lavin and Josh White, Jr., f'rinstance; and shared Grammy, Emmy, Clio and Gold Record awards and an Oscar nomination. For their work in the nonprofit sector, they've each been honored with the World Folk Music Association's Kate Wolf Award.

February 13th, 2010:
Rod MacDonald

Throughout a 35-year performing career, Rod MacDonald has been entertaining audiences worldwide with his timeless ballads, modern folk songs, and his musical versatility. He's a prolific and poignant communicator, regarded as "one of the most politically and socially aware lyricists of our time." (All Music Guide). The first American folksinger to tour the liberated Czech Republic, at the Straznice Festival he debuted his passionate anthem "For The People," a tribute to the newly freed Czechs. His songs have been covered by the likes of Dave Van Ronk, Christine Lavin, Four Bitchin' Babes and Garnet Rogers. Now based in South Florida, Rod was a major part of the 80s Greenwich Village folk renaissance, frequently headlining at the Speakeasy and Folk City. As evidenced by his most recent release, "After The War," which Dirty Linen calls "the one his fans have been waiting for," Rod seamlessly weaves romantic ballads in-between his trademark tongue-in-cheek socio-political commentaries. "Think Phil Ochs, Loudon Wainwright and Bob Dylan all wrapped in one." (Dan's Distractions).

February 20th, 2010:
"Two Lives to Live"

Susan Gordon-Clark: "Red Flags"
"Red Flags," written and performed by Susan Gordon-Clark, is a chilling one-act anatomy of an abusive relationship. Dana McCoy, Creative Director and Founder of the Pillowfight Theatre Festival where "Red Flags" premiered, says, "I beseech you, if you are a woman, if you have daughters, sisters, girlfriends, know anyone in a potentially abusive relationship, or just love thrillers, see this play. Susan's deft unfolding of a human frog in a slowly heating pot of water is hair-raising, and the audience responses show me that I'm not alone in my strong response to this story and her artful portrayal of it. And it could literally save lives or years of someone's life."

Laura Warfield: "Life Stories"
"Life Stories: songs along the way," is written & performed by Laura Warfield. Native New Yorker Laura's life journey is reflected in her songwriting. Her topics are wide-ranging, from what passes for the economy to women's issues to the possibilities of peace in the world. Victory Review Music says "Warfield writes from the heart with a good bit of magical humor." Songs about "lonely hearts in the city" ("Lenny and Lucy") and the "Unemployment Line" prove a streetwise background. Through well-placed musical beat and well timed lines of tongue-in-cheek, Warfield keeps you up and listening." Mary Travers said "there's poetry in those lyrics," and Sing Out magazine calls her music "catchy and captivating."

February 27th, 2010:
Spook Handy

There are too many messages on the airwaves and in the ether that sneer that we are not good enough, we should feel shame and we can't win today's social and spiritual challenges. But once you attend a Spook Handy concert you'll know why his songs have been covered by dozens of positive, heart-lifting artists and why he's appeared on stage with the likes of Pete Seeger, Peter Yarrow and Donovan. The passion, purpose and spirit of American folk music ring loud and clear through a rich blend of Americana, folk, bluegrass, blues and original material.

Mike Agranoff

Mike Agranoff is one of those folk performers who steadfastly defy categorization. He draws his material from traditional ballads and fiddle tunes, Tin Pan Alley, contemporaries in the folk world, and his own witty pen. He delivers it with a skilled hand on guitar, piano, and concertina, an almost telepathic transmittal of the essence of the song, and an occasionally sly twinkle in the eye in anticipation of some of the most horrible parodies ever perpetrated on an unsuspecting audience.

Peter Pasco

No one else plays guitar and racked harmonica like Peter Pasco, and no one else writes songs like his. The melodies are unique and the lyrics subtly crafted, with novel metaphors and internal rhymes that delight the ear. His subject matter is moving and thought-provoking, reflecting an interesting life that started in Tallahassee, Florida, and has included folk groups and rock bands, an M.A. in English, and stints as a plant care specialist and a music therapist.

March 6th, 2010:
Jolie Rickman Celebration

Celebrate International Women's Day with an evening of creativity, love and compassion in the spirit of Jolie's songs, which inspire the same. With special guests Pamela Means, Colleen Kattau and Some Guys (Dave Pandori, Mike Brandt, Jamie Yaman, Yuri Gohan), Barry Kornhauser, Craig Rouskey, Nervous But Excited. Singer-songwriter and activist Jolie Christine Rickman (1970-2005) was a critically-acclaimed musician and cultural activist with a nationwide community of support. A dedicated student of feminism, nonviolence and direct action, Jolie was in part inspired to music after studying with Coretta Scott King at The King Center in Atlanta, GA. Years later Jolie left a doctoral program in Social Movements to devote herself to music and social change. As a result, Jolie's music and spirit reached out, offering her revolutionary spirit to untold thousands around the US and abroad. Her eclectic style of music and performance was celebrated for its sonic, lyric and social innovation. Jolie's CDs, reissued with bonus tracks, will be available at the show.

March 13th, 2010:
Tribute to Mercedes Sosa
A Legend of Latin American Song

with Rebecca Salazar & Barry Kornhauser

Singer Rebecca Salazar and guitarist/cellist Barry Kornhauser reignite revolutionary and emotional sparks from the songbook of this Argentinian visionary (July 9, 1935-October 4, 2009). Her music runs the gamut from the political to the intensely personal, giving voice to the spirit, history, and people of Latin America.

Jean Rohe and her Band

Celebrating her debut album, Lead Me Home, Jean Rohe is quickly becoming a gem of New York City's jazz and Brazilian music scene. After winning two awards at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2006, Jean assembled an unusual sextet, featuring accordion, clarinet, and South American percussion. The resulting project involves the full breadth of Jean's stylistic attractions, challenging traditional boundaries around musical genres. Her original compositions and fresh arrangements of songs from Latin America explore the intersections of jazz, North American folk music, Brazilian and Afro-Peruvian traditions.

March 20th, 2010:
Matt Jones: 50 years of songwriting

Tonight, songs of freedom and struggle featuring international freedom singer and composer Matt Jones. A former Field Secretary of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and former director of the SNCC Freedom Singers, Matt was arrested 29 times in the movement. His repertoire of over 500 songs includes his "Ballad of Medgar Evers," used in the film The Ghosts of Mississippi. Currently Matt travels the world teaching civil rights history, relating his experiences and singing freedom songs. He's also the 1986 founder and director of the Open House Coffee House (call 212-874-3423 for info).

Donal Leace

Singer/songwriter, educator, producer and director Donal Leace started out as "Washington's Favorite Folk Singer" when a 60s college student at Howard University. He can sing it all, but is at his best on the slow, melodic ballads that have become his trademark. He brings his passion for social justice and civil rights to his music. With roots in traditional American folk music, he's sought to incorporate the musical traditions and political concerns of the countries he's visited (Turkey, Japan, but especially South Africa and Cuba).

March 27th, 2010:
Brooklyn Women's Chorus
with Annie Dinerman

The Brooklyn Women's Chorus, directed by Bev Grant, is back for their annual Peoples' Voice Cafe concert. Now in their 13th year of existence, this spirited community chorus based in Park Slope continues to demonstrate the joy of singing, combined with songs that nourish our minds and touch our hearts and souls. They are excited to be performing a number of new arrangements. Joining them at this performance will be singer/songwriter Annie Dinerman, an award-winning, contemporary folk singer-songwriter with a funny, frank and definitely female point of view.

April 3rd, 2010:
Closed for Easter & Passover

April 10th, 2010:
Ray Korona Band
Be there for the Ray Korona Band's annual festival of music for friends and activists! If the songs themselves weren't so inspiring and enjoyable, it would be worth coming just to mix with the roomful of open-hearted artists and activists or to see the amazing array of acoustic instruments played by the band. Barry Kornhauser, Ellen Davidson, Gina Tlamsa, Steven Brant, and Ray perform Ray's original songs about the environment, work, the economy and urgent social justice issues along with heartfelt songs of love, friendship and peace. Hear band standards like "Globalization Blues" and "The People Are In Charge!" plus new songs exploring such cutting edge subjects as creation science and beating the age rap. Seattle's Steven Brant steps out for an exceptional guest set.

April 17th, 2010:
Sara Thomsen
Sara Thomsen is a singer-songwriter with a soulful voice, poetic lyrics, and haunting melodies. Her music comes from the heart, and that's where it takes you. With a rich voice, her songs carry you inward to the particulars of your own life, and out into the shared humanity of us all. Her performance style is easygoing and full of humor and depth, capturing the audience’s full engagement. Her song "Is It for Freedom?" appeared in Sing Out! and is aired frequently on Democracy Now! Increasing wonder and awareness, deepening spiritual connection, and widening social engagement through song is at the heart of her work. Her forthcoming CD as part of the vocal trio Three Altos is is scheduled to be released May 8. She'll do a few numbers, minus the harmony, from it.

Bernardo Palombo
Bernardo Palombo is the founder and Artistic Director of El Taller Latino Americano. He began the Workshop in 1979 in a small space on the Lower East Side and moved to 104th and Broadway in 1996. Born in Mendoza, Argentina, Palombo achieved his first musical success at the age of 17 when his song "Vendimiador" was recorded by the legendary Argentinean vocal group, Los Trovadores, and became an immediate and long-lasting hit. He moved to NYC in 1969 and continued to write songs that have been recorded by Mercedes Sosa, Philip Glass and Conjunto Libre, among others. Bernardo has also been a musical consultant and/or composer on the films Powaqqatsi and Americas in Transition and the PBS show Sesame Street, which has featured some of his Spanish language songs.

April 24th, 2010:
Disabled in Action Singers
For over 30 years,The DIA Singers (part of Disabled In Action of Metropolitan New York, a civil rights/disability rights activist group) have been performing songs with a message of peace, empowerment and liberation - with the unique point of view of people living with disabilities who have experienced the attitudes of people who label them as "other." Having performed in all five boroughs plus the Clearwater Revival, Pete Seeger's Coalition of Choruses and the first Boston Folk Festival, they have performed three times at PVC under Eric Levine's leadership, plus last year in his memory as part of PVC's tribute to Eric. They also performed at Community Church when it became one of the first NYC houses of worship to be wheelchair accessible. This is a Reunion Concert.

Goddess Gospel Choir
The Goddess Gospel Choir is made up of staff, residents and former residents of Strengthen Our Sisters Shelter, serving homeless/battered women and children. They sing to empower themselves and each other toward peace and justice in the world. Their repertoire includes spirituals, contemporary songs, and calls to action ("Bella Ciao"). Director Cynthia Pearce has been performing since she was 6 years old, first singing in her church choir and then with her mother and the Harmonettes of Paterson, NJ. She has directed the Goddess Gospel Choir since 2001.

May 1st, 2010:
Greg Greenway
A rare combination of expert instrumentalist, soulful and moving singer, powerful poet, and sparkling entertainer, Greenway is one of those difficult-to-categorize performers who have found a home in the modern acoustic genre. Musically, he draws inspiration from all over the map--gospel, rock, blues, jazz, and world music. But his center is in the singer/songwriter tradition that traces its roots back to the social awareness of Woody Guthrie. "Confessional one moment, rambunctiously disarming the next, few modern folk singers can own a coffeehouse stage as completely as Greenway."--Boston Globe.

Robin Greenstein
This is NYC musician/singer/songwriter Robin Greenstein's third PVC gig. On guitar and banjo, she blends traditional folk, pop, rock, blues and country into a style she calls "Acousticness." Her strong singing, superb musicianship, powerful original songs and relaxed performing style win over audiences. She studied and worked with folk legend Hedy West, was signed to Bob Dylan's company as a songwriter, and was a clinician for Martin Guitars. Her first "real" job was a grant to study and perform Jewish music. Since then, Robin has toured the college market and folk circuit, done many family venues, headlined cruise ships, and toured Europe in the 90s. Her fourth al is Images of Women Vol. 2, which examines views of women through mostly traditional folk and blues songs.

May 8th, 2010:
New York City Labor Chorus
The New York City Labor Chorus, with 75 members representing over 20 labor unions and district councils, was founded in 1991. The Chorus, now under the direction of Jana Ballard, and accompanied by Denis Nelson, promotes union solidarity by expressing through song the history and ongoing struggles of workers for economic and social justice. Their voices represent the great legacy of U.S. labor music. Their dynamic repertoire includes songs of labor struggles, protest, and social significance, combining the power and culture of union music with the great gospel, jazz, classical and folk traditions, including a rich diversity of music from the cultures of all working people. "A chorus that tells us the story of our fondest hopes and dreams; real, moving, passionate and salt of the earth. Bravo!"--Peter Yarrow. "The NYC Labor Chorus sings history alive to build a better future, remembering the power of organized labor and giving harmonious voice to our best hopes for tomorrow. The Chorus is a class act."--Charlie King.

Solidarity Singers
The Solidarity Singers were born on a bus of union activists traveling around NJ to support an Ohio workers' strike in 1995. "We are a street chorus, not a concert choir. We try to lift the spirits of people engaged in struggle and help them to carry on. Some of us know how to read music, but all of us know which side we are on." They sing in English, Spanish, and Yiddish, dealing with labor issues--union organizing, civil rights, globalization, child labor, and exploitation. Recently they've supported the peace movement, the Stop Wal-Mart campaign, Healthcare Now, and immigration/detention actions. Guitars, banjo, lots of percussion, and everyone sings!

May 15th, 2010:
Carolyn Hester
with Amy and Karla Blume

In her new album, We Dream Forever, Carolyn Hester continues the work of her lifetime; selecting old favorites and new songs and interpreting them with her unique voice and that sense of empathy her fans have loved for decades. She will be performing both new songs from the album and old favorites with her daughters Karla and Amy Blume. For more than 50 years, Carolyn Hester has remained among the most quietly influential singers in American folk music. Bob Dylan made his recording debut playing harmonica on her first Columbia album in 1961. Throughout the 60s, she championed the work of songwriters such as Tom Paxton, Tim Hardin, and Cat Stevens. In the 80s, she helped launch Nanci Griffith to stardom. More than that, though, her sensual, honey-husk voice has been a model for wave after wave of female singers. "It somehow always sounds both sweet and stronghearted, alluringly feminine and fiercely independent."--Scott Alarik, Boston Globe.