True to its name, the “Global Mashup” series features international talent on stage in the world’s most diverse county. On each night, one band plays a genre of music. Right afterward, another group does its thing. Then, both ensembles unite and jam together.

It’s time-tested recipe for fun in a melting pot, and it repeats periodically for the next few months.

Flushing Town Hall will host Global Mashup 1: Klezmer Meets Venezuela on Saturday, Feb. 29. In other words, the audience will see Michael Winograd and his band Honorable Mentshn along with Afro-Soul Betsayda Machado y Parranda El Clavo.

Dance lessons are set for 7:15 p.m. with the concert starting at 8 p.m. Special drinks and food will be for sale.

Winograd, a clarinetist, and Honorable Mentshn will take care of the Klezmer, a musical tradition that began with Ashkenazi Jews in Eastern Europe in the 19th century. Its name comes from the Hebrew words “kle” (tool) and “zemer” (melody), and it’s heavy in wind and string instruments with Yiddish lyrics. A teacher as well as a performer, Winograd (below) holds a degree from the New England Conservatory of Music. Plus, the Brooklyn-based artist has received a fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts and a commission from Chamber Music America. At other times, he’s the artistic director of KlezKanada, the world’s largest klezmer workshop/festival and co-founder/curator of the yearly winter festival Yiddish New York.

Machado is a clarion-voiced singer of Parranda, an African-Venezuelan genre that can be loosely translated as “party music.” The idea is to make the audience float in the air with infectious rhythms based on high-energy percussion with complex tempos, shimmering vocals with call-and-repeat chants, and tight harmonies. Machado grew up in El Clavo, a small village in the jungle near Venezuela’s Caribbean coastline. It’s a hotbed of music, and many residents are descendants of African slaves who once worked in the area’s cacao plantations. Many of Machado’s lifelong friends form La Parranda El Clavo (above), which has been together for about three decades.

Tickets are $18, but students can attend for $12. Teenagers can enter for free.

Editor’s note: Currently, the 7 Train doesn’t run between 111th Street and Main Street on Saturdays. Free shuttle bus service is available, but those traveling to Flushing Town Hall via the 7 should expect the trip to take an extra 30 minutes at least.

Klezmer Meets Venezuela kicks off the 2020 Global Mashup series, which is back by popular demand. This year, all five mashups involve pre-show dance lessons at 7:15 p.m., the same two-group concert format at 8 p.m., and special bites and beverages for sale. The price is always the same, too.

Here’s the rest of the lineup.

The Élefta Hungarian Folk Band, which was founded in 1987 by children of Hungarian immigrants, will play old-time village music that gets the audience clicking their heels and slapping their feet. Kotoko Brass will offer an improvisational style of West African dance music that features complex drumming as the central focus. The percussion mixes with joyous New Orleans Jazz style horns, a keyboard, guitar and bass to create an infectious rhythm.

There will also be a special panel discussion on the birth of the women’s movement and Austro-Hungarian uprisings at 4 p.m.

Cumbia River Band delivers a fun selection of Colombian genres (i.e. Aguabajo, Levanta Polvo, Saporrondó) with accordion, clarinet, guitar, percussion, tuba and voice. Of course, it specializes in Cumbia, which combines South American indigenous traditions with African and Spanish ones. Sining Kapuluan presents traditional gong music from the Philippines along with a mix of indigenous rituals, practices and dance.

Astrograss jams high-energy bluegrass with the possibility of a fiddle hoedown. The group puts a strong emphasis on improvisation, harmonies and creating a twangy sound. The 14-member Jarana Beat blends Mexican folk and Afro-Amerindian musical traditions and percussive footwork. (A jarana is a guitar-shaped, eight-string instrument native to Veracruz.) Plus, members like to wear wide-rimmed hats and colorful costumes.

The season finale features Slavic Soul Party and its fiery Balkan brass, funky grooves, irresistible beats, Gypsy accordion wizardry, and virtuoso jazz chops. The mash is with The Aces of Rhythm, a septet co-founded by Grammy-winning bassist Pablo Aslán that does hardcore Tango with unstoppable rhythm.

“The spirit of these mashups is one of celebration and respect,” said Flushing Town Hall Executive and Artistic Director Ellen Kodadek. “We are celebrating and respecting our differences and appreciating each other’s unique, cultural traditions, while also coming together for a one-of-a-kind, shared experience.”

Flushing Town Hall is located at 137-35 Northern Blvd.

Images: Afro-Soul Betsayda Machado y Parranda El Clavo (top); Michael Winograd (bottom)


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