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Sampha Sisay Is Poised for Fame

On a warm evening last August, a few dozen people crowded into the back dining room at Greenpoint’s Manhattan Inn around a white baby grand piano. At the bench was Sampha Sisay, a 27-year-old Londoner. As the first few chords rang out, the buzz in the room turned to a heavy silence, the minimal arrangement leaving room for Sisay’s voice.

Earlier that day, he’d taped his first solo U.S. television performance, for the September 1 edition of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert; the intimate Brooklyn gig was a treat for the small crowd who had gathered to celebrate the upcoming premiere. While Sisay, who performs under his first name, is soft-spoken and reserved, both performances communicated an enormous talent, begging the question of why he’s not already a superstar.

Mostly, it’s been by choice. His debut EP, Sundanza, was mostly instrumental, packed with glitchy electronic tracks suited for the dancefloor. The record’s intricate, layered production did not go unnoticed, attracting the attention of Jessie Ware (with whom he collaborated on her 2011 single “Valentine”) and the enigmatic producer SBTRKT, who recruited Sisay to co-produce a pair of tracks on his self-titled LP and contribute most of the record’s lyrics and vocals. Famed culture vulture Drake also took note, incorporating original Sampha composition “Too Much” into his 2013 LP, Nothing Was the Same.

But it wasn’t until 2013’s Dual EP that we got to hear full, unadulterated Sampha — his voice paired with his music. That got enough attention that he decided it was time to make a full-length statement. “I was going to release an [EP] in the beginning of 2014,” Sisay tells the Voice. “I just felt like if I’m gonna make an album, it might as well be now. I didn’t really want to release music for the sake of keeping things bubbling.”

But soon after he started writing, his mother’s cancer — which had been in remission after a five-year battle — re-emerged. Doctors said that this time, it was terminal. Sisay moved back home to care for her. “That fed into the music I was making,” he says. “I guess that’s what this music is, especially being vocal and lyrical…the two things just sort of crossed over like DNA strands.”

The strands became Process, which arrives February 3 on Young Turks, almost two years after his mother’s passing. Where some of his early production skewed electronic and danceable, and Dual minimalist, Process splits the difference: The stark emotion and restrained arrangement of piano ballad “(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano” contrasts well with the high-energy syncopated percussion on “Reverse Faults” and early single “Blood on Me.” Sisay seamlessly edits traditional instruments like the kora (a 21-string West African lute/harp) with piano, electronic drums, and oddball samples. The album’s ten tracks were culled from dozens he’d written, and the finished product is both a musical and a personal triumph.

That it came at the price of such devastating loss underscores just how intimately personal it is; many of the songs detail Sisay’s struggle to accept his mother’s death and the journey that followed it. Lately, he’s been working his way through a copy of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, which has helped. “The best thing you can find is probably peace and letting go of things, or even contemplating, as the book says, death,” he says. “Sometimes you just have to let go of the pain, to let things be.”

While he’d been close to his mother since childhood, his musical upbringing fell to his father and brothers and the eclectic mix (Brian Eno, L.L. Cool J, Joni Mitchell, Prince) they exposed him to. At home, Sisay would play piano and dance for his whole family, to their delight. “[It’s like] I’m at the bottom of the soil, [with] all the nutrients that pass through everything, and I’ve been well nourished from a young age,” he says. “Having a piano and all the music around me opened up my mind harmonically.”

Still, he struggled for years to pair his output to words, unsure it was a good idea to write what he wanted to: about his identity as an Englishman of African descent (his family hails from Sierra Leone); about his realizing that the toughness expected of him because of his dark skin was a weakness instead of a strength. “I heard some songs…this guy called Kwes, he’s sort of a big brother to me,” Sisay recalls. He specifically remembers a song about crying and wiping tears that clashed with his own embedded preconceptions of black masculinity. “He had a song about tissues, and it made me feel sick. That vulnerability, you realize things about the perception of your race. That informed the way I write, the way I actually play, and production.”

Sisay wrote and produced the entirety of Process and played nearly every instrument on the album, too. “I didn’t write the music with the intention of playing it live,” Sisay explains. “So much of it is feeling — it’s like a painter trying to paint the exact same thing, to figure out what colors you mixed, what materials you used.”

That became not quite a problem, but certainly a hurdle, as he started fielding performance requests. Bryndon Cook, who collaborated with Sisay on Solange’s “Don’t Touch My Hair,” remembers catching up with the artist just as he was first considering how to translate his new material for a live setting. “We were throwing all these ideas around, like how many more people would you need to do a thing? He had no idea.” Cook calls the band Sisay ultimately put together — Jonathan Geyevi (keyboards), Moses Boyd (drums), and Kelsey Lu (cello, sampler, vocals) — “a real soulful electronic quartet.”

The same band performed alongside Sisay on Colbert, faithfully reproducing the complex arrangement of “Blood on Me” with just a touch of additional swagger. The stripped-down, percussion-free set at Manhattan Inn was more delicate, occasionally featuring Lu and Chairlift’s Caroline Polachek. But in both cases, it was hard to focus on anyone but Sisay. That much talent, developed over so many years, can’t help but hold the room.

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Fight Fascism With Good Music at These Upcoming Benefit Shows

In a post-Trump social climate, it can be easy to get down on yourself for enjoying the art and culture that you love. Scrambling to spend $75 to see a bearded millionaire coo neo-folk hymns in a multi-million-dollar converted warehouse can seem trivial when New York’s LGBT youth are homeless at alarming rates, state legislatures are passing unconstitutional abortion laws, and Muslim women are being attacked in public across the country.

But being a music fan and making a difference are not mutually exclusive. Over the next few weeks, New York musicians are putting their money where their mouths are and donating their time to raise money for various causes and organizations that fight for social justice, whether that be through education, health, law, or activism. Helping out is easy — just buy a ticket, show up, and show your support. We’ve collected more than a dozen such benefit shows happening in the city over the next few weeks, with links to the organizations they’re supporting. And if you like what you hear, consider direct action — these organizations could use all the help they can get.

12/19

ACLU
Shunklings, Birdbird, Shake, Beeyotch, Dog Petter
Silent Barn
8 p.m., $8

Standing Rock
Dead Sexy Sheila, Dances, Sic Tic, Lola Pistola
Sunnyvale
8 p.m., $8

Planned Parenthood
Language, Total Slacker, Jemez,
Alphaville
8 p.m., $10

12/19

Oakland Fire/Trans Assistance Project
Pharmakon, Drew McDowall, DJ Richard, Bookworms, Ciarra Black
Saint Vitus Bar
5 p.m., $15-30

1/3

Doctors Without Borders
Runny, Mighty High, The Star Spangles, Trashy, The Whores
Saint Vitus Bar
8 p.m., $12

1/6

Hetrick-Martin Institute for LGBTQ Youth
David Grubbs, Anastasia Clarke, Max Alper, Camilla Padgitt-Coles, Julia Santoli
Knockdown Center
8 p.m., $10

1/13

Standing Rock
The Phantom Family Halo, Mystic Ruler, Mega Bog, Jib Kidder
The Park Church Co-Op
8:00 p.m.

1/16

ACLU
Sean Mcverry, Birch, Jackie Mendoza
Shea Stadium BK
8 p.m., $8

1/18

ACLU/Planned Parenthood
Sharon Van Etten, Beirut, Daniel Rossen (Grizzly Bear), Kevin Morby, Hand Habits
Music Hall of Williamsburg
8 p.m., $40

1/19

ACLU/Planned Parenthood
Helado Negro, Beirut, Daniel Rossen, Kevin Morby, Ruth Garbus
Rough Trade
7 p.m., $30

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The Best Shows This Week: Sad13, Jucifer, and the Rebirth Brass Band

This week’s selection of shows proves to have a welcome, if unintentional theme — going solo. The singer of one of the buzziest bands of the late aughts brings her new wave stylings to Greenwich Village; Speedy Ortiz’s leading force plays pop politics in Williamsburg; and two of New York’s best-loved young songwriters team up for a DIY double-headlining bill.

12/13

Barrington Levy & Detour Posse, Mighty Mystic
B.B. King Blues Club & Grill (Main Room)
9 p.m., $29.50-$65

You might remember Mr. Levy from his guest turn on Biggie-soundalike Shyne’s ubiquitous 1999 hit “Bad Boyz,” but the dancehall OG has been making hits since the ‘70s. He hits B.B. King’s on Tuesday with a full backing band, Detour Posse.

Jucifer, Husbandry, Sick Shit
Saint Vitus
7:30 p.m, $10

Forget your earplugs at your own risk: husband and wife sludge metal duo Jucifer are one of the loudest bands you’ll ever have the privilege to hear. Guitarist/vocalist Gazelle Amber Valentine shreds her Flying V in front of a wall of amps, determined to mint new cases of tinnitus at every show. Sick Shit will make the drive up from central jersey to join locals Husbandry on the bill at Saint Vitus.

Kristin Kontrol
Le Poisson Rouge
7 p.m., $16.75

Dum Dum Girls’ Kristin Welchez dropped the first LP from her new wave solo project, Kristin Kontrol, earlier this year on Sub Pop. With synth-heavy production and pulsing dancefloor beats, X-Communicate is a welcome departure from Dum Dum Girls’ reverb-soaked garage jangle pop.

Sad13, Vagabon, Emily Reo, and Told Slant
Baby’s All Right
8:30 p.m., $10-12

Sadie Dupuis’ Sad13 project doesn’t stray too far from her band Speedy Ortiz’s pop-punk vibes, but it certainly is a little slower, sadder, and more synthy. She brings songs from her Carpark Records solo debut, Slugger — including her catchy ode to consent, “Get a Yes” — to Baby’s with Emily Reo and drummer-of-many-bands Felix Walworth’s Told Slant project.

12/14

Modern Baseball, Basement, Citizen, Alex G + more
Webster Hall
7 p.m., $30

Webster Hall, with its massive dimensions and multiple stages, is a curious if physically capable building to host a mini-festival like Run For Cover’s “Something In The Way.” With 10 bands across three stages, the indie label puts some of the more exciting names in emo and pop punk on one bill in one building. Be sure not to miss the set from Alex G, the songwriting prodigy who recently graced both of Frank Ocean’s 2016 releases.

Post Malone
Irving Plaza
7 p.m., $25-$75

White Iverson’s debut LP Stoney dropped on 12/9, and this show is his record release party. His brand of robot R&B certainly feels like a novelty, but you know “Fade” is hot, and seeing him perform “White Iverson” might just be worth the price of admission.

12/15

Chairlift, Mr Twin Sister, Junglepussy
Good Room
8 p.m., $25

It feels like a lifetime has passed since Chairlift’s Moth was released in January, but it still holds up as one of the strongest pop records of the year. This show at Good Room — a Greenpoint venue known more for hosting DJs than bands — should prove to feel more like a party than a concert, if Junglepussy has anything to say about it. Tickets are sold out but available on the secondary market.

The Lox, Funkmaster Flex
Highline Ballroom
8 p.m., $20

The Lox — one of the more promising young rap crews coming out of New York in the late 90s — got caught up in Puff Daddy’s post-Biggie shiny suit era, and spent the next decade trying to shake it off. They’re about to release their first album in sixteen years; will they return to the thugged-out prison raps of their D-Block era, or are they ready for something new?

Rebirth Brass Band
The Hall at MP
8 p.m., $35-55

Kermit Ruffins’ old brass band, Rebirth, has gotten a touring boost ever since they were both prominently featured in David Simon’s New Orleans drama Treme, and the five shows they’ve booked in Brooklyn in three days is great evidence of that. Ruffin has a new band now, but you can still get this clinic on New Orleans music — a blend of funk, jazz, soul, and hip hop with traditional second line stylings. Through 12/17.

12/16

Eskimeaux, Japanese Breakfast
Shea Stadium
8 p.m., $15

Two of Brooklyn’s more promising young songwriters, Gabrielle Smith (Eskimeaux) and Michelle Zauner (Japanese Breakfast) leave their bands behind for an intimate show at what qualifies for one of north Brooklyn’s most longstanding DIY venues. Come for the tunes, stay for the feels. Tickets are sold out but available on the secondary market.

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Palisades Owners Explain Why the Beloved Venue Was Shut Down

Last June, beloved Bushwick legal-DIY venue was shut down permanently, with little explanation other than a vague mention of building code violations. It came as a shock to fans, who loved the venue’s sweatbox basement dance parties and sold out shows from international stars like Skepta. The venue’s owners and bookers kept mum about the details , and more rumors floating than fact.

But in the latest issue of the local-music zine AdHoc, the venue’s founder Leeor Waisbrod and main booking agent Ariel Bitran speak to AdHoc founder Emilie Friedlander about the short life of one of Brooklyn’s more exciting venues, expounding upon the reasons for its demise in the process.

In short? Palisades was never actually legal, despite popular conception to the contrary. Sure, they had a liquor license and a certificate of occupancy, but they were still in early stages of acquiring a public assembly license, and their paperwork with the city listed them as a bar/tavern, not a music venue. The space didn’t have enough exits, and the ones it did have were not up to code. In the interview with Friedlander, Bitran said they had been meeting with lawyers and architects to build two more exits along a side wall of the venue, but “the Department of Buildings was just not cooperating.” In hindsight, it’s a wonder it lasted as long as it did.

Waisbrod explained their familiarity with the city’s MARCH program, or Multi-Agency Response to Community Hotspots. “The MARCH program is when all the different departments — the Fire Department, your local police department, the Health Department, and the State Liquor Authority — raid your place on the same night, shutting your event down and all fining you for every possible violation they can find,” Waisbrod explained. “We got marched three times.” Bitran put it quite bluntly: “Legally speaking, I think the best way to describe why it was shut down was like a combined violation between departments, misrepresentation of the use of the space and the space just being a death trap.”

Palisades may have been winging it, but the city’s bureaucracy has proven that if it wants you shut down, there’s no amount of hoops you can jump through to satisfy them. Just ask the folks at Market Hotel, who were served a “gotcha” citation for “warehousing alcohol” after months of above-board, legal operation. In the end, the bureaucracy succeeded in destroying the venue founder’s hope that any amount of compliance would have sufficed. “There was meeting after meeting, inspection after inspection, and every time you hit a milestone, you would be asked to do something else,” Waisbrod told AdHoc. “I can’t speak for the city, but there was definitely a feeling of, ‘We don’t want this to happen for you.’”

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Cam’ron, Diplo, and Gloria Gaynor Top the Best Shows This Week

This week’s list of shows is all about looking back. 2012’s most trigger-happy buzz rapper is still pushing the four tapes he dropped last year; the first lady to freak “I Will Survive” is on a nostalgia tour; the remnants of Sonic Youth just keep on kicking; and rap’s pink panther is trying his hand at playing off the legacy of his commercial peak with a sequel album. But there’s a reason nostalgia works — people want to hear the hits.

12/5

Chief Keef
Brooklyn Bowl
8 p.m., $25

With criminal charges creating a de facto ban on performing in or near his hometown of Chicago, Keef has taken refuge in LA, and solace in the fact that Brooklyn has no such reservations. The crowd at Brooklyn Bowl should be an interesting one — Keef’s comatose flow is hot with the kids (although this show is 21+).

Cam’ron
Highline Ballroom
9 p.m., $25-50

Harlem legend and Diplomats commander Cam’ron is famous for more than just rapping really well; His sartorial choices kicked off a wave of rappers wearing pink (he’s even got a signature Reebok sneaker to match), and people are still meme-ing his appearance on The O’Reilly Factor (U Mad?). He’s kicking off his Killa Season 2 tour at Highline, though the sequel to his 2006 album Killa Season has yet to drop.

12/7

BSKi, Buscabulla, Silent Knight
C’mon Everybody
8 p.m., $8

When Buscabulla opened for Helado Negro last month at Bowery Ballroom, the Puerto Rican dance party had the near-600 capacity club for most of their set. This backroom at a Bed-Stuy bar is considerably smaller, so expect it to be hype.

Milk Dick, Fraidycat, The ’94 Knicks, Mima Good
Shea Stadium
8 p.m., $8

Nashville’s Infinity Cat Recordings sure knows their way around an inappropriate name (Diarrhea Planet, Breast Massage), and Milk Dick is no different. Catch their loose, fun take on garage at Brooklyn’s Shea Stadium, the NYC venue that most looks like an actual garage.

12/8

Elia Einhorn, The Drums, Poliça (duo set), It Will
Saint Vitus
8 p.m., $15

The folks at Greenpoint’s favorite metal bar are hosting this benefit in support of the American Civil Liberties Union, and snagged a special set from a pared-down Poliça, and a solo joint from Battles’ Ian Williams. Even if you can’t get in to what will undoubtedly be a scene, consider tossing the ACLU some cash — come January, they’ll need every penny.

PC Worship, Neolibz
Sunnyvale
8 p.m., $10

Noise lord Justin Frye brings his abrasive PC Worship project to the bleeding edge of East Williamsburg’s industrial district. It’s dark music for dark times. Bring earplugs.

12/9

Diplo
Output
10 p.m., $40

The world-touring mega DJ normally resides at Vegas super clubs and festival crowds in excess of 100,000, so super fans should relish the opportunity to hear him play records on the Funktion One system in Output’s friendly confines. Advance ticket sales have been sold out, but organizers promise that “admission will be available at the door starting 10pm.”

Soulection, Sango, Esta, Joe Kay, and Andre Power
Knockdown Center
9:30 p.m. $34-55

Born from a show on a San Diego college radio station called KBeach, Soulection has evolved into a record label, Beats 1 radio show, and artist collective. In LA, their monthly party The Sound of Tomorrow would draw lines that could make the bouncers at Output blush; they’ll bring their smoothed out dance party to Knockdown Center; shuttles will cart the adventurous and Uber-less from the Jefferson Ave. L stop.

12/10

Parquet Courts, Flasher, Lee Ranaldo
Knockdown Center
9 p.m., $20

This show mates one of NYC guitar rock’s senior statesmen, Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo, with indie darlings Parquet Courts. D.C. three-piece Flasher rounds out the bill, channeling Wipers and Sonic Youth’s more mellow vibes.

Gloria Gaynor
B.B. King Blues Club & Grill Main Room
8 p.m., $57.50-$65 day of show

The first lady to lace vocals on “I Will Survive” plays hits from a recording career that spanned three decades. The disco queen found religion later in her career, even recording a version of the classic with altered lyrics to better suit her lord and savior — here’s to hoping she sticks to the original.

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The 50 Best Magnetic Fields Songs: A Playlist

The Magnetic Fields’ highly literal 69 Love Songs is the band’s definitive work; over three discs and yes, 69 songs, Stephin Merritt dabbles in every convention and cliché in the love-song-writing book, often deconstructing, rebuilding, and turning each on its head. So it was only mildly surprising when he announced that in celebration of his 50th birthday, he would be releasing 50 Song Memoir, an album featuring a song for each of his 50 years on earth.

The recordings won’t see the light of day until 2017, but this weekend he’s gifting them, in two parts, to the Brooklyn Academy of Music. He’s bringing along an expanded band and 50 instruments from his personal collection, and the two-night residency breaks up the 50 songs into two parts, with the first 25 performed tonight (12/2), and the back 25 on Saturday (12/3).

Over the Magnetic Fields’ 25-year lifespan, Merrit has dabbled in concepts large (69 Love Songs) and small (House of Tomorrow), gone all-acoustic (Realism) or specifically electric (Distortion), and handled folk (Distant Plastic Trees) as elegantly as electronic pop (The Charm of the Highway Strip). To celebrate his bonanza of all things 50, we’ve collected our own 50 favorite Magnetic Fields moments ranked starting with the best, 1994’s “Strange Powers,” from Holiday. Stream below or on Spotify and keep an ear peeled for 50 Song Memoir next year.

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The Hold Steady, serpentwithfeet, and Young M.A. Top the Best Shows This Week

Now that the blissfully empty streets of the holiday weekend have been replaced by the city’s standard-issue hustle-and-bustle, it’s time to get back to business, and nothing soothes a work week malaise like live music.This week, we’ve got a bowling alley coronation for Brooklyn’s favorite transplant bar band, a new party from Boiler Room with one of hip-hop’s biggest producers, and an exhaustive performance from one of indie pop’s most prolific songwriters.

11/30
The Hold Steady
Brooklyn Bowl
6 p.m., $45
It’s been ten years since Craig Finn & Co. released The Hold Steady’s third LP, making the requisite nostalgia ripe for commodification. To celebrate the anniversary of Boys and Girls in America, the band is hosting a three-night residency (through 12/2) at Brooklyn Bowl, complete with to-be-announced special guest openers. Advance tickets are sold out, but a limited number of cash-only tickets will be available at the door.

12/1
Just Blaze, Young M.A.
Highline Ballroom
9 p.m., $20
Superproducer Just Blaze is a regular on the NYC club DJ circuit, and The Remedy is his new monthly party, in collaboration with the folks at Boiler Room. For the first edition, he’ll bring out the ascendant Brooklyn MC Young M.A., who’s been turning heads in recent months with an infectious baritone flow and jams like “OOOUUU.” If you get hooked, catch her headlining set at Knockdown Center on 12/3.

Lizzo, Dizzy Fae

Bowery Ballroom
8 p.m., Sold Out
Minneapolis MC Lizzo flipped a breakout LP—2015’s Big Grrrl Small World—into a contract with Atlantic and an MTV VMAs co-hosting gig, and hasn’t looked back since. Her Bowery Ballroom show is sold out, but for a taste, check out her bouncy flow on Coconut Oil, her major-label debut from October.

serpentwithfeet, Rusalka
Baby’s All Right
Midnight, $10
Josiah Wise shaped his Soundcloud musings into fully formed emotional journeys on his debut EP blisters, a collaboration with the Haxan Cloak. And it doesn’t get much more intimate than the newly-renovated friendly confines of Baby’s All Right, where he’ll share a stage with Rusalka, named after a Slavic water nymph.

Pool Cosby, Ximena Borges, Kat Rodriguez
Pianos
7 p.m., $10
This eclectic bill features a handful of up-and-comers, but pay close attention to Ximena Borges, a Venezuelan transplant who shapes loops and effects into live sound collages with graceful ease.

12/2
The Magnetic Fields: “50 Song Memoir”
BAM
7:30 p.m., $30

The Brooklyn Academy of Music feels like the natural habitat for Stephin Merritt’s songs—witty and sardonic, they’re cultured, but just a bit dressed down. His latest project is the “50 Song Memoir,” an album featuring a song for each of his fifty years of life. He’ll bring a seven-piece band to play the album over two nights, using fifty instruments from his own collection. Tickets are sold out but available on the secondary market.

12/3
Mannequin Pussy, IAN SWEET, Haybaby
Brooklyn Bazaar
7 p.m., $12

Mannequin Pussy’s 2016 take on emo can veer from the romantic to the sludgy, from shoegazey riffs to gut-punch drum licks. Since their inception, they’ve fled the city for the friendlier (and more affordable) scene in Philadelphia, but they’re not too far for a one-off in Greenpoint in support of their latest LP, Romantic—catch them before they come back, at what will almost certainly be a bigger venue.

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The Best Shows This Week: La Yegros, Conor Oberst—and Punk Rock Thanksgiving Recovery

While much of New York City’s transplant contingent will flee the city’s friendly confines for awkward Thanksgivings with their exurban families, the music must go on. One of indie rock’s most promising young artists is playing what might be the biggest show of her career, Lincoln Center is hosting a masterclass on modern cumbia, a Detroit techno legend graces the decks in Greenpoint, and the emo heartthrob of your youth has graduated to the gilded stage of Carnegie Hall. If you’re staying in town for the holiday, you’ve got no excuse to stay home on the couch: We’ve assembled the best shows of this week for you below.

11/21

Nobunny, Future Punx, Cowboys, Big Huge
Shea Stadium
8:00 p.m., $16—$18

Nobunny’s lo-fi bubblegum garage rock is all well and good, but if you’re into shocking sartorial choices, his raw-meat and trash aesthetic is the real draw. Future Punx’s last LP, This is Post-Wave, cheekily plays on post-punk and new wave, the two nostalgic subgenres that best describe the band’s sound. Catch them on Monday at one north Brooklyn’s last DIY spaces standing. Fun fact: Future Punx’s Chris Pickering runs the Dull Tools label with Parquet Courts’ Andrew Savage.

PARTYNEXTDOOR, Jeremih
Terminal 5
7:30 p.m., $49.50

Few artists have felt the commercial weight of the Drake co-sign as much as Jahron Anthony Brathwaite, aka PARTYNEXTDOOR—he was the first signee to OVO Sounds, back in 2013. A producer and songwriter as well as a singer, he’s responsible for some of Rihanna’s biggest hits from her LP Anti, “Work” and “Sex With Me.” When he hits Terminal 5 with Jerimih, expect the songs to be smooth and sultry, and the screams from the fans to be deafening.

Mitski, Fear Of Men, Weaves
Webster Hall
8:00 p.m., $25

Mitski’s latest, Puberty 2, has firmly established the young SUNY Purchase grad as a songwriting powerhouse, reviewed to near-universal critical acclaim. She brings U.K. dream pop act Fear of Men and CMJ 2015 darlings Weaves for her big Webster Hall show. She’s also playing Villain in Brooklyn on 11/22 with Nick Hakim and Mal Devisa. Tickets are sold out—for both shows—but available on the secondary market.

11/22
La Yegros
David Rubenstein Atrium, Lincoln Center
7:30 p.m., Free

Argentina’s cumbia queen blesses Lincoln Center with her infectious energy and modern update to the sound that’s spread from the coasts of Colombia. This free show is practically a public service, presented as part of Southern Exposure: Performing Arts of Latin America, a Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation/National Endowment for the Arts program.

The Japanese House, The Big Moon
Baby’s All Right
8:00 p.m., $13—$15

Twenty-year-old Amber Bain has been building quite a buzz over the past two years, dropping a pair of records (Pools To Bathe & Clean) and selling out her debut U.K. tour. She brings her earthy electro sound—think Imogen Heap meets Jeff Buckley—to Baby’s All Right for two dates with The Big Moon. Tickets are sold out but available on the secondary market.

11/23
Conor Oberst
Carnegie Hall
8:00 p.m., $35–$49.50

Ever wondered what “Lua” might sound like in the heavenly confines of Carnegie Hall? There’s no telling just what portions of his varied discography Conor Oberst will pull from for this sit-down concert, but he’s got ten albums under his own name to choose from, and that’s not including any of his other projects, like Bright Eyes, Desparecidos, or Monsters of Folk.

Thurston Moore and John Zorn
Rough Trade
8:00 p.m., $20

Two of your favorite downtown weirdo white guys are teaming up for a performance as a duo to celebrate Rough Trade’s fortieth anniversary. The show at the record store chain/record label’s Brooklyn outpost will also serve as the launch for the reprint of MUSICS, the late-70s British art magazine edited by David Toop and Steve Beresford.

11/25
A$AP FERG, Playboi Carti, Rob $tone
Webster Hall
6:30 p.m., $33–$89.29

Quite possibly the hardest working cat in the A$AP Mob (now that Yams is gone, RIP), Ferg has been touring behind his latest LP, Always Strive and Prosper, for much of the year. He brings the party to Webster Hall with a pair of baby trap rappers, the questionably-named Rob $tone and Playboi Carti.

Kevin Saunderson, Justin Strauss

Good Room
10:00 p.m., $10–$15

Detroit techno godfather Kevin Saunderson graces the decks at Greenpoint’s Good Room this weekend, and has the good sense to bring along NYC OG Justin Strauss to open for him. Come to dance, and stay for the masterclass in mixing, crate-digging, and reading the pulse of the floor.

11/26
WILD FEST!
Iron Chic, Laura Stevenson, Worriers, Nude Beach, Shellshag, Outskirts, Big Eyes, Weed Hounds

Brooklyn Night Bazaar
7:00 p.m., $25

If you can still move after rousing from your Thanksgiving tryptophan-induced coma, head on down to Brooklyn Bazaar for the second iteration of WILD FEST!, a benefit for the Mcallister Family Memorial Fund. This edition packs the $25 bill with a who’s who of young and ascendant punks, making it one of the best bangs for your buck in Brooklyn this week.

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NEWS & POLITICS ARCHIVES THE FRONT ARCHIVES

Hispanic Muslims Gathering for Worship and Maduros in New Jersey

This past Sunday, the North Hudson Islamic Educational Center, a mosque and community center in Union City, New Jersey, held its sixteenth annual Hispanic Muslim Day. Those in attendance traced their heritage to Colombia, Puerto Rico, and El Salvador. Though it was the intersection of two groups targeted by the president-elect, spirits were high. After all, these Muslims had been here before — the first Hispanic Muslim Day was held in the wake of 9-11, to educate the local Hispanic community about Islam.

For Jaime “Mujahid” Fletcher, the Colombian–born founder of IslamInSpanish, which organized the event on Sunday, “It’s an issue of perception.” He tells the Voice, “A lot of people who are scared are people who have never come in contact with a Muslim, or don’t really  know Muslims.” Fletcher converted to Islam in the spring of 2001, after running into a former gang rival outside of a mosque in Houston and seeing that he had changed profoundly. He started IslamInSpanish — which distributes the Koran and Hadith (Islam’s other core text) in Spanish — after the September 11 attacks. (The organization is based in Texas; Fletcher flew out to Jersey for this occasion.)

Wesley “Abu Summayyah” Lebron, a Puerto Rican Muslim who does outreach in New Jersey for IslamInSpanish, says the commonalities between Islam and Roman Catholicism helps to ease the introduction. “Jesus is a staple in our religion — we just don’t worship him, but we completely believe in him,” Lebron explains. “And when you tell [people] this, it starts to open up their ears, little by little.”

Though Islam and the Spanish-speaking world have a long shared history, it’s not one often discussed. Islam’s roots in Spain go back to Tariq ibn Ziyad’s conquest of the Iberian peninsula in 711 (“Gibraltar” is a Spanish translation of his name). The region remained under Islamic dominion until King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella successfully seized control in 1492, after decades of forced Catholic conversions. Even after Islam was outlawed in 1502, Muslims continued to practice in secret.

Five centuries later, there are now about 2 million Muslims in Spain, and Islam is growing both there and in Hispanic communities abroad. Although the U.S. Census doesn’t track religious affiliation, a 2015 Pew Research Center study estimated that about 4 percent of the 3.3 million Muslims in the U.S. are also Hispanic. At a lecture last year in Baltimore about Islam in that city, Morgan State University professor Dr. Harold Morales explained that this shouldn’t come as a surprise. “Some people strongly feel that Latino Muslims are, in a sense, going back to their roots, all the way back to the Spanish and the Moors,” he said. “It reminds us there are different ways of being Latino.”

Certainly that was the case on Sunday — other than the Spanish, this gathering was indistinguishable from a community day at any other mosque. No one in attendance wanted to talk about the Trump-shaped shadow looming over the afternoon, which had been planned months before the election. That problem would be tackled later. For now, these Muslims would rather focus on faith and, of course, food. It was a feast rarely found at any mosque: Peruvian chicken, rice and beans, and plátanos maduros.

 

Categories
CULTURE ARCHIVES MUSIC ARCHIVES

Tickets for Your Last Chance to See Bon Iver in NYC Go on Sale at Noon Today

Justin Vernon has come a long way from the remote cabin where he wrote his debut Bon Iver LP, For Emma, Forever Ago. Since that record—a sparse, acoustic affair—he’s slowly built up a band, an updated and full-bodied sound, and a palpable commercial sync enterprise. He’s won Grammys and collaborated with Kanye. So when he comes to NYC, it’s quite the hot ticket.

To that end, Bonny Bear has no less than seven (seven!!!) shows booked in for the NYC leg of his tour in support of his new record 22, A Million. The first four dates—12/10 at Hammerstein Ballroom, 12/11-12/12 at Kings Theater, and 12/14 at the Music Hall of Williamsburg—are all sold out. But the band has added three dates (12/5-12/7) at Brooklyn’s Pioneer Works, an old Red Hook factory with cavernous ceilings that’s been converted into a gallery and art space. The curiously named Marijuana Deathsquads open on 12/5 and 12/6, and Poliça on 12/7.

Tickets for these shows, arguably the coolest thanks to the unusual venue, are $75 (a premium for sleeping on the earlier tickets) and go on sale today at noon. They can only be purchased “with a unique code you can obtain by registering at Bon Iver’s website.” You’ll have to hunt for that, but we did the rest: Click on a date below to go directly to its ticketing site. Good luck!

Bon Iver w/Marijuana Deathsquads December 5
Bon Iver w/Marijuana Deathsquads December 6
Bon Iver w/Poliça December 7