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SPAC On Stage Lineup To Feature Grammy-Nominated Sitarist And Composer Anoushka Shankar

SPAC on Stage will return with four SPAC debuts plus a special performance by Japanese drum ensemble Yamato.

SPAC on Stage
Anoushka Shankar, who will be performing in the SPAC on Stage series, is the daughter of famed sitarist Ravi Shankar and half-sister of jazz great Norah Jones. (Jamie James Medina)

This summer, Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) is going global once again. The arts center announced the lineup for its summer global music programming series, SPAC on Stage, which includes four performances of intimate concert series, in addition to a special performance by Yamato: The Drummers of Japan. “This season turns SPAC into a world stage, featuring even more global programming by incredible, genre-crossing artists,” SPAC’s President and CEO Elizabeth Sobol tells saratoga living. “From Indian-classical to pop afro-latino to jazz and bhangra to hip-hop, we invite our community to explore sounds from every corner of the world.”

First staged in 2017 as a way to reimagine smaller performances, SPAC on Stage actually seats the audience on its main stage, a short distance away from the artists and with a performer’s view of the amphitheater. The series takes place once a month over the summer from June 19 through September 9 and highlights ensembles and performers whose music fuzes classical, contemporary and world music genres.

In addition to SPAC on Stage, there will also be a special performance on July 29 by Yamato: The Drummers of Japan, an incredible display of choreography, athleticism and the Taiko, a 400-year-old, traditional Japanese drumming style. “Bringing unique, international experiences to Saratoga audiences—like past performances by the Sachal Ensemble from Pakistan and Trinity Irish Dance Company—is part of SPAC’s expanded vision,” says Sobol.

Tickets go on sale to the public for both the SPAC on Stage series and Japanese drummers on March 15 at 10am at spac.org. All performances begin at 8pm. Check out the detailed schedule below.

June 19 – Anoushka Shankar – Land of Gold
Grammy-nominated sitarist and composer Anoushka Shankar has quite the pedigree. The daughter of sitar guru Ravi Shankar (who taught George Harrison how to play the instrument), and half-sister to nine-time Grammy winner Norah Jones (who will be performing at Saratoga Jazz Fest 2019), Anoushka Shankar’s music is a hypnotic and transcendent melding of Indian classical with contemporary Western music. Shankar began playing the sitar at the age of nine, and has been nominated for six Grammy Awards, including most recently for 2016’s Land of Gold, which she will be performing at SPAC.

July 23 – Tony Succar & Mixtura
Born in Lima, Peru and raised in Miami, FL, Latin Grammy nominee Tony Succar’s music is as infectiously catchy as it is original. The young producer, composer and multi-instrumentalist masterfully blends a number of genres including salsa, jazz, pop and afro-latino inspired music.

July 29 – SPECIAL PERFORMANCE – Yamato: The Drummers of Japan
Founded in 1993 in Japan’s Nara Prefecture, Yamato travels the world performing with Japan’s traditional Taiko drums, which range in size from medium to gigantic. Yamato’s dozen-plus players combine choreography, musical virtuosity, tradition and even some humor into an incredible spectacle that for 25 years has dazzled audiences around the globe.

August 26 – Red Baraat
Red Baraat’s pop-y and sonically diverse 2018 album, Sound The People, reached the top 10 on the World Music Charts Europe and was a hit here in the US as well. Though based in the music of the bhangra, a traditional and popular North Indian dance, Red Baraat seamlessly mixes in elements of hip-hop, jazz and even some punk and rock ‘n’ roll.

September 9 – Banda Magda
Led by Greek-born singer and composer Magda Giannikou, the multicultural and multilingual Banda Magda almost defies categorization. The group travels all over the world with its music, synthesizing Brazilian sambas with French chansons and even some Greek folk and Afro-Peruvian music thrown in as well. Banda Magda has collaborated with other contemporary musical luminaries such as the Kronos Quartet and three-time Grammy winners Snarky Puppy.

Jeff Dingler

Jeff Dingler is saratoga living's Senior Writer. He's a graduate of Skidmore College and a professional musician.

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