Global Currents Concert Series

Each semester, our Global Currents Concert Series features musicians of international stature representing a multiplicity of cultures. In the intimate setting of the Slosberg Recital Hall, each concert invites the audience to experience the history, cultural memories, indeed, the heart and soul of a people through the autobiographical narrative of music.

MusicUnitesUS responds to the challenge of being all-online by inviting the artists to create something new for the final performance, the culminating event of the residency week. Mazel Tov Cocktail Party produced a unique green-screen dance party video extravaganza that drew more than 1000 views. For the February residency, Balún will present a new concert film Punto de Encuentro (created for the MUUS residency) under the renowned Puerto Rican filmmaker and performance artist Gisela Rosario Ramos. For this film, the band will meet in Puerto Rico to record a live show that showcases and brings to the forefront the inspiration behind Prisma Tropical.

2020-2021 Performances

November 14, 2020

The artists of Mazel Tov Cocktail Party8 p.m. | World Premiere Video on Facebook LIVE and YouTube
9 p.m. | Live Meet & Greet with the artists via Zoom

It’s a Mazel Tov Cocktail Party and everyone’s invited!! Throw together the high-octane delivery of world music superstar David Krakauer’s unbridled clarinet with an ensemble of world-class musicians for a cathartic evening of joy and affirmation. You’ll be greeted by MC vocalist/rapper dynamo Sarah MK, who will encourage you to join the festivities and abandon yourself to the energy of the room. Mix in Martin Shamoonpour's wild Iranian frame drumming, Jerome Harris's deep bass grooves, Yoshie Fruchter’s dazzling guitar and oud, and Kathleen Tagg's never-ending virtuosic antics on the keys for a truly powerhouse musical experience.  And most of all, in these uncertain times, it’s a chance for everyone to come together, celebrate our common humanity and throw a metaphorical “Mazel Tov Cocktail” up in the air to light up the world!

February 27, 2021

Balún posing in sunglasses8 p.m. | World premiere on YouTube (available until March 6, 2021)

Balún's album Prisma Tropical focuses an incredibly wide field of genres and influences into a revelatory sound that evokes both of the band's homes and the distance between them. In this new concert film–created for the Brandeis MusicUnitesUS residency– under the direction of renowned Puerto Rican filmmaker and performance artist Gisela Rosario Ramos, Balún will explore the physical, emotional, metaphorical and illusory distance between these spaces and how these notions relate to their band dynamic, creative process and transnational experience in both Puerto Rico and New York.

For this special concert film, the band met in Puerto Rico to record a live show that showcases and brings to the forefront the inspiration behind Prisma Tropical. The band will be joined by guests musicians (bomba duo, string trio and small conjunto jíbaro) as well as local artists and collaborators such as dancers, physical theater performers and mask builders. These collaborations will showcase the band’s Puerto Rican cultural influence, their connection to folk, classical and popular musical traditions, and the vivid arts community that are actively making art on the island and have influenced, shaped and inspired the band since their inception. Through musical performances, creative movement and a suggestive narrative thread that brings these elements together Balún considers how Puerto Rico is the meeting point for them not only musically but also in their shared lived experiences and in their collective quest for home.