The blues meets global music with band Hazmat Modine
— A “tour de force,” says Move & Blues Magazine —
— “Entirely original and intoxicating,” says Rhythms Magazine —
The New York City-based band Hazmat Modine has become a global sensation, touring 40 countries in just 15 years, and will soon perform at Flushing Town Hall on Saturday, October 22—the perfect setting for a band whose musical influences are as diverse as the venue’s Queens neighborhood. Hazmat Modine will be joined by special guest, 2019 NEA National Heritage Fellow Balla Kouyaté, and the evening will feature dance lessons from Mali.
While dedicated to the performance of blues music, Hazmat Modine infuses its sound with a wide range of instruments—including harmonicas, tuba, drums, guitar, banjo, a full horn section, and throaty vocals— and incorporates new influences from its travels around the globe. With each new venue and adventure, the band’s performance evolves.
The group’s name “Hazmat” is a portmanteau of “hazardous material,” and “Modine,” the name of a company that manufactures commercial heaters.
Although Hazmat Modine may not yet be a household name, audiences may be surprised to discover they are already familiar with the group’s music. In 2012, its hit song “Bahamut” was featured on So You Think You Can Dance.
Hazmat Modine heads to Flushing Town Hall with a new album, Box of Breath, that features a collection of original material and the band in full command of their self-created idiom — swimming in international waters but never far from the American coast. Malian riffs mix with Mississippi mud and Tin Pan Alley, stretching the band’s aesthetic roots to include notes of hibiscus and the buzz of mosquitos. There are songs about death, striving, hoarding, time, and the march of dementia. Soaring horns and wailing harmonica are joined by the clang of modern India and the murmur of China, a distillation of Hazmat Modine’s travels through time, place and sound.
Reviewing the new album, music critic Dominique Boulay wrote in Move & Blues Magazine: “This is a New York band that has achieved the tour de force, by itself, of representing the entire history of American music. A vast musical melting pot in which all genres merge to form one!”
Flushing Town Hall audiences can also look forward to the band’s special guest, Balla Kouyaté, a 2019 National Heritage Fellow, balafon player and djeli who has been featured on more than 25 albums, including Yo-Yo Ma’s Songs of Joy and Peace and Sing Me Home. He also regularly plays with world-renowned West African musicians touring the States.
The word “djeli” derives from the Mandinka language, meaning the oral historians, musicians, and performers who keep alive and celebrate the history of the Mandé people of Mali, Guinea, and other West African countries. Kouyaté explains, “It means blood and speaks to the central role we play in our society.” Kouyate’s dedication to carrying on his family’s hereditary role as a djeli, his musical virtuosity on the balafon (the West African antecedent of the xylophone), and his humble nature and humility set him apart from others.
“We are so excited to bring Hazmat Modine back to Flushing Town Hall for audiences to enjoy their beautiful blues stylings and global music influences. You can go around the world in music with one night of these amazing musicians. The concert will begin with dance lessons from Mali.” said Ellen Kodadek, Flushing Town Hall’s Executive & Artistic Director. “We are grateful to Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation’s Jazz Touring Network for their support of tonight’s concert, which was postponed due to the covid pandemic”.
Following a 7pm set of dance lessons from Mali, Hazmat Modine and Balla Kouyaté will perform at 8 PM on Saturday, October 22. In-Person Tickets can be purchased here: $18 General Admission/ $12 Members, Seniors, & Students w/ID, and include dance lessons.
Flushing Town Hall is accessible by car, bus, train and foot—located a short distance from the 7 train—at 137-35 Northern Blvd., in Flushing, Queens. Access for wheelchair users and individuals with limited mobility is available.
Tickets can also be purchased at www.flushingtownhall.org or by calling (718) 463-7700 x222.
Hazmat Modine’s performance is made possible by the Mid Atlantic Jazz Touring Network.
For the venue’s full schedule of 2022 Fall events, visit: https://www.flushingtownhall.org/events
Although as of March 7, 2022, New York City has relaxed its COVID policies for indoor arts and entertainment events, Flushing Town Hall will maintain its prior policy for the safety of its audiences, artists, and staff. This policy will remain in effect until further notice: Flushing Town Hall requires all visitors, performers, and staff to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 with matching identification. Additionally, masks will be required at all times. For more details on Flushing Town Hall’s Covid-safety measures and vaccine requirements, please visit: https://www.flushingtownhall.org/covid-safety.
Support Global Arts with a Gift Today!
All gifts of $50 or more give you exclusive Flushing Town Hall Circle of Friends membership benefits including a Smithsonian membership, ticket discounts, and more! Donations in any amount are appreciated to support the artists and the nonprofit cultural organization as they continue to provide programming and entertainment across New York and the world.
Flushing Town Hall is a not for profit organization and receives major support in 2022 from the National Endowment for the Arts; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature; New York State Assembly Member Ron Kim; The City of New York, Mayor Eric Adams; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Commissioner Laurie Cumbo; Queens Borough President Donovan Richards; The New York City Council, Speaker Adrienne E. Adams and New York City Council Members Sandra Ung, Tiffany Caban, Shekar Krishnan, Linda Lee, Vickie Paladino, Lynn Schulman, and Jessica Won; Howard Gilman Foundation, Booth Ferris Foundation, Guru Krupa Foundation, Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation.
To view current donor lists, please visit www.flushingtownhall.org/donor-listings
About Flushing Town Hall
Flushing Town Hall (FTH), a Smithsonian affiliate, presents multi-disciplinary global arts that engage and educate the global communities of Queens and New York City in order to foster mutual appreciation. As advocates of arts equity since 1979, we support local, immigrant, national, and international artists, developing partnerships and collaborations that enhance our efforts. As a member of New York City’s Cultural Institutions Group (CIG), we serve to restore, manage and program the historic 1862 landmark on behalf of the City of New York. FTH celebrates the history of Queens as the home of Jazz, by presenting the finest in Jazz performance. We are committed to arts education and hands-on learning, for the arts-curious, arts enthusiasts, and professional artists. We serve one of the most diverse communities in the world and strive to uphold the legacy of inclusiveness that has defined our community since the Flushing Remonstrance of 1657.
Flushing Town Hall is a proud member of the Cultural Institutions Group (CIG), a collective of 34 nonprofit museums, performing arts centers, historical societies, zoos, and botanical gardens across all five boroughs with a distinct private-public partnership with the City of New York and a commitment to serving all New Yorkers.
Flushing Town Hall acknowledges that we are on the traditional land of the Matinecock People, one of the original tribes of New York, and the first people of Flushing, Queens. The Matinecock continue to live and work on this land to this day. Flushing Town Hall honors their elders who have stewarded this land throughout generations.