L-R: Diana Burco, Suistamon Sähkö, Ragini Ensemble
Bryant Park Picnic Performances presented by Bank of America season of free, live performances continues on Friday, August 25 with Accordions Around the World. This year’s festival, curated by Ariana Hellerman, includes one of Colombia’s biggest stars, the Latin Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Diana Burco, performing in the regional vallenato style from the Atlantic Coast; the puckish, experimental electronic quartet Suistamon Sähkö, whose unique mix of Finnish traditional and techno will make for an electrifying dance party; and the Brooklyn Raga Massive all-women sub-collective Ragini Ensemble, playing the enrapturing traditional matrilineal music of the South Asian diaspora.
Attendees to Bryant Park Picnic Performances may bring their own food or purchase from on-site food and beverage vendors near the Lawn. At all performances, attendees can discover new dishes and celebrate classics from the five boroughs with a rotating line-up of local artisanal vendors curated by Hester Street Fair. Stout NYC offers giant pretzels, gourmet popcorn and other light bites as well as a selection of beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages for purchase.
Accordions Around the World
Featuring Diana Burco, Suistamon Sähkö, and Ragini Ensemble
Curated by Ariana Hellerman
A rising star of the explosive and multidimensional Colombian music scene, Diana Burco is a singer, songwriter, and accordion player. Burco has played and investigated Colombia’s traditional music since she was a child. She has traveled throughout Colombia searching out the country’s varied forms and expressions, and has studied and collaborated with the masters that interpret them. This deep cultural fluency and her own wide-ranging contemporary explorations mark Burco as a 21st century troubadour charting an original path rooted in her country’s rich heritage. She has participated in programs and platforms around the world including One Beat Colombia, Ethno World, and MAPAS (Artes Performativas del Atlantico Sur).
The Arctic Etnotekno act Suistamon Sähkö from Finland gains momentum gig by gig and cheerfully moves through ethno techno and smoke shack sounds to the world of hip-hop like the genre hybrid they are. The group favors a boisterous rave atmosphere, synthesizer buzz, rap declarations and a Soviet-made accordion and makes the audience jiggle and the cottage floor shake. The Suistamon Sähkö rhythm universe is a rambunctious mix of primitive primordial force and experimental dance music. In addition to Finnish stages, the Suistamon Sähkö spark has also flown to international arenas in e.g. Germany, France and Russia. During their short existence, the group has published three albums and a dozen music videos which have attracted attention. Suistamon Sähkö was selected as the opening act of the notable World Music Expo Womex Tampere 2019 and as the showcase act of the Folk Alliance International New Orleans, USA, in early 2020. In 2022 the band performed as part of globalFest meets TinyDesk.
Exploring a merging of diasporic songs, matrilineal folk songs and beat-driven celebratory chutney anthems, the Ragini Ensemble – in partnership with Brooklyn Raga Massive – gathers songs born out of the South Asian diaspora spread wide, fragmented and reforged in Reunion Island, Guyana and Trinidad. Speaking, or rather singing into the aesthetic body of work defined by the “Coolitude” movement, this set is inspired by the legacy of post-indentureship collective memory, nostalgia and reclamation of joy in the gathering to sing, itself a cultural practice known as “baithak gana” – an intimate act of sitting(or dancing) together in song. Tabla player/Electronic artist, Roshni Samlal, violinist/looper Natie, harmonium player/singer Pratima Doobay and dholak player/singer Kajol Ji re-envision the sounds of their homeland and history.
Follow Bryant Park
Location and Subway Directions:
Bryant Park is situated behind the New York Public Library in midtown Manhattan, between 40th and 42nd Streets & Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Take the B, D, F, or M train to 42nd Street/Bryant Park; or, take the 7 train to 5th Avenue.