Blues musician Taj Mahal; Santa Fe Women’s Ensemble; singersongwriter David Berkeley; Horse Lords
Blues with a twist: Taj Mahal
The renowned Taj Mahal brings his trio to Santa Fe Farmers Market Pavilion (1607 Paseo de Peralta) at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 26. Mahal, a native of New York, first became well known with his 1968 acoustic-blues releases Taj Mahal, on which he offers screaming pure blues such as “Leaving Trunk,” and the more relaxed The Natch’l
Blues with classics like the wonderfully rhythmic “Corinna” and “The Cuckoo.” Some 40 albums later, he’s also a veteran of stage and recording collaborations with Lucinda Williams, Ali Farka Touré, Michelle Shocked, the Rolling Stones, Ziggy Marley, Toumani Diabaté, and dozens of others. This is a bluesman with an exploratory bent. He has taken some heat over the years because of his penchant for incorporating other types of music, among them reggae, gospel, R& B, West African music, and jazz — the title track of his 1997 disc Señor Blues is a song by jazz composer and pianist Horace Silver, and that album won him a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album. Tickets are $38-$350 at www.brownpapertickets.com. Proceeds benefit Santa Fe’s public radio station, KSFR-101.1 FM.
— Paul Weideman
Sonic hoofing: Horse Lords
The Baltimore band Horse Lords — Andrew Bernstein on saxophone and percussion, Max Eilbacher on bass and electronics, Owen Gardner on guitar, and Sam Haberman on drums — play Radical Abacus on Thursday, May 26. Founded in 2010, Horse Lords work in a realm of modern rock ’n’ roll. “Using a just intonation tuning system [as opposed to the common 12-tone equal temperament tuning], the band constructs layers of punching, syncopated phrases that call upon elements of krautrock, African poly-rhythms, and classical minimalism,” according to its Tumblr site. Also performing this night are Waytansea Point (and that’s Tempe, Arizona, artist and techno-musician Mitchell Keaney) and Santa Fe’s Angelo Harmsworth. Radical Abacus is located at 1226-D Calle de Comercio. The music starts at 8 p.m. and admission is $5. Visit www.radicalabacus.com. — P.W.
Studio al fresco: David Berkeley
On Saturday, May 21, a performance by singer-songwriter David Berkeley kicks off a new music series, The Studio Sessions, featuring concerts in artists’ studios. Berkeley performs music from his recently released sixth album, Cardboard Boat. Recorded in Chupadero, it is populated by songs he wrote as expressions of each of the characters in his 2015 novella, The Free Brontosaurus. Berkeley is accompanied by Ben Wright and Josh Martin. For an idea of the character of the evening, All Music Guide tells us that Berkeley “channels the earthy spirit of Donovan, Nick Drake, and Elliott Smith with his fusion of finger-plucked guitar ballads and tastefully arranged pop/rock.” The Saturday concert begins at 7 p.m. (and proceeds under a rising full moon) at the outdoor sculpture studio of Somers Randolph (1889 Conejo Drive). The suggested donation is $15; kids with adults are admitted without charge. The concert benefits Meow Wolf’s Learning Center. — P.W.
Starry, starry night: Santa Fe Women’s Ensemble
The 17 members of the Santa Fe Women’s Ensemble always have something unfamiliar up their sleeves, being the classical-music group in Santa Fe most devoted to commissioning and premiering new works. In the concluding concert of its 35th season, the chorus performs the 33rd of its commissions: Reina de la noche (Queen of the Night). This setting by American composer Z. Randall Stroope of a Spanish-language poem by Adriana Raquel Vidal suggests a vision known to all Santa Feans: the cúpula estrellada, the starry dome whose “spray of diamonds floods the life on earth beneath.” Also on the program, which is titled “Celebration of Women,” are works from the Baroque composer Francesca Caccini, Classicist Baldassare Galuppi, and Romantic Johannes Brahms, along with pieces by a handful of contemporary composers, including two further items by Stroope. Linda Raney conducts this concert, which begins at 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 22, at First Presbyterian Church (208 Grant Ave.). Tickets ($25, with discounts available) can be had through Tickets Santa Fe at the Lensic (505-988-1234, www.ticketssantafe.org).
— James M. Keller