It was Bob Dylan ‘s gig at Town Hall50 years ago, for example, that prompted the New York Times’ Robert Shelton to write a rave that helped propel the erstwhile troubadour to stardom. The Punch Brothers, led by Chris Thile, greeted the crowd with a languid version of “Tumblin’ Tumbleweeds,” then transitioned into the evening’s backing band. Mandolin, banjo, bass, guitar and fiddle, the portable instruments that have carried the music through the decades, drove voices consumed by the spirit of hand-me-down folk. “Hang me, oh hang me, and I’ll be dead and gone,” sang Isaac in “Hang Me, Oh Hang Me.” The singer and actor plays the titular character in “Inside Llewyn Davis,” and the song opens and closes the film. Loosely based on the late singer Dave Van Ronk, “Davis” focuses on the plight of a struggling singer to prove his gift to an often hard and unforgiving world. Isaac’s portrayal succeeds because he’s such a talented musician. PHOTOS: Unexpected musical collaborations The night’s narrative was driven by something more elusive than plot, though, and the wonder was divided equally between the songs themselves and the many thrilling interpretations. I don’t know if I’ve ever been in a room with so many humans with perfect pitch. Notes soared with pure vocal and instrumental virtuosity as young voices embodied ancient emotions. Gillian Welch and David Rawlings channeled the Carter Family for “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” a deathly ode to eternal bliss featuring dueling guitar and mandolin solos. Actor/singer Stark Sands , who plays an earnest Southern singer in the film, offered the sweet folk-pop song “Last Thing on My Mind.” Lake Street Dive highlighted magnetic vocalist Rachael Price, drawing fromfolk and jazz for “Go Down Smooth.” Over and over, the boldfaced names proved their status. Jack White delivered a typically raw and honest version of “My Mama’s Baby Child,” a song over the years interpreted by artists including Bukka White and Lightnin’ Hopkins. He also offered one of the evening’s sweetest moments, in his song with the White Stripes , “We’re Going to Be Friends.” Marcus Mumford’s rendition of “I Was Young When I Left Home” was utterly heartbreaking: honest, real and without pretense. CHEAT SHEET: Fall arts preview Joan Baez, who has graced this stage on any number of occasions, was greeted with a hero’s welcome by audience and musicians, and her performance of “Joe Hill”with Colin Meloy and Gillian Welchbrought theold daysinto the present. Her version of “House of the Rising Sun” also was haunting. Patti Smith honored Baez, and the pair teamed for a rendition of Smith’s “People Have the Power.” Amid a night of so many peaks, though, one raucous moment stood out: Elvis Costello, who wasserving as Justin Timberlake ‘s understudy, did a rendition of one of the highlights of “Inside Llewyn Davis.” Called “Please Mr.
Music director Christoph Eschenbach at the National Symphony Orchestras season opener Sunday night. (Scott Suchman/National Symphony Orchestra) I want to thank the federal government for paying for it, Rubenstein told the audience Sunday night. And I want to thank the painters for finishing before tomorrow night. The timing, he admitted to laughter, was dumb luck. The gala concert was scheduled more than a year ago, so the $1 million repair and paint job (white, silver, and gold, which nicely matched the NSOs gleaming new organ) was completed over the summer long before a government shutdown threatened the national arts complex. Yo-Yo Ma and Cameron Carpenter. (Margot Schulman) The Kennedy Center has an unusual relationship with the feds: The government pays for the building, grounds and upkeep; private donations pay for performances, staff and other programs, explained spokesman John Dow. The shutdown contingency plans allow concerts, shows and educational programs to continue, but tours will be suspended and the building closed until an hour before evening performances. Of the centers 1,200 full and part-time employees, about 50 are directly impacted by the government going out of business. Supreme Court Justice John Roberts chats with Kennedy Center chairman David Rubenstein at the gala. (Margot Schulman) Which gave the annual NSO gala a certain fin de siecle vibe: VIP patrons (including Justices John Roberts, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Anthony Kennedy) in gowns and tuxedos, a post-performance dinner and dancing in a candlelit tent, music lovers clustered around cellist Yo-Yo Ma, organ virtuoso Cameron Carpenter (steampunk classical in a mohawk, feathered Victorian cravat and rhinestone boots), and conductor Christoph Eschenbach. The gala, chaired by former General Dynamics president Jay Johnson and Sydney Johnson, raised $1.3 million for the NSOs educational programs. Oh, and Rubenstein has a proposal for those warring factions on the Hill. As all of you have heard, music can be beautiful, he said. It can soothe people and make them feel better.
School concert: An electrifying performance makes it a night to remember
While girls had straightened their locks, the boys had gelled their back hair. Two hours before the concert, food and drinks were arranged for the students to recharge themselves. As students anxiously walked in and out of the marquee to confirm that the concert was yet to start. Hiba Nasir, media director and a student of Roots, said rumours had been circulating in the schools corridors and many did not believe that Zafar would actually make it to the event. But sales went up as soon as it was confirmed that he would come, for the first time in three years. As the sun went down, the musical evening picked up momentum. Many students were hustling for the front row. Having an edge over students from other schools, Roots students managed to secure the first seats through their friends who were among the organisers and bouncers. Im so happy my best friend is on the organising team and Im the closest to Ali Zafar, said Mirha Pasha, a student. The VJ came on stage announcing the arrival of the rock star followed by a countdown. As soon as the wait was over, Zafar jumped on stage. Dressed in a grey T-shirt, black jeans tucked in ankle high-boots and a canvas hat, his energised performance revved up the crowd. As the teenagers pressed close to the stage, Zafar managed to keep the crowd bouncing and dancing to his beats successfully for an hour and a half. There are no doubts about Zafars tracks being a hit at any teenagers party playlist.