The Sweetest Song Festival

Brooklyn Traditional Singers and Their Songs

April 26th through May 27th

Brooklyn Arts Council’s The Sweetest Song Festival (TSS), is a month long focus on Brooklyn’s traditional singers and song styles. From April 26 through May 27, The Sweetest Song will present 12 concerts and 8 singing master classes at various Brooklyn venues. The programs will explore a range of singing traditions as practiced and performed in Brooklyn’s immigrant and diaspora communities and engage New Yorkers in a creative, cross-cultural exchange with some of the finest traditional singers living in Brooklyn.

Singing is at the center of traditional family and community life for Brooklynites of all backgrounds.  It is the art form perhaps most widely practiced and appreciated within community, and yet traditional songs—from Georgian table songs and Dominican salves to Carnatic Hindu devotional songs and Balkan laments—are rarely shared across cultures or with the general public. The Sweetest Song fills this gap, creating an unprecedented opportunity for audiences to learn about a wide range of song traditions continued by their Brooklyn neighbors.
 
Songs will be presented by masters of culturally-specific song traditions, such as Winston “Jeggae” Hoppie, a leading performer of Guyanese kweh-kweh songs, Eva Primack, the renowned singer of Balkan music, and Jose Ortiz, an acclaimed Puerto Rican bombero. Most concerts afford the opportunity for audiences to learn a bit of a song and sing it together. Brooklyn singers can sign up for master classes, to be held at the Brooklyn Music School, taught by some performing artists of The Sweetest Song Festival. 

Brooklyn’s Sweetest Songs: A Traditional Song Sampler
Saturday, April 26, 4-5:30pm

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Encounter with Hindu Devotional Singing
Sunday, April 27, 9-11pm

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Singing the Gods: Songs of Devotion, Praise and Invocation
Wednesday, April 30, 11am-12:30pm





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Young Traditionalists: Rocking Their Roots: Pete Seeger TRIBUTE Concert
Friday, May 2, 7-9:30pm

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Pakistani Encounter: Midwood’s Master Ghazal and Thumri Singers
Saturday, May 3, 7:30-10:30pm

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Ballads, Blues, and Banana Boat Songs
Thursday, May 8, 6:30-8:30pm

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Persian and Balkan Break-out! Brooklyn Singers Expanding Traditions
Saturday, May 10, 9-10:30pm



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Mothersongs: Traditional Singing by, for, and about Mothers
Sunday, May 11, 1-3pm

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Haitian Encounter: Traditional Vodou Songs Collected by Georges Vilson
Wednesday, May 14, 7-9pm


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Sung Among Friends: Intimate Georgian and Yiddish Singing Traditions Thursday, May 15, 7-9pm


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Brooklyn Masters of Traditional Song
Saturday, May 17, 4-5:30pm


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SINGER-TO-SINGER MASTER CLASSES
Tuesday evenings May 6, May 13, May 20, and May 27 from 6-9pm
Two classes per night (6:00-7:00pm and 7:30-8:30pm)

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**The Sweetest Song was curated by former BAC Folk Arts Director Dr. Kay Turner.**