Music from Around the World, on the Atlantic City Boardwalk
International Night Concert Series is Fun All Summer Long ? And It’s Free!
“We were just walking the Boards, and the next thing you know we hear a band rocking ‘Born to Run.’ We’re Springsteen fans, so we grabbed a seat. This is great.”
So said Joe Carnacci of Pittsburgh, whose recent stroll along the Atlantic City Boardwalk ended at the International Nights summer concert series, an open-air entertainment event offered every Wednesday during the summer at Kennedy Plaza, across from historic Boardwalk Hall. This summer’s series kicked off with a performance by the B-Street Band, in a tribute to Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Van Morrison, John Mellencamp and other legends of rock-and-roll. It’s the perfect backdrop: the seaside at just about dusk. And it’s all set to the accompaniment of the rolling surf. Carnacci and his family, including wife Kathy and daughter Rory, got free front-row seats for the 90-minute concert, joined by several hundred passersby.
A Little of This, A Little of That
Sponsored by the Atlantic City Free Public Library, the International Night concert series is now in its seventh great year. Think of is as a sampler of music from the four corners of the world, along with all the homegrown hits. In addition to the hard-rocking B-Street Band, this year’s lineup includes the Latin jazz of the Cintron Band; the thundering excitement of Japanese drummers Taiko-Masala; Bollywood music and dance by Nitrya Creations; the soulful sounds of Caribefunk; and a whole lot more.
“We try to present a mix of new groups and old favorites who come back year after year,” says Don Latham, public information officer for of the library. The world-renowned folk ensemble Barynya, for example, is a proven crowd-pleaser, blending the musical and dance traditions of Russia and the Ukraine, influenced by Jewish and Gypsy cultures. Another popular ensemble, Island Jam, performs the beautifully fluid dance of Polynesia, says Latham, “and takes you on a tour of the isles.”
Bollywood to Bali to Great Britain
In a fitting conclusion to this year’s series, the British Invasion will bring back the heyday of the Fab Four, 50 years after the Beatles’ 1964 performance at Boardwalk Hall. “The Beatles themselves played just steps away from where this performance is going to be taking place,” notes Latham. “It’s going to be pretty cool.”
The series continues every Wednesday evening in July and August, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Folding chairs are available for your comfort, but they go fast. That’s OK ? Rory Carnacci didn’t stay in her seat for more than a few minutes before jumping up and dancing to the music.
Tourists from New Orleans also applauded the series. In a post on the B-Street Band’s Facebook page, New Orleans native Laura Messina wrote, “We just happened to be on the Boardwalk to see these guys. Really enjoyed the show and music. Thanks for a fun time! We have enjoyed your city.
“This is the kind of thing people go home and tell their friends and family about ? walking the Boardwalk and discovering a great cultural show taking place right here. We have a loyal following of locals who come out to the series every week, and we also get people who happen to be walking by. Everyone has fun.”
• Taiko Masala on Wednesday, July 16 – By combining the training and discipline of Japanese martial arts with the precision and power of complex drumming, Taiko Masala brings visually stunning and breathless excitement to its performances. The group’s arsenal of instruments, all handmade by the ensemble, ranges from eight-inch hand-held drums to five-foot barrel drums, and includes the giant 250-pound O-daiko.
• Caribefunk on Wednesday, July 23 – Caribefunk, which hails from Colombia, combines salsa and elements of Caribbean music – such as calypso, rocksteady, zouk, Haitian compas, bullerengue and cumbiamba – with powerful funk rhythms to create an upbeat and energetic style all its own.
• Nritya Creations on Wednesday, July 30 – The creative dance style of Nritya Creations artistically blends various styles of Indian dance with western dance forms, such as jazz, ballet, lyrical and hip-hop. This style is innovative and contemporary, yet maintains the elements of classical Indian dance.
• Dendê and Band on Wednesday, Aug. 6 – Bandleader Dendê is a percussionist, singer, composer, teacher and multi-instrumentalist. His band fuses Brazil’s rhythm heavy music with the grooves of afrobeat, reggae and meringue to create a sizzling dance party atmosphere.
• Island Jam on Wednesday, Aug. 13 – Island Luau Entertainment presents a show of contrasts. One minute hula girls are gracefully dancing to slow and relaxing Polynesian music, and the next the group turns up the energy and heat, pounding away on the drums as the male members perform a warrior dance or sensational fire dancing exhibition.
• Barynya on Wednesday, Aug. 20 – The music, dance and song ensemble Barynya of New York City is a world-renowned group regarded by some as the premier Russian folk ensemble outside of Russia. Barynya presents Russian, Cossack, Ukrainian, Jewish and Russian Gypsy music, along with traditional dances that are emotional, energetic and often highly athletic.
• British Invasion on Wednesday, Aug. 27 – The British Invasion will perform classics by The Beatles and other popular British artists from the 1960s, including the Rolling Stones and The Who, in the International Night Series finale.
For more information about the Atlantic City Library International Night Series, please call (609) 3452269, ext. 3112.