Arts Previews

  • A number of different nyckelharpas, a Swedish folk instrument dating back over 600 years, will be played at Forbes Library by a master builder of the instrument. Submitted photo

Thursday, June 27, 2019
Northampton ArtsCouncil awards grants

In its most recent round  of funding, the Northampton Arts Council has awarded 29 grants totaling $20,000 to support a variety of artistic projects. The funds are raised through a number of programing events the Arts Council hosts in the Northampton community such as the Silver Chord Bowl and First Night Northampton.

The grants fund artistic projects in seven disciplines: dance, film/video, literature, mixed media, music, theater, and visual arts. Awards range from $250 to $1,000. All told, the Arts Council received 68 requests for funding totaling over $97,700.

“Funding of these projects would not have been possible without our community members who continue to show up in support of our benefit events, and the sponsors and donors who contribute time and again,” the Council said in a statement, noting that it regrets not being able to fund “many worthy projects.”

An instrumental‘petting zoo’

On Monday, July 1, Forbes Library in Northampton will offer a presentation of the nyckelharpa, a Swedish folk instrument that has been played in various forms for over 600 years. At least four different versions of the instrument will be played at the event by Earl Holzman, a nyckelharpa builder from Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

According to library officials, the nyckelharpa has wooden keys that act like frets to stop (shorten) the melody string to make different pitches. It has bowed strings and sympathetic strings that vibrate on their own, creating a unique resonance.

Attendees will be able to try out several instruments after Holzman’s presentation, which begins at 7 p.m. in the Coolidge Presidential Library at Forbes. You can listen to a nyckelharpa being played at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OtEu_D8c-c

Earl Holzman’s website is earlharpas.com

Alice Howe playsthe Montague Bookmill

Smith College graduate and singer-songwriter Alice Howe will bring songs from her debut full-length album, “Visions,” to the Montague Bookmill on Saturday, July 6 at 7:30 p.m. in a co-bill with ambient folk and Americana performer Dave Dersham.

A 2013 graduate of Smith (she majored in medieval history and sang with a campus a capella group) who grew up in Newton, Howe began singing at early age but did not begin pursuing music as a career until the last few years, according to publicity notes.

“Visions” is produced by the veteran bass player Freebo, who has played with Bonnie Raitt, Loudon Wainwright III, Maria Muldar, Dr. John and others. The album includes a number of original songs by Howe as well as covers of work by Bob Dylan and other performers.

Tickets for the July 6 Bookmill show are $10.00 at the door, cash only.