musings from boston

screams, whispers and songs from planet earth

Tag: Jaggery (Page 1 of 3)

Jaggery Takes Us to the Crux of the Matter

CREDIT: Matt Samolis

CREDIT: Matt Samolis

It’s a last-gasp attempt to be timely, to be sure, but I feel I must mark the occasion. A favorite Boston band — no, let’s call them a musical art ensemble — by the name of Jaggery is officially releasing a new album today. It’s called Crux. This evening, they’ll be hosting their record release party at ONCE Ballroom at Cuisine en Locale, with what will most certainly be a stunning performance by this wonderful group of musicians. Because, truth be told, I have yet to see a performance by them that isn’t stunning. And that includes the one at the dearly departed Church, which was done in darkness with people shining their smartphones onto the stage when the club suddenly lost power.

I’m listening to Crux as I write this. Beginning with Singer Mali’s ‘War Cry,’ like an eagle warning the planet of imminent catastrophe, the album embarks on a mysterious journey through jungles and tropical rain forests, deserts and savannas, open tundra and grasslands. Such is the breadth and depth of these musical passages, like unique, self-contained acts of a life-long, epic musical. I’m quite used to Mali’s playful, threatening, taunting and soaring vocals being jaw-dropping, but she has reached new heights (and depths) here. It’s the voice of a million colors.

The musical accompaniment provided by Mali’s exquisite piano and her insanely talented mini-orchestra – Daniel Schubmehl (drums, percussion), Tony Leva (upright bass), Rachel Jayson (viola), Dylan Jack (drums, percussion) and Petaluma Vale (harp, vocals) – is downright kaleidoscopic, begging for a thousand dancers to be flinging themselves around, under and over each other on a vast Broadway stage.

In this incomprehensible world we now find ourselves in, with so much discordant noise and nonsense all around, there are thankfully those extremely rare occasions of brilliance. Think of it as a tiny glistening diamond in a sea of shit. A sensible and sophisticated environment in endless rows of tacky used car lots and strip malls. And for that moment, as we behold that impossibly perfect gemstone forged from the chaos that surrounds it, against all odds, we are simultaneously taken out of ourselves and back into our center.

And that’s the crux of the matter.


video filmed by SKMDC777

Tour Dates

04/29 Somerville, MA – ONCE Ballroom – album release party
06/21 Kingston, NY – BSP Lounge
06/22 Philadelphia, PA – TBA
06/23 Baltimore, MD – The Crown
06/24 Washington, DC – 16th Street House
06/25 Reidsville, NC – Brad & Tammy’s Listening Loft
06/27 Indianapolis, IN – 10 Johnson Avenue
06/28 Chicago, IL – Martyr’s
06/29 Detroit, MI – TBA
06/30 Toronto, ON – Transaz Club, Southern Cross Room
07/01 Buffalo, NY – Hickory Sanctuary
07/02 TBA
07/03 New York, NY – TBA

web | facebook | twitter | youtube, | bandcamp | soundcloud

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Jaggery Presents The Beautiful and the Grotesque: Inspired by Leonardo da Vinci @ the MFA

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Remis Auditorium
465 Huntington Ave • Boston, MA
Friday, May 1st @ 7:30pm | all ages
::: info & tickets :::
::: facebook event :::

It’s high time to check back in with my favorite darkly erotic, harp-wielding, siren-luring, viola-beckoning, piano, percussive and bass jazz-jiving exotic ensemble, Jaggery. They have an incredibly special performance coming up on Friday, May 1st at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. It is called Jaggery Presents The Beautiful and the Grotesque: Inspired by Leonardo da Vinci, an evening of original new music that coincides with and celebrates a visiting exhibit at the MFA of rare drawings by da Vinci.


The show is Leonardo and the Idea of Beauty and it features some drawings that have never been shown before in Boston.

Even by Jaggery’s usual ultra-high standards, this is going to be one damned classy gig. Most all the members of Jaggery have written their own pieces for the show and they explain their inspiration as being “everything from Leonardo’s studies of light and shadow on drapery, his forays into flight and flying machines, his bronze horse statue, an essay regarding correspondence between a music theorist and his portrait painter, to our own interpretation of Renaissance music.”

As it’s all new music, we’ll all have to be delightfully surprised together, but if you’re not familiar with Jaggery’s sensuously dark magic, here’s a little taste from their For The Record [LIVE] recording, released last year.

In addition to brand new offerings from Jaggery (as if that wasn’t enough to entice), they’ll be joined by very special guests Rabbit Rabbit (Carla Kihlstedt/Matthias Bossi), who, for those of you familiar with Mali Sastri’s magnificent Orgs, was renamed Now You for Org: Murder Ballads and Hello Dust for Org: Asylum. Brilliant musicians.

Needless to say, this is going to be an amazing event. Their performance is part of the highly recommended ArtWeek Boston. As they say in their press release, “come party with us like it’s the fourteenth-to-seventeenth century!!!”

And with that I’ll leave you with a pair of mind-melting music videos, to get you all in the mood. See you there.

Jaggery: web | facebook | twitter | youtube
Rabbit Rabbit: web | facebook | twitter | youtube

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Outside The Box, part 3: A weekend blowout (and some fine Boston bands)

Those of you willing to pry yourself away from the AC and head to Boston Common are in store for a real treat this weekend. Outside The Box, Boston’s FREE festival, has been going on all week. They’ll finish things in grand style with a stunning lineup. Quintessential Boston singer songwriter Will Dailey & The Rivals perform their rootsy rock in the afternoon on Friday. On Friday night, all the interesting creatures will definitely be out on the town for the dramatic and theatrical tour de force that is Jaggery and Walter Sickert and The Army Of Broken Toys — *performing together*!!


They’re calling it The Looking Glass Revival, as if the thought of these two amazing bands on the same bill isn’t terrifying enough. Definitely make it to this one, if you know what’s good for you. Things get even crazier on Saturday with a “Boston Homecoming” so you’ll want to get there early. See the ::: MAP OF EVENTS ::: for stage locations.

Friday, July 19

Will Dailey & The Rivals
Boston Common: The Beacon ~ 12:30-1:30pm

Jaggery, Walter Sickert and The Army of Broken Toys
Boston Common: Spiegeltent at Tremont ~ 8:30-10:30pm

To be continued…

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Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys & Jaggery are off to the Wild West

I can think of no better way to come out of semi-hibernation than to promote two of my favorite Boston bands as they hit the West Coast (and Texas, whatever one calls that) — and to indulge in some pony/bunny/unicorn madness. The fact that this uber-strange video (by the inimitable Walter Sickert) seems to fit my current frame of mind is worrying indeed.

So anyway, Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys have a haunting new album out mere days from now called Soft Time Traveler. It was inspired by Walter’s chance magical encounter with a deer while in Block Island, while reading about the battle between natives and American Colonists. As one might imagine, the music is filled to the brim with beauty and angst. But then, isn’t that always the case with the Army of Toys? They’re heading off with the equally awe-inspiring Jaggery. Have a listen to a few songs from the new offering, which includes one of my live favorites, “Devil’s In The Details.” And let the trance-inducing pony video revert you back to an earlier life form. If you’re not familiar with the epic productions of these two stunning bands, do see them if you can.

Also, a full stream of the entire album is available for a limited time only on American Songwriter.

Musical tornado warning for the following areas:

4/13 Seattle, WA – The Royal Room
4/14 Portland, OR – The Hollywood Theatre
4/15 San Francisco, CA – Cafe Du Nord
4/16 San Diego, CA – Queen Bee
4/17 Scottsdale, AZ – Rogue Bar
4/19 Victoria, TX – JAM Fest
4/20 Austin, TX – Swan Dive


Note: Jaggery will be doing shows as a duo (Singer Mali & Tony Leva) on their way back; check the Jaggery site for more details.

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Seeing Out The Year That Was: My 12 Favorite Shows of 2012

A last minute addition: The Magnetic Fields at Symphony Hall for First Night (last night)

A last minute addition: The Magnetic Fields at Symphony Hall for First Night (last night)

It’s a good thing I held off posting this, because I’ve just made it an even dozen in honor of the year that just flew by, 2012. The last one? A band I had the immense pleasure of seeing for the first time, on First Night just last night at the majestic Symphony Hall. [Why do they call it “First Night”? Shouldn’t it be “Last Night”?]

I saw a total of 24 shows this year. Not a whole lot for a music blogger, but I’ll tell you—nearly all of them were spectacular. That’s damn good odds. I’ve heard some people say that 2012 was an awful year. What I’ll say, from my personal perspective, is this: 2012 was a year of massive challenges and difficulties, but the rewards, if you were prepared to step up, and I mean step up in a major way, were equally impressive. It was most definitely not a year for lightweights. But it’s all moving forward, and it’s moving forward quickly. Hold on to something sturdy, because I have a feeling 2013 is going to be just as intense. Remember, with challenge comes opportunity. Happy New Year, everyone.

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How will you spend your Last Day On Earth?

It seems like only yesterday I was wandering around Copley Square wearing my 2012 glasses, taking in a spontaneous Hare Krishna First Night celebration and eating strange little packaged treats handed out by devotees. At that time, the long-anticipated, mysterious Mayan Prophesy was this curious notion still comfortably off in the distance. I decided on that heady evening that I would spend 2012 as if the prophesy were in fact true—that everything would end on December 21. We’re often told that we should always live our lives as if each day were to be our last. So, facing what may have been the final year of my life, or at least the last stretch before some sort of cataclysmic event, did I spend each waking moment in the most meaningful way possible? Did I push myself to the outer limits? Did I reach for the stars in terms of productivity and my search for enlightenment? No, not exactly.

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Org: Literati, with Jaggery, Gem Club, What Time Is It, Mr. Fox & others at Club Oberon Tomorrow night!

Org: Literati – a literature inspired performance
Thursday, November 8 at Club Oberon
2 Arrow Street (Harvard Square), Cambridge, MA
doors: 7:30pm, show at 8pm | 18+ | adv tickets: $20 seating, $15 standing / day of tickets: $20 standing, $25 seating | BUY TICKETS

It’s a special occasion tomorrow night at Club Oberon, as Singer Mali (of Jaggery) will be hosting a rare public Org. This time the theme is literature, and a fantastic line-up of performers in various disciplines—music, poetry and prose, dance, theatre, film—will be performing works inspired by writers “from Yeats to Genet to Dostoevsky.” Jaggery will also be celebrating the release of their EP Private Violence, which is inspired by Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. The evening will be hosted by former English professor Mika Cooper—a nice touch.

Featured performers: Gem Club, What Time Is It, Mr. Fox?, Eileen Little, UnAmerika’s Sweetheart Karin Webb, Jennifer Hicks, Jaggery and live artist Kristilyn Stevenson.

It is suggested that you come dressed as your favorite literary character, and that you bring a copy of your favorite book that you’re willing to part with.

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Org: Intoxication (under the influence) @ Club Oberon, Friday night!

Image: Stian Berg Larsen

Image: Stian Berg Larsen

Org: Intoxication (under the influence)
featuring music: cirkestra, shana falana (brooklyn), molly zenobia; dance: shri rajuli with honey circuit, the wondertwins; magic: dezrah the strange; and musically MC’d by: singer mali (of Jaggery) with raky sastri (of You Won’t)
Friday, April 20 at 8pm
Club Oberon, 2 Arrow Street (Harvard Square), Cambridge MA
18+ | $20 seating, $15 standing
::: buy tickets here ::: (or at the Oberon box office)

Anyone who has been to one of Singer Mali’s infamous Orgs knows this is not to be missed. This one is open to the public, and is the 3rd such extravaganza at the wonderful Oberon in Harvard Square (think: gothic supper club). The theme this time is “Intoxication (under the influence,” and its mission statement: “to exhilarate and stupefy as if by liquor.” I have no doubt this wonderful line up of artists and oddities will do just that.F For those uninitiated, Orgs are multimedia spectaculars; avantgarde, gothic variety shows. Very special. Here’s a taste of what’s in store.

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Sounds of Venus, SchoolTree, Jaggery, and BENT KNEE at the Middle East… don’t forget your crayons!

(clockwise from top left): Jaggery (Noah Blumenson-Cook), BENT KNEE, Lainey SchoolTree (Caleb Cole), and Sound of Venus (http://www.jenniferbmorgan.com).

(clockwise from top left): Jaggery (Noah Blumenson-Cook), BENT KNEE, Lainey SchoolTree (Caleb Cole), and Sound of Venus (http://www.jenniferbmorgan.com).

Coloring Party with Sounds of Venus, SchoolTree, Jaggery, BENT KNEE @ the Middle East Upstairs
Thursday, November 17, 2011
9pm doors | 18+ | $10 | facebook event | tickets

Sounds of Venus, SchoolTree, Jaggery, and BENT KNEE cordially invite you to their Coloring Party. For one night only, the Middle East Upstairs is transformed into an interactive art space. Draw while you listen; let the music inspire you to artistic heights (or depths). Bring crayons, pens, pencils, pastels, oils, acrylics, calligraphy sets, stone tablets, etch-a-sketches, play-dough, paper, etc. ~ additional art supplies will be provided.

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Org: Asylum at Club Oberon Tonight!

by http://www.opacity.us/

by http://www.opacity.us/

Org: Asylum ~ featuring Jaggery, Amanda Palmer, Michael Pope, Ginger Ibex, Hello Dust & others
Friday, Sept. 30, 2011 at 8pm
Club Oberon, 2 Arrow Street, Cambridge
18+, doors: 7:30pm; show starts at 8pm | $20/$15| tickets

Curated by Singer Mali (of Jaggery), the Org is an ongoing series of performance events that features an extremely eclectic range of performers and artists in a multimedia extravaganza – music, dance, visual art, film, performance art, spoken word… In this Org, Mali and her friends explore insanity and sanctuary, in what I can promise you will be a unique, fascinating, and probably disturbing evening (but in an awareness-expanding sort of way).


“Org: Asylum includes a short film shot on location at a local abandoned state mental institution, a butoh interpretation of Vaslav Nijinsky, a body-painting storyteller sharing tales of art-making and suicide attempts, and much more.”

Featured artists include: Jaggery, Amanda Palmer, Michael Pope, Bryan Papciak, Ginger Ibex, Karen Montanaro, UnAmerika’s Sweetheart Karin Webb, Hello Dust, Sarah Jocelyn, Jennifer Hicks, and others.

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