Tomás Doncker is known for his refreshing, high-energy take on blues, rock and experimental jazz and is taking a break from his tour in support of his latest album, Big Apple Blues, with an appearance at the first annual South by South Orange Festival (SxSO). The festival runs from June 26th through the 28th and will feature some of the northeast’s best rock, indie, blues and jazz musicians. Doncker is helping to support the festival along with prominent jazz bassist and CEO of PWI Media Entertainment Mike Griot and In Living Colour drummer Will Calhoun.
Big Apple Blues took well-known blues/no wave artist Tomás Doncker and his band to new heights in 2014 when he partnered with acclaimed poet, Yusef Komunyakaa. Komunyakaa crafted the lyrics for Big Apple Blues and Doncker and his band set them to music, creating an authentic and heartfelt blues/no wave experience. Part of Doncker’s appearance at SxSO is to celebrate the success of the album. Doncker hopes Big Apple Blues will help propel SxSO’s buzz and make its first year a success as well.
SxSO is set up somewhat like its more popular Austin counterpart, South by Southwest, in that the festival takes place around multiple venues in South Orange Village, New Jersey. It has a packed musical schedule including, of course, The Tomás Doncker Band, indie folk rock group Brother Valiant and acoustic rockers Charlie Nolet and Friends.
More than just a music festival, there will also be many workshops and collaborations. Most notably will be the featured Causing Collisions, a performance collaboration between Doncker, Griot, Calhoun, prominent singers Vivian Sessoms and Adam Matta and guitarist Stephane Wrembel. This mashup will feature a huge catalog of blues rock classics, a tribute to the late blues legend Joe Cocker and lots of improvisation from this talented group.
The workshops at SxSO promise to be just as interesting. Mostly interactive, they cover subjects such as the ability of music and art to heal mental illness, addressing the stereotype of the starving artist and the growing correlation between heavy metal and social activism. There is also a carnival-like “midway” which will feature buskers, The Writer’s Circle workshops, an open mic soundstage and a live broadcast from Seton Hall University.
With every genre imaginable covered plus lots of interesting workshops, multimedia displays and other live performances, SxSO promises pack a big punch even in its first year. With the likes of Tomás Doncker and Will Calhoun throwing their weight behind it, this new northeastern alternative to the indie street festival will likely gain a large following just as quickly as SxSW. South by South Orange begins on June 26, and wristbands are still available for only $25 to music fans, artists and thinkers who will be in the New York/North New Jersey area during this weekend. For tickets and information go to the SxSO website. To listen to The Tomás Doncker Band’s Big Apple Blues, go to their Soundcloud page. Both pages are listed below in “Sources.”
Written by Layla Klamt
Soundcloud.com: “The Tomás Doncker Band”
Images courtesy of SxSO and Tomás Doncker press kit.