On Saturday, September 15th the Queens Council on the Arts and the 82nd Street Partnership co-present Salsa Masala: A Jackson Heights Block Party, a festive intercultural musical experience on the streets of Queens.
Created by composer and performer Neil Padukone, the project is the culminating performance of QCA’s Artist Commissioning Program award. Free and open to the public upon registration, the event is hosted at the Viva La Comida Festival, at 82nd Street and Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights/Elmhurst, Queens, from 3:30-5:30pm.
“Walk down Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights, and you hear Bhangra and Bollywood on one side of the street, Cumbia and Bachata on the other,” says Padukone. “What would happen, I wondered, if we all brought our instruments and had one big block party? This project would provide the soundtrack.”
The 6-piece Indo-Latin jazz-funk-hip-hop ensemble fuses bhangra with bachata, cumbia with dandiya, salsa with ragas, all in rhythms rooted in the streets of New York. The project features guitar, sitar, oud, congas, tabla, clave, shekere, dhol, drum set, baritone saxophone, trumpet, electric bass, cowbell, guiro, dhol, as well as several additional guests on vocals, Colombian gaita flute, rap, South Indian violin, and other instruments. For more information, please see the link below.
Padukone chose to present the world premiere of this work at the 82nd Street Partnership’s Viva La Comida food and music festival, for its geographic centrality to the entire Jackson Heights and Elmhurst community, and as a hub of culture, food, and music for residents in the neighborhood.
“No matter what some in Washington might be saying these days,” says Padukone, “there’s nothing more American, more New York, and more Queens than different cultures interacting to create something beautiful.”
This event is free. RSVP for the event at https://www.queenscouncilarts.
More information on Padukone’s project is available at https://www.queenscouncilarts.
Selected for its capacity to tell untold stories in American art, Padukone’s project was chosen from nearly 100 applications for the inaugural Artist Commissioning Program (ACP) award in music composition.
QCA’s inaugural Artists Commissioning Program provides support to projects that fill gaps in the American canon—untold stories that emerge from under-represented communities in Queens. This new commission for performing artists issued by the Queens Council on the Arts and funded by the Scherman Foundation’s Rosin Fund, tasks local constituents, or art producers, who range from choreographers to art historians to local business owners, with issuing the $10,000 award. For more information about the ACP, visit: www.queenscouncilarts.org/art-
The ACP is made possible by generous support from the Scherman Foundation, the New York State Regional Economic Development Council and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.