What a great way to start off the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! season in Prospect Park than with performer extraordinaire, electrifying funk and soul singer, the borough’s own Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings.
On June 8, the chill in the air after the heavy rainstorm didn’t keep the crowds away from the first concert of Prospect Park’s summer long arts festival.
Sharon Jones grew up in Bed-Stuy after her family moved up from the south when she was a young girl; her musical home was with gospel in the church.
This Brooklyn-based band is seen by many as the spearhead of a revivalist movement aiming to capture the essence of funk / soul music as it was at its height in the mid-1960s to mid-1970s.
The season’s launch brought out fans and friends and attendees for the fundraising gala, which was held just prior to the concert.
Thirteen brass instruments with about eight saxes performed one opening number and created rich texture to set the mood. Then Dap-Kings settled in with the backup singers further drawing the crowd in.
The audience jumped to their feet during the Sharon Jones’ performance and delighted in her signature song “100 Nights.” Her final number was an exorcism song to rid the cancer that has returned to Miss Jones.
It is well known that Jones’ battled cancer in 2014 and Barbara Kopple’s film “Miss Jones!” documents her struggle to be a musician and her treatments, which at that time left her cancer free. The film, which screened at film festivals has attracted a larger audience to Sharon Jones and will have a theatrical release at the end of July.
The band’s album “Give the People What They Want” was nominated for a Grammy in 2014 in the Best R&B Album of Year category.
Thirty-two performances, a mix of music, film, dance, and multimedia will keep Brooklynites entertained during the summer at BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn!
Twenty-five are free ($5 suggested contribution) and there are 19 concerts. Dance, and music and movies are all part of the schedule: www.brica
The full season lineup consists of artists from Brooklyn and around the world — across the U.S., the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa and Europe. They include (June 16), Alvvays / Ducktails / Big Thief (June 23), ¡Cubanismo! / Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca (June 24), Red Baraat’s Brooklyn Mela / Sunny Jain / DJ Rekha / Heems / Bhi Bhiman & More (July 7), Rachid Taha / Krar Collective (July 15), The Wood Brothers / Aoife O’Donovan / Hiss Golden Messenger (July 16), a double bill featuring Femi Kuti and Bombino (July 23), Angelique Kidjo’s Celia Cruz Tribute (July 29), Digable Planets / Camp Lo (July 30), and Morgan Heritage / British Dependency (Aug. 5).
The Bud Light Music Series includes Violent Femmes / Kristin Hersh (June 18), Carla Morrison / Hurray For The Riff Raff / Buscabulla (July 9), Dr. Dog / The Knights (Aug. 12), and Andra Day / Son Little (Aug. 13).
The American Express Series includes Josh Ritter / Martha Redbone / Birds of Chicago (July 8), Jon Batiste and Stay Human & Friends (July 22), and Gregory Porter / Marcus Strickland & Twi-Life (July 28).
The Festival is presented in partnership with the City of New York Parks & Recreation and the Prospect Park
Performances start between 7 pm and 8 pm (check the schedule) with seating for those who arrive early and space for blankets and picnicking behind the seated area.