Earlier this month, well over a thousand people packed into the Berklee Performance Center, many for the first time at the venue, to see a rare, solo performance by the chart-topping singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile. The sold-out show can partially be attributed to the singer’s fame with her popular songs, such as “The Story,” but also for her notoriety as an incredible performer. And the huge applause Carlile received after listing each and every Boston venue she’s played in the last decade (House of Blues, Orpheum, Paradise, etc) only reinforced the already-overwhelming anticipation for her performance.
Most people say that traveling abroad “expands their horizons,” but for Berklee voice student Ratasha Huff, being in Athens is providing experiences that go well beyond the implications of that three-word cliché.
We sat down to talk in the café at Nakas conservatory and when I asked how it’s been studying abroad for a semester in Athens, she talked first, not about music, but about culture and politics. “I have a much better understanding of my country’s impact on the world—some in good ways and some not,” said Ratasha, who calls Charlotte, North Carolina her hometown. “I was already aware of this, but to be here and talk to people, do my own research, has really been an education.”
Last week, Bobby McFerrin visited Berklee to speak at several classes, including my Artistry, Creativity, and Inquiry class (see my previous article for my information on this new pilot course). I cannot put into words how inspiring it was hearing Bobby share with us his journey as an artist and the obstacles he faced trailblazing a career as an A Capella performer – and that’s not even mentioning hearing him perform! Here are some clips from Bobby’s visit last Friday at Cafe 939’s Red Room.
Bobby McFerrin’s Musical Influences