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From samba to rock and everything in between, the music scene blossoms around the Village this spring

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The all-women Afro-Brazilian samba reggae percussion ensemble known as Batala brought a joyful noise to Avenue C
Photo by Bob Krasner

Summer’s not here yet, but there was dancing in the streets (and the parks) as a variety of tunes were heard outdoors in the East and West Village this past weekend.

Saturday, the music began at noon when the formidable female Afro-Brazilian samba reggae percussion group Batala marched out of the El Sol Brillante garden on 12th Street and on through the streets and community gardens of the East Village with an ecologically themed parade.

Later, another (slightly smaller) all-woman ensemble presented their minimal compositions on the patio of the Howl! Arts/Howl! Archive gallery. Female Genius —Julie Hair, Marnie Jaffe and Nikki D’Agostino — were at times augmented by Anni Rossi who played a custom made electric viola.

“After the lockdowns and the winter, it was a great gift to be playing for friends and fans outside,” said Hair.” It was a beautiful day.”

Charlotte Lily Gaspard led the ecologically themed parade that included Batala into Tompkins Square ParkPhoto by Bob Krasner
Female Genius ( Nikki D’Agostino, Marnie Jaffe, Julie Hair ) brought their minimal, voice driven original music to the patio at Howl ! Arts / Howl ! ArchivePhoto by Bob Krasner
Julie Hair of Female Genius displays her mastery of the Zube Tube, which is labelled as “The Ultimate Cosmic Sound Machine”

Tompkins Square Park was a completely different scene Saturday afternoon, as the place was packed with hardcore stage-diving punk fans who came to hear Murphy’s Law, the Cro-Mags, Madball and more.

Chris Flash, who organized the concert with Black N’ Blue Productions, proclaimed the show ” a wonderful success,” and added that “people had a hell of a good time. It’s all about maintaining community. Bands who usually charge a lot played for free and we raised some money for charity as well.”

Kotaro “Vabo” Irishio, aka as the Osaka Vagabond, attracted some notice in Washington Square Park on Sunday with his unusual style of using his acoustic guitar for both melody and percussion.

While the park was packed with people, notably a number of NYU graduates, there were less musicians and more vendors, possibly due to the continued crackdown by police on amplified sound, Irishio explained.

“The Meetles” celebrated their 15th year of Beatles tributes in Tompkins Square Park on SundayPhoto by Bob Krasner
Local newsman about town Roger Clark took some time off from NY1 to hang out backstage at the punk fest in Tompkins Square ParkPhoto by Bob Krasner
Freddy Cricien of Madball kept the energy high at the end of the day in Tompkins Square ParkPhoto by Bob Krasner
Kotaro “Vabo” Irishio, aka Osaka Vagabond, found his spot in Washington Square Park in front of the blooming flowersPhoto by Bob Krasner
Osaka Vagabond’s unorthodox method is to alternate between playing the strings and using the surface as percussionPhoto by Bob Krasner
Eric Paulin of “The Meetles” reanimates the classic tunes of the Fab FourPhoto by Bob Krasner

Wrapping up that day in Tompkins Square Park was a four-hour celebration of the Beatles by the 15-year-long-running tribute band The Meetles, whose lack of stage, crowds and mosh pit was a marked contrast to the previous afternoon.

All the musicians noted can be followed on Instagram: @batalanewyork, @female_genius_nyc, @madballnyc, @realcromags, @murphyslawnyc, @osaka_vagabond, @meetlesny

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