Global arts shape winter lineup in Flushing

With Queens being one of the most diverse places in the world, Flushing Town Hall’s new Winter and Spring seasons surely reflects the global community through the arts.

From January to June, the venue will host dozens of performances and exhibitions ranging from jazz musical performances led by NEA Jazz Master Jimmy Heath to improv storytelling sessions. Last Thursday, Flushing Town Hall hosted a preview of those upcoming performances. Musicians such as Falu Shah took to the stage to sing or play classic traditional music, while artist Skip La Plante demonstrated a small sample of his unique Symphony of Chimes.

The Symphony of Chimes WHEN includes hundreds of items created into various chimes, including the use of forks, spoons, tweezers, compasses and license plates.

“This is an amazing opportunity because I lived in a loft in Manhattan for so many years and never thought to make a definitive piece until my building got sold,” La Plante said. “The place we have in RIdgewood now can hold about 30 chimes on the ceiling.

“Flushing Town Hall said we could make the piece here so there’s not much of a more definitive statement.”

Not only are the chimes visually quirky and appealing, but the harmonious sounds that the chimes can give off are quite surprising. One of the more unexpected, bizarre items that La Plante has used as wind chimes includes aspects of a broken lobster pot such as the metal cage, aluminum rings and string webbing. A lot of the process is trial and error, but the result is a wonderful interactive musical display.

Shah, meanwhile, will be backed up by her Bollywood Orchestra when she performs on March 26th. Trained in Northern Indian classical music, Shah comes from generations of female singers. She’s known for her involvement in the creation of a genre of music called Indie Hindi, where all the songs are in English but are based on Indian ragas, or melodic scales.

For her performance at Flushing Town Hall, Shah and the Bollywood Orchestra will perform classic Bollywood songs from the 1960s and 1970s.

“Those are my favorite songs, done before I was even born, but they’ve lived for 30 years and I want them to live for 30 more years in a way that my kids’ kids can love them too,” Shah said. “We try to figure out how to modernize the same songs to make them relevant while keeping the same melody.”

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