It’s hard to find anything for free these days, so hats off to Lincoln Center and Target department stores for sponsoring a series of free shows at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center.
Titled Target Free Thursdays, the shows are held at the Atrium, a space dedicated largely to ticket sales, promotionall gatherings and tasty — if pricey — food, wine and other beverages. Now you can catch free shows as well.
I was lucky enough to catch the debut show with a friend last night, and it’s a highly recommended experience. Despite the costly price of food and drink — nothing is ever entirely free — the space is eye-catching, relaxing and quaint, with good acoustics. If you haven’t been by, it’s on Broadway between 62nd and 63rd streets.
You can check out the list of the shows through this link.
Last night’s show featured Bonga and the Vodou Drums of Haiti, a roots music ensemble led by noted Haitian musician Gaston “Bonga” Jean-Baptiste. The seven-piece group provides a full cultural assault, with music, dance and storytelling woven into the performances.
As Jean-Baptiste notes on his website, he and his son and fellow drummer, Tiga, “use handcrafted drums from Bonga’s collection with a deft and precision rarely seen outside of Haiti.”
For anyone who has a penchant for Caribbean roots music, or for anyone who seeks exposure to it, this is a good choice.
And it was a good choice to kick off the Atrium series.
A few words of advice about the Atrium shows: Since they are free shows and it’s a limited space, you really have to arrive early and grab a seat or, if you’re really lucky, a table. Once the place gets full they do shut the doors and you’re forced to wait outside until someone leaves. Not many leave.
And, as I said earlier, the food and beverage is very much at New York City prices. So, either bring your wallet or don’t come hungry and thirsty.
But if you’re looking for music with a variety of different bents, check out the Atrium.
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