Music Haven kicks off its 2019 concert series in Schenectady

Pair of Mumbai-based bands perform during Sunday evening's season opening show
Neeraj Arya's Kabir Cafe headlined the first Music Haven concert performance on Sunday evening.
Neeraj Arya's Kabir Cafe headlined the first Music Haven concert performance on Sunday evening.

Categories: Life & Arts, News, Schenectady County

SCHENECTADY — Scores ventured to Central Park on Sunday for the opening installment of a long-running summertime concert series.

Mike and Maeve Noonan came from Ballston Spa with their 11-year-old dog, Mabh.

“It’s outdoors, it’s free, it’s got great food and you can bring your dog, too,” Maeve said. 

The family has been attending the Music Haven concert series in Central Park for the past several years, an opportunity that allows them to explore new music while catching up with old friends.

“World Haven does a great job of putting it on,” Maeve said.

Sunday’s event featured performances by Mumbai-based outfit Crossroads and headliners Neeraj Arya’s Kabir Café, who describes themselves as pioneers of “Kabir Rock,” a folk-fusion genre with roots in Mumbai, India. 

Manilla Degroate said she looks forward to the concert series all summer.

“It’s a nice refreshing break,” she said. 

The Schenectady resident said the series has introduced her to new artists. Last year, she ventured to Prospect Park in Brooklyn after seeing an African outfit perform at Music Haven, which is now in its 30th year.

Organizers put Sunday’s attendance at the outdoor amphitheater at 1,200.

The crowd seemed to soak it all in under pitch-perfect skies. 

Crossroads performed a more mellow brand of Indian-styled folk — two members of the quartet used traditional instruments they built themselves — before Neeraj Arya’s Kabir Café launched into a percussion-fueled blend of Indian and West African rhythms as the sun began to set over Central Park.

“You can’t hear this without traveling,” said Michael Eck, associate producer of Music Haven.

This year’s 14-date series, which concludes Aug. 18, will feature performers from Columbia, Brazil and Detroit, he said.

“We’re traveling the world one concert at a time,” said Eck, citing the series’ slogan. 

A raffle held to offset costs for the free series indicated attendees came from across the region. 

Organizer Mona Golub said she was pleased with the turnout.

“People have come to understand Music Haven presents unique experiences,” Golub said.

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