Explore world music with the Passport Series

‘Global sensibility’ reflected through UPH, Proctors performances

The Passport Series can transport you to places all over the world from Universal Preservation Hall in Saratoga Springs and Proctors in Schenectady

Share in this experience as the series explores sounds from Mali, Portugal, the Middle East and the United States’ melting pot.

This season’s Passport Series features Lengaïa Salsa Brava, The Brooklyn Nomads, The Klezmatics’ Happy Joyous Hanukkah Concert (presented by 8th Step), Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba, BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet and Authentic Portuguese Fado with Ricardo Ribeiro, Diana Vilarinho & Trio. Ablaye Cissoko & Cyrille Brotto concert was held Oct. 7 at Proctors. 

These shows across two venues are designed to transport music lovers across distinctively different genres expanding their ears and mind. 

“Our life experience is more and more global all the time, and I think offering world music is an important way for our performing arts centers to reflect that global sensibility,” said Jean Leonard, director of programming at Proctors Collaborative.

The Passport Series, now in its seventh season, is an extension of Music Haven, a free concert series over the summer in Schenectady Central Park that “travels the world, one concert at a time.”

Mona Golub, founder of Music Haven and Proctors board member, wanted to continue the musical adventure year-round.

“It’s not the kind of thing we do every day,” Golub said. “Audience members have come to trust what they’re going to see is worth the time, the investment.”

The Passport Series started at Proctors in 2017, giving Music Haven audience members a home during the winter months. UPH opened its doors to the series last year. The venue in Saratoga Springs offers people more ways to enjoy the music.

“Sitting, standing, dancing- all of it- UPH is that space,” Golub said.

And it will be on full display when Lengaïa Salsa Brava rolls into Saratoga on Friday Oct. 20 for an 8 p.m. performance at UPH.

It’s a style of salsa with a very strong, very gutsy sound to it, and perfect for dancing, according to Golub.

“Our job as downtown performing arts centers is to bring a wide variety of entertainment options to the Capital Region. This program does just that,” Leonard said.

Tickets are available through the Box Office at Proctors in-person, via phone at (518) 346-6204 Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. or online (universalpreservationhall.org for Saratoga shows and proctors.org for Schenectady performances).

Proctors and UPH are a part of Proctors Collaborative.

Upcoming shows in the series:

  • Lengaïa Salsa Brava
    7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, UPH
    Lengaïa Salsa Brava, founded by Latin-Guyanese trombonist Giany-Frantz Huyghues-Despointes, is a 12-piece multi-awarded big band based in Montreal. The orchestration of three trombones and a baritone saxophone gives an aggressive and powerful identity to their music, while maintaining the heritage of the ‘70s New York salsa style.
  • The Brooklyn Nomads
    7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3, GE Theatre at Proctors
    The Brooklyn Nomads is a celebrated cross-cultural ensemble rooted in musical traditions from the Arab World, with a mission to create memorable experiences for its audiences.
  • The Klezmatics’ Happy Joyous Hanukkah Concert
    7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, GE Theatre at Proctors
    This show will celebrate the annual festival of Lights with songs from the beloved klezmer band’s Grammy™-winning collaboration with recently discovered Woody Guthrie lyrics.
  • Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba
    7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, UPH
    The foremost of a new generation of bandleaders from the musical hotbed of Mali, Bassekou Kouyate has been revolutionary in developing new techniques of playing the ngoni, an ancient traditional lute found throughout West Africa.
  • BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet 
    7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 18, UPH
    Multi-Grammy™ winner BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet have been hailed as “the best Cajun band in the world.” Credited with taking the art form from its regional roots in Louisiana to popularity worldwide, Doucet and the band are celebrating their 50th anniversary with this tour!
  • Authentic Portuguese Fado Ricardo Ribeiro, Diana Vilarinho, and Trio
    7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 15, GE Theatre at Proctors
    Fado, with its spirited singing and lithe acoustic accompaniment captures the spirit and inventiveness of Portugal, as well as some of its boldest contradictions in a seamless tradition stretching out over more than 150 years. One of few international art forms that have not yet been presented in the Capital Region, this double bill features one of fado’s biggest stars, Ricardo Ribeiro, joined by breakout singer Diana Vilarinho!

Find out more about the Passport Series Pass at proctorscollaborative.org/passport-series.