Triple treat weekend at Charlotte’s Web

Charlotte’s Web offers three unique acts this weekend to entertain you. Two downtown venues will host the performers, all returning favorites with Rockford audiences.

Fareed Haque Quintet

One of the most talented guitarists on the international music scene today, Blue Note recording artist Fareed Haque comes to perform at 8 p.m., Friday, Jan. 17 at the Mendelssohn Club, 415 N. Church Street. He is a truly unique virtuoso with an ability to move effortlessly between jazz and classical guitar. Having been immersed in many cultures, with extended stays in Pakistan, Chile, Spain, France and Iran, Haque was exposed to a wide variety of music from an early age. Hence, the natural eclecticism of his music and the innovative compositions he creates.

“Fareed Haque is one of the most talented guitarists/composers on the music scene today,” commented the New York City Tribune. Called “a stunning virtuoso” by Jazziz magazine, Haque also performs and records with symphonies and classical artists. He is also an associate professor and the director of Jazz and Classical Guitar Studies at NIU.

The Fareed Haque Quintet consists of Fareed on guitars, including sitar; Satyjit Limaya on tablas; Jon Paul on acoustic bass; Pete Benson, keyboards; and Joe Bianco, drums. The ensemble mixes bhangra, acid-jazz, hip-hop, post-bop, jazz and classical music into a grooving and intellectually stimulating show. The performance is co-sponsored by WNIJ-FM radio.

Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door.

Ken Schultz—the Flying Fool

Come and see a special Kids’ Show featuring Ken Schultz—the Flying Fool, at 11 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 18 at the Rockford Public Library Auditorium, 215 N. Wyman Street. A “mini-circus” for kids of all ages, Schultz’s show includes: juggling, comedy, acrobatics, fire-eating, mime, unicycling and lots of audience participation. This happy clown paints a permanent smile on the faces of everyone.

Come and join the fun! Best of all, it’s free!

Bryan Bowers

An unusual performer with a rare talent on the autoharp, Bryan Bowers will present his show at 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 18, at the Mendelssohn Club.

Born in Yorktown, Va., Bowers was raised in New Bohemia near Petersburg. As a child, he used to tag along with the field workers and gandy dancers and learned to sing the old call-and-answer songs. Eventually, he enrolled at Randolph Macon College in Ashland, Va., but later dropped out because it didn’t fulfill his needs. About the same time (late ’60s), he discovered music when he took up the guitar. Soon, Bowers encountered the autoharp, and it was like a lifelong love affair.

Bowers relocated to Seattle, Wash., in 1971 and played as a street singer and in bars. After polishing his technique, he headed east and was finally heard by the Dillards at the Cellar Door in Washington, D.C. They took him to a bluegrass festival at Berryville, Va., and introduced him to a wider audience. He has won wider acclaim and support from the bluegrass community in the years since. For more than two decades, Bowers has been as symbolically linked with the autoharp as Earl Scruggs is with the banjo. His material ranges from traditional to Zen gospel, and from bluegrass to new grass. This Autoharp Hall of Fame inductee displays dazzling instrumental prowess with warmth and harmony.

People magazine said, “Bowers is widely regarded as the leading virtuoso on the autoharp… Bowers also has distinct gifts as a singer and songwriter.” The Globe and Mail asserted, “Bryan Bowers is to the Autoharp what Bjorn Berg is to tennis balls or Henry Youngman is to one-liners—he is just about the best there is at it.”

Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the door. Tickets are available at Rockford Area Arts Council, 713 E. State St., 963-6765; Canterbury Books, Highcrest Center, 398-1454; Mendelssohn Club, 415 N. Church, 964-9713; and Tin Whistle, N. Main & Auburn, 963-0270; or by mail with check and SASE, 10928 N. Main, Rockton, IL 61072. For Web information, call 964-2238.

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