Internationally-acclaimed, pianist/keyboardist and multi-instrumentalist Yukihiro Kanesaka will headline this Valentine’s Day event, celebrating love in tributes to two of the most soulful, artistic voices of our time, by two of the Boston area’s greatest vocal talents:
Donny Hathaway, featuring Leon Beal Jr. on Saturday, Feb. 11 at 7pm
Roberta Flack, featuring Athene Wilson on Sunday, Feb. 12 at 2pm
Born in Japan, Yukihiro Kanesaka moved to Boston in 2000 to attend Berklee College of Music, where he is now an assistant professor. A master of jazz and soul genres, as a composer, performer and engineer, he has topped multiple international musical rankings, including as #1 of the 2017 UK Soul Chart. He has performed and toured with De La Soul, Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers), CeeLo Green, George Duke, and Mark O’Connor. He founded his own recording studio, “KOMUGIKO.” Joining Kanesaka for both shows will be Michael Christman (guitar), Domenic Davis (bass), and Osi Brathwaite (drums).
Both Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack began singing in their church choirs, as did Leon Beal Jr. and Athene Wilson. Golden-voiced Leon Beal Jr. has opened for many legendary vocal groups including the Temptations, Blue Magic, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, The Whispers, The Stylistics and others. Athene Wilson, a performer of Jazz, Gospel and R&B, is a three-time Boston Urban Music Award winner. Both artists are known not only for their soulful, powerhouse, vocal styles, but their ability to convey the story behind the music.
Love Weekend will also feature The Love Sampler on Saturday afternoon, at 2pm and 4pm, in the Black Box Theater at the Mosesian Center for the Arts. The hour-long Love Sampler will celebrate love from different cultures and perspectives, showcasing theater and music from a variety of remarkable local talent including Valerie Stephens, Terri Deletetsky, Maria Hendricks and Michael John Ciszewski.
Valerie Stephens returns to the stage, this time in her role as actress, writer, and storyteller. Here I Am is a solo moment of truth about aging with a little myth-busting in the process. Terri Deletetsky and Maria Hendricks come together with an amazing musical collaboration which aims to reclaim our spiritual spaces. Michael John Ciszewski will be sharing a portion of his third solo show Lovefool with audiences.
Tickets are $20 for the Saturday afternoon shows, and $25 for the Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon shows.
Yukihiro Kanesaka Carmichael holds three aliases: producer (Yuki Kanesaka), multi-instrumentalist (monolog), and remixer/DJ (U-KEY). He works on a wide range of musical activities including film and TV scoring, advertising, dance remixes, and choreography. He has been running his own music production studio in Boston for 14 years. He is an Assistant Professor in the Music Production and Engineering (MP&E) department at Berklee College of Music.
-Performing and touring experience with De La Soul, Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers), CeeLo Green, George Duke, and Mark O’Connor
-Vocal direction, recording, and mixing for Final Fantasy VII Remake (Square Enix, 2020)
-Soundtrack production/composing for Dr. Stone (Adult Swim, Netflix, 2019) and On the Block (Netflix original series, 2018)
-Advertisement music production for Tiffany & Co. Paloma Picasso campaign (2018)
-Recording and mixing for Final Fantasy XV (Square Enix, 2016)
-Produced the compilation album Sparkling POP Disney (2013) and remixed “Deep into Sunshine” featuring N’Dea Davenport of the Brand New Heavies (2012)
-Produced and performed “Remind Me” by monolog featuring Patrice Rushen (2013)
Remix production for Bootsy Collins, Lisa Ono, Chaka Khan, T-Connection, and KRS-One
-Additional credits include Nickelodeon, NEC (computer/electronics company), Mercedes Benz, Kosé, Nestle, Reveur & DAIKIN
-Recording engineer for Tavares and Keisuke Wakao and Emanuel Ax of the Boston Symphony Orchestra
-International DJ experience in L.A., New York, Berlin, London, Paris, Johannesburg, and Tokyo
-U.K. Soul Chart no. 1: “Tribal” by Golden Bridge (2017)
-Bandcamp bestseller: “Boy Toy” by Honey Sauce Band (2017)
-iTunes jazz album chart no. 1 (Japan): “One Day” by monolog (2015)
-iTunes jazz album chart no. 1 (Japan): Sweet Swing for Hershey’s compilation (2011)
-Dance Track Digital Chart no. 1 (Germany): Darrius Rashaud “It’s Going Down,” U-Key Remix (2006)
-The Source Youth Music Foundation national rap music competition winner (2003)
Athene Wilson, a familiar voice around Boston’s music scene, has performed Jazz, Gospel, and R&B in different venues in and around Boston. She has accompanied several local artists, as well as done background work for national and internationally renowned artists. Ms.Wilson’s multi-faceted vocals have resonated across stages in Germany, France, Japan, and the Caribbean.
Her singing career began at the tender age of seven in a small Pentecostal church in Jamaica. She sang in several church choirs until her transition to Boston where she started her professional singing career. Ms. Wilson received her first break with local artist Larry Watson when she sang, ‘Since I fell for you.’ For years, Boston has enjoyed the melodic sounds of Ms. Wilson in jazz clubs, churches, and city-wide events.
Learn more about Athene at: Athene Wilson
A native of Jasper, Florida, Leon Beal, Jr. started singing in his church’s choir. At a young age he toured with the Ronald Ingram Concert Choir and performed on the same bills with James Cleveland, The Caravans, Edwin Hawkins and many more! After relocating to Boston, Leon co-founded the R&B inspirational music band called Joy-Ful. Leon / Joy-Ful opened for many legendary vocal groups including the Temptations, Blue Magic, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, The Whispers, The Stylistics and others. Blessed with a golden voice, Leon sings classic soul music around New England and the United States. He has even performed for President Obama and guests on Martha’s Vineyard on more than one occasion!
Leon Beal, Jr. released his first CD titled “Romantic Groove” in 2006. The set included the tracks “Doo Wah Diddy,” “Dance With Me,” “In the Mood” and “Little Brother.” He followed that up in 2010 with the CD titled “Keep On Pushing.” The sophomore set included the tracks “Body and Soul,” “Helping Hand” and “Why Do You Have To Leave.” Leon’s genuine, classic soul voice is in demand by international remix producers. He has recorded “Music Makes Me Feel Good” with Nassau and “Ready for the Night Life” with Dolls and Combers. He was also the principal writer on Athene Wilson’s critically acclaimed “It’s About Time” CD. Leon also appeared on both Indie Soul United CDs. The Indie Soul United CD titled “I Remember When” included the track “Never Let You Go” and the duet with U.K. soul artist Chidi called “My Angel.” the Indie Soul United “II” CD he was featured on the multi-artist remake of the Stevie Wonder classic “Black Man.”
In 2016, Leon Beal’s 3rd CD titled “Reflections of a Man” was released. The first single titled “Forgot to be Your Lover” is on the airwaves and on sale now along with another single titled “We Need Love”!
Learn more about Leon at: Leon Beal – Quality Entertainment (leonbealjr.com)
Valerie Stephens is a multi-talented performing artist known for work in music, theater, storytelling and production. Valerie is also known for her commitment to Nina Simone’s Legacy having created a series celebratory concerts. The most recent is Nina Simone & Hip Hop. For her artistic work and community commitment Valerie has received a Brother Thomas Fellowship with an unrestricted award of $15,000. She has also received a Bridge Award in Arts, a Boston City Council Resolution for her community arts programming and performances, a Get Konnected! Boston Legends & Pioneers Award, a NAACP Image Award, an Urban Music Award in Blues and Citations of Appreciation from Boston, New Bedford and Springfield.
Valerie has created a number of concerts: WOMEN OF THE VILLAGE celebrating the female commonality in English, Spanish and Xhosa. SWEET & SALTY: DRESSED TO THE NINES is a tribute to classic Blues Women. She has produced a concert series dedicated to the musical icon Dr. Nina Simone and her commitment to social justice.
As an actor, Valerie, was cast in numerous productions and toured nationally for nine years, as lead actor with Underground Railway Theater. After 15 years, she returned to the stage in Company One’s controversial production of NEIGHBORS in the character role of Mammy Crow. She created a solo performance piece, The Mammy Diaries. In 2018, Valerie returned once again to stage in the Marblehead Little Theater’s production of Letters from War in the lead role as Mae, a 75 year old woman suffering from the Alzheimer’s disease.
As an Arts Educator, Valerie Stephens has worked for numerous schools and community-based arts organizations. Using history, art and self expression, she has developed integrated, interactive curriculum and productions. She has taught creative dramatics and improvisational theater techniques for Wheelock Family Theater, Springfield Museum of Natural History, the Children’s AIDS Project, Raw Arts of Lynn, MA, Germaine Lawrence School for Girls and Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center. She has served as Artistic Consultant & Teaching Artist for Wang Theater Performing Arts program. Valerie served as Director of Cultural Programming and Community Partnerships for the International House of Blues Foundation where she wrote and directed the interactive production The History of the Blues. She has conducted workshops entitled STORYTELLING AS AN EDUCATIONAL TOOL for teachers, and education specialists.
Terri Deletetsky is a teacher, actress, writer and musician in and around the Boston area. Previously, she co-created and performed with Company One’s ARTiculation, directed by Lois Roach. Currently, she teaches Integrated Arts at a Charter school in Somerville and can be seen performing at benefits, Pride events, backyards and small venues with her band The Spots. She’d like to thank her partner (an amazing musician) for sitting this one out to provide childcare for their sassy three-nager, so that Mom could participate in this project.
Maria Hendricks is a multiethnic, multiracial polyglot artist & activist local to the Boston area. She most recently starred in the highly-acclaimed Umbrella Stage Company production of Dracula and in New Rep’s original production of Listen to Sipu about the Indigenous history of Watertown, MA, where she also serves on the board of the Pigsgusset Initiative.
Maria has performed on stages throughout New England, the East Coast and South Dakota. These include the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, American Repertory Theater, The Palace Theatre, Saco River Theatre, Virginia Repertory Theatre, Vermont Stage, Threshold Stage Co. of Maine, and Boston’s Fresh Ink Theatre. She was nominated for an Elliot Norton Award for her portrayal of Mother in the musical Passing Strange. Maria served as Executive Producer of the first ever Until the Violence Stops: Providence, a 10-day festival in which she also directed Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues.
Maria’s work in television, film & voiceover/audio-description has included the Emmy Award-winning Americas Hidden Stories, the Brazilian film Êxtase, and A.R.T. projects: interactive multimedia project The Arboretum Experience, Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 and the Life of Pi.
The daughter of a political prisoner under the dictatorship of Salazar, Maria was raised with a keen sense of fighting for justice and for those who have been marginalized. She was particularly inspired to join the artistic leadership team of New Rep as it has embraced changes in response to the pandemic, and societal upheaval raising awareness of systemic racial injustice and widespread inequity.
Says Maria: “I check off all the boxes: Black Indigenous person of color. I know what it’s like being a young girl and not seeing myself represented. What has traditionally been the norm in theater has not worked, or doesn’t work any longer. It’s a change that needs to happen, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
Michael John (he/him) is a queer actor, writer, and performance artist born, raised, and returned to New York City after launching his career in Boston and London.
Celebrated as “one of the most promising young actors on the Boston theatre scene” by digBoston, he has performed across area stages including Huntington Theatre Company, Lyric Stage Company, SpeakEasy Stage, New Repertory Theatre, Umbrella Stage Company, Apollinaire Theatre, Hub Theatre Company, and Flat Earth Theatre.
Ciszewski’s work as a solo performer is rooted in queer experience and healing, gleefully journeying across genres as sundry as solo theatre, stand-up, storytelling, and ritual. His debut solo show Everyone is Dying and So Am I premiered in July 2019 and has enjoyed sold-out performances in Boston and at New York City’s United Solo Theatre Festival—spotlighting the best in international solo performance—where it was subsequently nominated for the festival’s audience award. His second solo project The Sun is Sleeping, a full-length original film composed in isolation, was screened in virtual theatrical events from late 2020 into 2021, with all proceeds compensating a company of collaborators from across the United States. The full project is now available to stream online. His third solo show Lovefool premiered with a sold-out work-in-progress performance in June 2022 at Jersey City Theatre Center. In December 2022, it packed raucous, rapt houses in Boston (The Rockwell) and New York City (Asylum NYC) and earned raves from critics and audiences alike. Lovefool continues winning hearts through 2023 and is available for booking now.
Michael is a member of the staff of ArtsEmerson at Emerson College’s Office of the Arts. He trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and is a proud graduate of Boston University’s B.F.A. Theatre Arts program. Find him at xomichaeljohn.com—or @xomichaeljohn, wherever social media happens.
Osi Brathwaite, an explosive master of the drums, has been playing since he was a little boy, much of it playing the kit behind Steel Band competitions of the highest level, contributing to his distinctive style and flare. Brathwaite has taken his drum skills into the blues scene, the Caribbean scene, the funk scene, and the rhythm and blues scene. An incredibly versatile musician with a heart of gold.
Check out his music here: https://youtu.be/U_-GwQQTp6E
◊ member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society
º member of United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829