CLEVELAND (April 29, 2010) – On Saturday, June 19, the Cleveland Museum of Art will celebrate the longest day of the year with an all-night party welcoming the newest gallery openings. Revelers for the 2010 Summer Solstice Party are invited to globetrot through new galleries of Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Byzantine, medieval and African art, as well as prints, drawings and more, while enjoying international musicians from Africa, the Middle East and the United States. The party will take place throughout the entire museum complex and on its south lawn, beginning at 5:30 p.m. and continuing until 2 a.m.
Last year, more than 4,000 people attended the sold-out solstice celebration marking the opening of the museum's new east wing. This year's party revisits popular elements from that inaugural event while adding an even more ambitious lineup of musicians and programs.
The complete schedule of performers includes:
- Lionel Loueke (6 p.m.): A native of Benin, West Africa, Lionel Loueke has earned acclaim for his unique fusion of jazz technique with his African roots. Loueke has been playing guitar since he was 17, training at the National Institute of Art in the Ivory Coast, American School of Modern Music in Paris, Berklee College of Music in Boston and Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in Los Angeles. He has toured with Terence Blanchard and is a member of Herbie Hancock's quartet, recording on Hancock's Grammy Award-winning River: The Joni Letters. Loueke also recorded two albums of his own, In a Trance and Virgin Forest, as well as the collective Gilfema. Hancock says of Loueke, "I'd never heard any guitar player play anything close to what I was hearing from him. There was no territory that was forbidden, and he was fearless."
- Burkina Electric (7:15 p.m.): The first electronica band from Burkina Faso, Burkina Electric combines the rhythms of West Africa with contemporary dance culture. Based in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso's capital, the international band includes members living in New York and Düsseldorf, Germany, as well as in Ouaga. This diverse group, consisting of four musicians and two dancers, combines Burkinabé grooves, traditional instruments, found sounds recorded in Burkina Faso and other African traditions with popular dance music to create a new musical style. The group's debut full-length album, Paspanga, recently was released in North America by New York-based Cantaloupe Music and was described as "sleek" and "kinetic" by The New York Times.
- Omar Souleyman (8:30 p.m.): A musical legend in his native Syria, where more than 500 studio and live recordings have been released under his name, Omar Souleyman and his trio will make their United States debut at the Cleveland Museum of Art playing Arabic party music filled with supercharged drum loops. The myriad musical traditions of the region are evident in Souleyman's sound, which has been described as a mix of classical Arabic mawal-style vocalization with Syrian Dabke and Iraqi Choubi, as well as Kurdish and Turkish styles. According to a 2009 Pitchfork review, "Western listeners with a keen sense of audio adventure should have no problem feeling the groove of Souleyman's future folk."
- Javelin (9:45 p.m.): The fast-rising electronica duo Javelin bounces between samplers and strings, drum machines and drum sets in a mixture of crooked disco and schoolyard funk. Based in Brooklyn, the duo has been described by The New York Times as "one of the most thoughtful, and promising, young bands of the last couple of years." They recently completed a new album, No Más (released on Luaka Bop Records), and are scheduled to appear at Lollapalooza in Chicago this August. Live shows are often highly spontaneous and genre-defying.
- The Phenomenal Handclap Band (11 p.m.): A self-described tightly knit group of musicians and artists, the Phenomenal Handclap Band's seven-member ensemble represents a harmonious culmination of diverse musical backgrounds, resulting in a sound that is equal parts anthemic, dancefloor-oriented and orchestral, while embracing elements of disco, electro and psychedelia. The New York City-based band has appeared at festivals across Europe and the United States, released several albums on Friendly Fire Recordings and been described as "a perfect mix of everything from the past 40 years of popular music" by National Public Radio Music.
- DJ /rupture (12:15 a.m.): Constructing dance music sourced from around the globe, DJ /rupture will bring the party to a rousing finale. Rupture has appeared in more than 25 countries, DJ'ed in a band with Norah Jones and performed in two John Peel sessions. On the New York City-area FM station WFMU, he is the host of his own weekly radio show, which is re-broadcast in Belgium, France, Germany and Croatia. His 2001 mix Gold Teeth Thief was awarded a four-star review in VIBE magazine, which called it a "stunning, globe-trotting, three-turntable mix" that "captures the spirit of the best bootleg mixes — bumping, brash and without borders."
- Between sets, Dante Carfagna will spin Cleveland's lost soul and R&B singles from the 1960s and 1970s, drawn from local labels that included Way Out and Soul Kitchen.
Additional activities, which will include scavenger hunts, behind-the-scenes art stories and other surprises — are designed to encourage exploration not only of the newly renovated galleries, but also of the connections to be found between the works of art showcased in these collections and others throughout the museum.
Partygoers are invited to choose their admission time — Eventide (5:30 p.m.), Twilight (7:30 p.m.) or Solstice (10 p.m.) — and ticket price, and then stay as late as they'd like. Reservations are strongly suggested, as the party sold out last year in all time tiers. The Summer Solstice Party will take place rain or shine.
Tickets go on sale May 1, and prices begin at $15 in advance ($20 at the door) for the 10 p.m. tier; $60 for the 7:30 p.m. group and $175 for the 5:30 p.m. entry. Museum members receive special pricing. Mediterranean-inspired appetizers will be served, and cash bars available.
To purchase tickets, call 216-421-7350 (or toll-free outside of Cleveland, 888-CMA-0033). More information and an online box office can be found at www.ClevelandArt.org.
About the Cleveland Museum of Art
The Cleveland Museum of Art is renowned for the quality and breadth of its collection, which includes more than 40,000 objects and spans 6,000 years of achievement in the arts. Currently undergoing a multi-phase renovation and expansion project, it is a significant international forum for exhibitions, scholarship, performing arts and art education. Admission to the museum has been free since its founding charter.
The Cleveland Museum of Art has a membership of nearly 25,000 households and is supported by a broad range of individuals, foundations and businesses in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio. The museum is generously funded by Cuyahoga County residents through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. Additional support comes from the Ohio Arts Council, which helped fund this project with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans.
For more information about the museum, its holdings, programs and events, call 888-CMA-0033 or visit www.ClevelandArt.org.