This is a changing time. For the next two weeks at least, our state and national health organizations are urging us all to stay home, to keep ourselves and our friends and family well. But we can think of the people around us now and talk with them.

This time is challenging for many reasons. Concerns for health and safety are most important. Doctors and nurses are working overtime, and neighbors are reaching out to students who need places to go, people who serve community meals, parents who need help with childcare. And for many of us, what we can do is to stay home.

And we can share ideas. So here is a playlist for the next few weeks. Some of these are Berkshire musicians, and some are musicians who have performed here recently, or would have come to perform here in the next few weeks, or who may still come if times change.

This time will be hard on many creative people, artists and entrepreneurs and small businesses. These are in mostly alphabetical order, and I will keep adding music here as we go on. Who are you listening to?

Adam Ezra Group

Adam Ezra and his band are supposed to come to the Stationery Factory in July. They played Falcon Ridge on a summer day that kept tipping between sun and rain. It was the first time I’d heard them, and they had the audience belting along with them on the hillside that forms the outside stage. This reminds me why.

I can’t help but live for the light
that stumbles out of me.

Dar Williams

Folk singer-songwriter Dar Williams, known and loved around the world for generations, has planned to be in the Berkshires in April. I remember my sister playing this song for me when we were in middle and high school and we would sing along to her music in the car. We still do when we drive together. My sister’s on the West Coast now, and we once drove cross country to Southern California wants to be Western New York.

Louise Bichan

Louise Bichan is a Scottish fiddler who has studied in Orkney and toured the world, and she would have been coming to the Foundry in West Stockbridge one evening soon.

Brooklyn Raga Massive

Classical Indian ragas meet jazz, a contemporary and beautiful convergence. I had a chance to talk with Brooklyn Raga Massive’s co-founder Sameer Gupta when he came to Mass MoCA three years ago, and the ensemble is part of the Raga Maqam collaboration set to come to town in May.

He told me how it felt to listen to a raga written for sunset after a long day of work.
“You feel it connecting. The sun is setting, the day is winding down and you have made it through, and that is heroic.”

Samirah Evans

Samirah Evans is known nationally and internationally for jazz and blues influenced by the New Orleans sound, where she performed to warm acclaim for more than 15 years. She has performed with legends from James Brown and B.B. King to Charles Neville, and now she is an Artist Associate in Jazz Voice at Williams College. In a word — wow.

Rhiannon Giddens

Rhiannon Giddens brought the entire Hunter Center up standing in awe at Mass MoCA when she performed at FreshGrass. I remember the room caught and held in the beat of her voice.

You can take my body
you can take my bones
you can take my blood
but not my soul.

Tracy Grammer

Contemporary folk singer/songwriter Tracy Grammer came to Spencertown Academy late in February with her low, resonant voice. She rose to international acclaim in collaboration with Dave Carter and has performed internationally, with Mary Chapin Carpenter, Joan Baez and many more.

I see the the mountain — the mountain comes to me.

Wanda Houston

Wanda Houston shares a joy in blues, Gospel, jazz, Broadway and more from stages around the Berkshires and around the country, from the Egremont Barn’s fireside pub in February to the terrace at the Mount on a summer night.
Nationally acclaimed Berkshire singer / songwriter Bernice Lewis will perform in North Adams.
Bernice Lewis

Bernice Lewis

She performs across the country to National acclaim, but folk singer-songwriter Bernice Lewis lives here. At other times you may hear her at FreshGrass or at the Dream Away Lodge, often performing with her daughter, Mariah. (I don’t het have a video, but you can hear her at that link.)

She is known for open-minded humor and the wide serenity of canyon country. And I’ve known her music for years. She sang on my first night in the Berkshires, cheering a dazed group of brand new first-year students about to head into the woods before their first days of college.

Raga Maqam

The classical modes of Indian and Arabic music blend in new forms. This collaboration from Brooklyn Raga Massive, is set to come to Mass MoCA in early May.

As part of the Raga Maqam series, Brooklyn Raga Massive says, Amir ElSaffar and Arun Ramamurthy and their fellow musicians will explore and uncover intersections between these ancient, profound musical languages.

Amir ElSaffar – trumpet/santur/vocals
Arun Ramamurthy – violin
Firas Zreik – kanun
Abhik Mukherjee – sitar
Naseem Alatrash – cello
Jay Gandhi – bansuri
Shiva Ghoshal – tabla

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