Violin virtuoso brings ‘Southern Comfort’ to Brooklyn

March 18, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Violinist Regina Carter received a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Fellowship in 2006. Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts
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Regina Carter, a renowned violin virtuoso, will be bringing her blend of Appalachian fiddle tunes, church hymns and folk music to the borough when she performs in concert at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College on April 16.

The 8 p.m. concert, part of the Brooklyn Center’s 2015-16 season, is called “Regina Carter’s Southern Comfort,” after an album Carter released in 2014. The concert will give Carter the chance to pay tribute to her paternal grandfather, an Alabama coal miner, with a mix of vibrant music from the south, according to a Brooklyn Center press release.

Carter was named a recipient of the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Fellowship in 2006.

To record “Southern Comfort,” Carter sought out distant relatives and read books about the era in which her grandfather lived. She went to the Library of Congress and listened to the collections of folklorists like Alan Lomax and John Work III.

“When I would hear some of these field recordings, if I heard something that touched me, I put it on the list. I had maybe 50 tunes that I felt strongly about, and I finally forced myself to work more on those to stop myself from collecting more,” Carter said in a statement.

The 11 tracks on “Southern Comfort” include Carter’s interpretations of Cajun fiddle music, early gospel and coal miners’ work songs. The album was released on the SONY Masterworks label.

“In the Appalachians, there were Scottish and Irish descendants, slaves and Native Americans. It was a cultural hodgepodge, and the music resulting from it is intoxicating. This disc was to pay homage to my family, but it turned out to be so much more,” Carter stated.

Chuck Mitchell, senior vice president of SONY Masterworks, said Carter is a rare talent.  “Her musical odyssey has been charted through a series of unforgettable recordings over the years, and ‘Southern Comfort’ is the latest and perhaps the most eloquent expression of her deep and profoundly enlightening musical humanity,” he said.

Carter, a former member of the all-female pop-jazz quintet Straight Ahead, has done session work with Aretha Franklin, Lauryn Hill, Mary J. Blige, Billy Joel and Dolly Parton.

Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts’ presentation of Regina Carter’s Southern Comfort is made possible, in part, through the support of the Jazz Touring Network program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Tickets for the concert are $35 each and can be purchased at www.BrooklynCenter.org.

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