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Sarah P. Duke Gardens presents

Music in the Duke Gardens

About the Series:

General Admission Tickets: $10, $5 Duke students & employees, Free ages 12 & under. 

Duke Performances' 2018 Music in the Gardens is made possible, in part, with support from Duke Continuing Studies, Duke Summer Session & The Sarah P. Duke Gardens. 

June 13: Dori Freeman - Dori Freeman makes country music for the modern South. Raised in the traditional music hub of Galax, Virginia, where thousands of string-band enthusiasts have gathered every summer for nearly a century, Freeman grew up playing in the family band at her father's frame shop. She still tames those old tunes, framing their complicated feelings with her pellucid, empathetic voice. But on two spellbinding albums, including 2017's stunning 'Letters Never Read,' Freeman has integrated the lessons of American torch singers, British folk songwriters, and contemporary standard-bearers such as Aimee Mann and Rufus Wainwright into Blue Ridge bedrock. Teasing at the crooked lines between love and antipathy, adoration and loneliness, Freeman's tunes are ageless reminders that our emotions are complicated, whether shared in a suave pop purr or an old-time a cappella lament. Pulling her region's past into the present, Freeman stuns. 

June 20: Lydia Loveless - With a sound that Rolling Stone describes as "an aching, lusty set of twang and sneer wrapped in electric guitar swagger," roots-rocker Lydia Loveless is as celebrated for her salacious, lyrical wisecracks as she is for the honey-sweet voice that delivers them. Her 2016 breakthrough, 'Real,' moves between rowdy honky-tonk and spunky pop, a showcase of surprising styles and influences (think Robyn, Taylor Swift, and Cyndi Lauper) for the Ohio-born songwriter who now calls Morrisville, North Carolina her home. Loveless pens high-minded songs about low-brow culture, dispatching vivid tales of tumult with torchy, infectious choruses. 

June 27: The Sadies - Without doubt or qualification, The Sadies are one of this continent's greatest extant rock 'n' roll bands — just as they have been for the last quarter-century. Versatile and imaginative, they skip from astral psychedelia to shuffling bucolics and leap from puckish pop to righteous garage-rock without losing momentum or mastery. They've worked with a veritable roots-rock hall of fame, whether backing Neko Case for years, supporting Neil Young during a tribute to The Band, or joining X's Jon Doe or Jon Spencer for full-length collaborations. But their albums, released since 2002 by North Carolina's own Yep Roc, deliver masterclasses on pointed songwriting, lockstep harmonies, and a devil-may-care attitude to expectations and past successes. Perhaps that's why 'Northern Passages,' released in 2017, ranks not only as their best work but as one of this decade's most sophisticated surveys of rock 'n' roll. Not bad when you've long been one of the world's best bands.

July 11: Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba Album Release - Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba ecstatically explore the spiritual songs, stories, and rhythms of Senegal’s millenia-old Mandé culture. Indeed, Cissokho comes from a long line of prominent griots, or storytellers, who are entrusted to maintain a West African village’s most important ceremonial affairs through song. But he is much more than a preservationist. He and his band, Kaira Ba, effortlessly integrate the traditional sounds of the African kora within a modern rush of electric guitar and an exuberant rhythm section. Together, Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba sustain one of West Africa’s most expressive legacies with their own energetic interpretations.

July 18th - Anna & Elizabeth Anna & Elizabeth have transformed a shared passion for Appalachian folk songs and archival research into an evocative take on bluegrass. Picking up where Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard left off, Elizabeth LaPrelle and Anna Roberts-Gevalt have dedicated themselves to capturing the souls of ancient songs, extracting their essence, and presenting them with lustrous close harmonies and a moving, minimalist sound. Their latest album on Smithsonian Folkways, 'The Invisible Comes to Us,' is built from a year’s worth of research into the special collections of Vermont’s Middlebury College, and fuses synthesizers, brass, and chopped recordings with traditional folk instrumentation. It’s an impeccable mix of interpretative vision and delicacy that creates vivid new settings for the sounds and stories of the past. “If you’ve never thought your tastes would lean to mountain music, take a deep breath and soak it all in” (NPR).

July 25th - Las Cafeteras. Las Cafeteras is the sort of band the United States needs right now. In 2005, a group of East Los Angeles students became fast friends and bandmates while studying son jarocho, an infectious Mexican musical melting pot of indigenous, African, and Spanish elements that gave the world “La Bamba.” Now, as Las Cafeteras, those students have modernized the centuries-old style, updating its folk music roots with timely questions about immigration, integration, and equality. On 2017’s explosive 'Tastes Like LA,' they paired an irrepressible, subversive version of “This Land is Your Land” with “If I Was President,” a generation’s powerful declaration of its priorities — access to good education, clean water, and the freedom to live in peace. Fusing sharp rap with graceful harmonies, nylon-stringed guitars with rock ’n’ roll hooks, Las Cafeteras turn the biggest questions into an even bigger party, daring us to dance toward an answer.

Sarah P. Duke Gardens

420 Anderson Street

Durham, NC 27705

  • Wednesday, 25 July

    7:00 PM