Hoboken Tunes: Our Musical Heritage
Two more events left! 10/20 & 11/3.
Hoboken Historical Museum Celebrates
“Hoboken Tunes: Our Musical Heritage”
Frank Sinatra may have put Hoboken on the world map, but his is not the only musical career this town has fostered. Stephen Foster, for one, lived here when he wrote “I Dream of Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair.” A few years after Sinatra, and just a few doors down from his childhood home, another crooner, Jimmy Roselli, made the “wiseguys weep” singing standards and traditional Neapolitan songs. The musical “Hair” was written here, and the number of up-and-coming bands who have played at Maxwell’s since the late 1970s is too large to count.
From the 1800s through today, Hoboken has been a haven for musicians, and music has played an important role in the cultural life of the city, according to Joel Lewis, a music critic and historian who calls Hoboken home, and who researched and wrote the narrative for Hoboken Tunes: Our Musical Heritage. The exhibit is on view six days a week through December 23, from 2 – 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 1 – 5 p.m. on Fridays and noon to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The exhibit features listening stations, rare artifacts and a series of concerts by some of Hoboken’s best-loved bands from days past. (continues in attached release, “Tunes Show”)
Events Celebrate “Hoboken Tunes: Our Musical Heritage”
With an exhibit highlighting music’s role in the fabric of Hoboken’s history, what better way to bring it to life than with concerts? Through the hard work of Museum Director Robert Foster and Hoboken Cultural Affairs coordinator Geri Fallo, the Museum is pleased to invite the community to a series of concerts at the Museum and other venues around town.
Following is a list of concerts and other events that have been scheduled thus far. All events are open to the public; many are free of charge. For more information, visit www.hobokenmuseum.org , or call 201-656-2240. The Museum is open six days a week at 1301 Hudson St., in the Shipyard building, the oldest structure still standing on Hoboken’s storied waterfront.
- On Saturday, September 15, at 3 p.m., the Museum will host an event for those who have been intrigued by the strange hybrid instruments featured in the exhibit, the Ukelin and the Marxophone, which were manufactured in Hoboken in the ’30s and ’40s by the International Musical Corporation. Learn everything you ever wanted to know about the Ukelin, but were afraid to ask, from Ukelin expert, Bob Buzas, who will give a talk and demonstration. Admission is free for members, $5 for nonmembers.
- The Museum’s Fall Family Fun Day, Saturday, September 22, 2 – 5 p.m. will celebrate the city’s musical history with Julio Fernandez of Spyro Gyra, who will perform a concert, in addition to leading several music-related workshops for kids, including an air guitar lesson and musical instrument-making.
- The music stage at this year’s Hoboken Fall Arts & Music Festival is a celebration of the “Hoboken Sound” of the late 1970s and ’80s, thanks to the efforts of Geri Fallo. On Sunday, September 30, 11 am – 6 pm, the main stage will host reunions of several local bands from the 1980s: The Bongos, The Health and Happiness Show, Glenn Mercer of the Feelies, the dBs’ Chris Stamey, and local singer-songwriter, Bill McGarvey, whose roots go back to several 1980s bands including the Delevantes and Valentine Smith. All shows are free.
- Fans of indie music in general and the “Hoboken Sound” in particular, mark your calendars for Saturday, October 20, at 4 p.m., when Glenn Morrow, owner of Bar None Records and former member of the band The Individuals, will talk about “The Hoboken Sound.” An indie label, Bar None has built a solid national reputation in its 20-year history for producing music by critically acclaimed but hard-to-classify bands, many of whom played frequently at Maxwell’s and city music festivals. Some lived here, including Hoboken’s own Yo La Tengo and Freedy Johnston (who has since moved away), as well as They Might Be Giants, Vinicius Cantuaria, Petra Haden and Luka Bloom. One of Morrow’s latest projects is a reissue series that will bring back into print key recordings of some of these and other stalwarts of the “Hoboken Sound.” Admission is free for members, $5 for nonmembers.
- The Museum will host a reunion show of one of the icons of Hoboken’s early ’80s indie music scene: The Cucumbers, on November 3, at 8 p.m. Founding members Jon Fried and Deena Shoshkes moved to Hoboken in 1981 and played their first show as The Cucumbers at Maxwell’s in early 1982. Following in the footsteps of The Bongos and The Individuals, they helped popularize the “Hoboken Sound” with videos on MTV, national tours, write-ups in People, Rolling Stone and The New York Times. Jon and Deena will play acoustic versions of their songs, many about life in Hoboken, interspersed with stories about the River City Fair, Music Among Friends, and now-defunct clubs such as Court Street and The Beaten Path. They will also play songs from Over the Moon, the kids’ rock band Deena formed with Alice Genese when they both were new mothers and became friends in the playground at Church Square Park. Current musical projects include Songs of the Spectrum, an album featuring Jackson Browne, Valerie Carter, Marshall Crenshaw and Dar Williams, who joined forces to raise awareness for autism research, and an upcoming solo album from Deena.