San Franciso's "Conspiracy of Beards" is a 30-member a capella male choir which performs exclusively the songs of the legendary poet, novelist, and singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen. Inspired by the late performing artist Peter Kadyk and directed by Daryl Henline, the group performs gritty, uplifting renditions Cohen's songs. This Saturday, April 7th, the Beards, and special musical guests Peter Whitehead and Hazy Loper, perform at the SF Buddhist Center in a benefit for Jai Bhim International educational projects in India.
Since its foundation in 2003, the choir has performed to dozens of enthusiastic audiences around the San Francisco Bay Area. Notable performances include the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco City Hall and the Great American Music Hall, as well as appearances on PBS television station KQED, radio stations KFOG and KPFA, and national radio program West Coast Live.
The Beards' website bio revealed that "since its foundation in 2003, the choir has performed to dozens of enthusiastic audiences around the San Francisco Bay Area. Notable performances include the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco City Hall and the Great American Music Hall, as well as appearances on PBS television station KQED, radio stations KFOG and KPFA, and national radio program West Coast Live.
The group became an official non-profit organization in 2006; in 2008, the Beards completed their first mini-tour of the East Coast, performing on radio station WFMU and at several venues in the New York City area, including the Highline Ballroom and the Bowery Poetry Club.
Transforming Cohen's simple melodies into complex 4 to 5 part harmonies, their sound ranges from tender to robust. One can hear influences of contemporary, jazz, gospel, barbershop, classical and even doo-wop styles in the unique arrangements by chorus members.
Using the genius of Cohen's words, the Beards inspire the audience to ponder personal, political and spiritual life throughout the show, amid laughter and cheers. The songs have real and relatable meaning which affects listeners in an intimate manner. And when sung by a group of sincere gentlemen, it is a rare phenomenon which touches audience members on many levels."
Jai Bhim International "collaborates with youth from the Dalit/ex-untouchable community in India to offer Communicative English workshops which incorporate dance, music, yoga, and creative writing. In India JBI also leads youth meditation retreats, and sponsors arts events and leadership trainings, and in the U.S creates curriculum and conducts workshops on Caste as a Human Rights Issue.
The Dalit community, those considered "untouchable", were brutally oppressed by an unjust caste system for 3,000 years. Thanks to the Indian humanitarian Dr. Bhimrao ("Bhim") Ambedkar, who wrote the Indian Constitution in the 1940's, a vibrant social justice movement has been alive in the Dalit community for more than half a century. Our name is a tribute to this visionary man and our work is part of this inspiring global movement.
JAI means "long live" and BHIM refers to Dr. Ambedkar. JAI BHIM INTERNATIONAL creates youth projects guided by Dr. Ambedkar's international vision of liberty, equality and fraternity, heeding his call to "Educate, Agitate, Organize!" Jai Bhim International is empowering a new generation of youth, a "caste-free generation"..."
"Educate, Agitate, Organize!"
An evening of song, with performances by The Conspiracy of Beards,
and special musical guests Peter Whitehead and Hazy Loper,
to benefit Jai Bhim International educational projects in India.
April 7th @ 8 pm at The SF Buddhist Center in The Mission.
This is a smoke-free and alcohol-free event and the space is handicap-accessible.
$20 donation requested at the door.