Emerging Music Festival to Return for Fifth Year

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Emerging Music Festival to Return for Fifth Year

Returning for its fifth year, Emerging Music Festival (EMF) features eight on-the-rise indie rock, folk, singer-songwriter, and soul bands performing for thousands on the Bryant Park lawn. Between sets, attendees can purchase beer and wine, eat food from local vendors curated by Hester Street Fair, borrow a free picnic blanket, learn to juggle, and play giant lawn games.

This year's EMF takes place over two days, on August 23 and 24. Artists slated to perform on August 23 include vocalist Sammy Rae, laid-back indie rock from Morningsiders, soulful multi-instrumentalist Celisse, and disco-rock from the Iranian indie band The Muckers. The August 24 lineup will spotlight dreamy exotica from Argentinian New Yorker Renata Zeiguer, lush pop from Tomberlin, horn-laden funk with Ghost Funk Orchestra, and powerpop from Philly's Remember Sports.

"New York City is an incredible hotbed for what's next in music" says Dan Fishman, series curator and Director of Public Events for Bryant Park Corporation. "Come listen to these new and electrifying bands from the comfort of a summer picnic."

This event is part of Bryant Park Picnic Performances presented by Bank of America, a series of world-class music, theater, and dance performances in Midtown Manhattan. All Picnic Performances are free to the public and designed to be enjoyed casually - no tickets required. At each show, the park lends out 250 free picnic blankets for audience members to relax on while enjoying the show on the Lawn.

Friday, August 23 at 6pm

Sammy Rae, Morningsiders, Celisse, and The Muckers

Singer/songwriter and bandleader Samantha Bowers began writing songs at age 12 and, by age 18, had written and released three LPs. In 2016, Sammy Rae & The Friends (SR&TF) were born from a collection of talented musicians and friends. SR&TF would play shows around the NY Metro area as Sam kept composing and sharpening her craft, culminating in the July 2018 release of the self-produced EP The Good Life' premiered to a sold-out crowd at C'Mon Everybody in Brooklyn. The release marked a fresh start for the seasoned vocalist showcasing her skills as a composer, arranger, lyricist, and bandleader on her fourth release. Since the release of their single 'Saw It Coming,' The Friends have enjoyed 6 sold-out shows in New York at well-known venues such as Knitting Factory, Bowery Electric, DROM, and Rockwood Music Hall. The lyrics focus on themes of coming-of-age, defiance, and self-expression. Her genre blending performances are high-energy, honest and quirky, influenced by the great performances of her childhood classic rock heroes.

Morningsiders are a duo who started making music together in college. After actively touring for a couple years, they decided that they're big fans of making music together, but not fans of being conjoined at the hip in a stuffy rental car worrying that they're gonna miss soundcheck. Now Magnus lives in Boston, pursuing a doctorate in Philosophy and nursing his obsession of the folk ballads of the British isles. Reid is in New York pursuing music through a solo project and studio work, and works as a part-time wedding officiant. They continue to write, record, and release music on Spotify and other streaming platforms as much living in different cities allows. Their music has appeared in several movies and commercials, and has been featured on several prominent Spotify Playlists, such as Feel-Good Indie Rock, Totally Stress-Free, New Music Friday in several countries, Songs Taylor Loves (yes, Taylor Swift) and several others.

Celisse Henderson is a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, performer and spoken word artist. Her deep and varied career has seen her in concert, at venues ranging from the Beacon Theater, supporting Mariah Carey, Madison Square Garden supporting Kesha at the 60th annual Grammy Awards, The Greek Theater in Trey Anastasio's Ghosts of the Forest, and the Apollo Theater with Melissa Etheridge; as well starring in the recent revival of Godspell at Circle in the Square Theater, singing in Bridget Everett's Rock Bottom at Joe's Pub at The Public; and appearing on television, in PBS's The Electric Company, 30 Rock, Rescue Me, The Big C and more. But it's her prodigious talents as a singer-songwriter and musician that have defined Celisse the most as an artist. Her original music, powered by her soulful voice, is hard-rocking and blues-tinged with infectious hooks that stay with you.

Dubbed "one of New York's most exciting new bands" by DIY Magazine, The Muckers formed in the city of Tehran, Iran, before landing in NYC in the summer of 2017, where they've forged a reputation for an exhilarating live show, supporting the likes of Shannon and The Clams, Broncho, Jacuzzi Boys, and Rey Pila. Last November, they released a 3-track effort boasting unapologetic funk-laden disco grooves tied together with early-aughts-MTV-era guitar licks, lauded "a record that shimmers with fire and possibility" in a recent Rolling Stone profile retracing the band's formation, "a story of sacrifice, conviction and persistence against huge odds," which frontman Emir Mohseni also recounted in details via Billboard.

Saturday, August 24 at 6pm

Renata Zeiguer, Tomberlin, Ghost Funk Orchestra, and Remember Sports

Renata Zeiguer is a Brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter, the daughter of Argentinean and Philippine immigrants. An NYC native, she grew up playing classical and jazz music, beginning on the violin and the piano at age 6, and listening to her grandmother play ragtime and tango music obsessively on a baby grand during family visits in Buenos Aires. Released on Northern Spy Records last year 2018, Renata's debut album Old Ghost is the sound of someone finding and losing herself in the endless dance of fear and forgiveness. Renata is a composer, her songs deep and complex. With secretly wise melodic constructions, she tempts the listener toward forbidden insights, resurrecting her childhood fascination with classical and jazz music. The ghosts of Debussy, and Gershwin run through her veins, whirling with Billie Holiday, Os Mutantes and The Beatles. She grew up in two worlds: Riverdale, New York City and Buenos Aires, the land of her father, torn between the clear expectations of piano lessons in Yonkers, and the Dionysian passions of Argentine tango. Her music is both wonderfully dreamy and strange - there is an ambiance that exudes a kind of dreamy exotica, a "timeless portal where Les Paul and Mary Ford meet Os Mutantes and the Pixies." Some may hear a sort of weightless negative space where Joe Meek's "I Hear a New World" meets Kate Bush (Chad Depasquale of Aquarium Drunkard).

On her deeply moving debut album At Weddings, Sarah Beth Tomberlin writes with the clarity and wisdom of an artist well beyond her years. Immeasurable space circulates within the album's ten songs, which set Tomberlin's searching voice against lush backdrops of piano and guitar. Like Julien Baker and Sufjan Stevens, she has a knack for transforming the personal into parable. Like Grouper, she has a feel for the transcendent within the ordinary.

Ghost Funk Orchestra is a New York psychedelic soul band. Began as a one-man basement recording project, GFO has grown into a 10-piece powerhouse live band. Three-part vocal harmonies, bombastic horns, reverb-drenched guitars, and pounding drums. They've been often described as sounds from a lost Tarantino flick. GFO's debut LP, A Song For Paul, is being released on August 23rd via the Colemine Records imprint Karma Chief, making EMF the official release party.

Remember Sports is a Philadelphia-based band, originally conceived in the tiny Midwestern college town of Gambier, Ohio, comprised of members Carmen Perry (vocals, guitar), Jack Washburn (guitar), Catherine Dwyer (bass), and Connor Perry (drums). Their peppy indie powerpop encapsulates the melancholy and excitement of growing up while Carmen's writing is diaristic and intimate; a strange amalgam of both melancholy and joy. Their latest album was 2018's Slow Buzz (Father/Daughter Records).

Photo Credit: Ryan Muir

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