Music: Harborwalk Sounds at the Institute of Contemporary Art

By Scott McLennan

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July 11, 2012

Harborwalk Sounds at the Institute of Contemporary Art.

Even before it opened the doors to its new home on the South Boston waterfront in late 2006, the Institute for Contemporary Art knew it would need some bait to attract both those who already admired the museum’s mission and new fans. After all, this is Boston, where change can be as welcomes as a rash.

But because this is Boston, the ICA also had some powerful allies to turn to, among them Berklee College of Music.

“The idea was to use the outdoors and just make a really chill environment that takes advantage of the waterfront,” says David Henry, the ICA’s director of programs.

So the museum turned to the music school to set up a few shows on summer nights to coincide with the ICA’s free admission from 5 to 9 p.m. on Thursdays.

The so-called Harborwalk Sounds proved so popular it is now a weekly series, with eight concerts through August 30. When the weather cooperates, grab a spot out on the pavilion at 100 Northern Avenue. When it rains the shows move inside (still not a bad deal).

Henry says his polling shows that about half of those coming to HarborWalk Sounds are music fans new to the museum, half are museum fans checking out new bands, so it’s been a good arts cross-pollination project.

The music is all pretty hip and family-friendly to boot, with concerts running 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Here’s the rundown of who’s on tap this season:

  • July 12: Italo Cunha and The Mates¬ – Brazilian music mixed with jazz, indie rock, and pop.
  • July 19: Jaime Woods and Nick Hakim – Soulful pop from guy-gal tandem with debut CD on its way this summer.
  • July 26: Adrianne Lenker – Smartly constructed, beautifully sung singer-songwriter fare.
  • August 2: Hamish Napier Band – Scottish folk meets jazz, bluegrass, and Americana.
  • August 9: Tamsin and Hannah Read Band – Smoky, folky Tamsin Wilson teams with fiddler, singer/songwriter Hannah Read, another Scot in this series.
  • August 16: Holiday Mountain – A jubilant fusion of spacey, danceable music spiced with various ethnic folk music. This concert is a release party for the CD, “Become Who You Are.”
  • August 23: Cosmodrome – If you saw Berklee’s tribute to George Clinton earlier this year, you know what a powerhouse singer Madison McFerrin is. Cosmodrome is the funky, groovy quartet that really lets her shine.
  • August 30: The Yesberger Band – Jazz pop trio that has already toured home and abroad, sharing stages with Bobby McFerrin (Madison’s dad), Jamie Cullum, The Temptations, and the Yellowjackets.


Institute for Contemporary Art
100 Northern Avenue
Boston, MA  02210
(617) 478-3100




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About the Author
Scott McLennan Scott McLennan
Scott McLennan is a music correspondent for the Boston Globe and former entertainment columnist for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. His work as taken him from the Newport Folk Festival to the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival and many musical points in between. Scott also writes about skiing for Hawthorn Publications.

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