ASCAP Music Cafe cued into virtual Sundance Film Festival
New content to be uploaded from Jan. 29-Feb. 1
The ASCAP Music Cafe at the Sundance Film Festival has relocated to a virtual stage this year.
Instead of crowding into the Rich Haines Gallery space at 751 Main St. to see singer-songwriters including Allison Russel, Devon Gilfillian, Pedrito Martinez and bands such as Time for Three, Sundance Film Festival account holders will be able to see them perform online by visiting village.festival.sundance.org, said Loretta Muñoz, assistant vice president, membership of American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.
The virtual performances will be posted in the Sundance Film Festival Village page starting Jan. 29, and new content will be posted at 3 p.m. every day until Feb. 1. Festival-goers can create their accounts by visiting festival.sundance.org/create-account, Muñoz said.
“The artists have been very open to a virtual format,” she said. “Most of them have been performing virtually in small and big platforms on social media for a few months. So they were comfortable with what we came up with.”
This year’s artists include Airborne Toxic Event frontman Mikel Jollett; Pedrito Martinez, the Grammy-nominated percussionist and co-founder of the Grammy-nominated Afro-Cuban/Afro-Beat band Yerba Buena; singer-songwriter Hailey Whitters, who has written songs for Little Big Town and Alan Jackson; indie folk quartet Darlingside; soul singer-songwriter Devon Gilfillian, whose album “Black Hole Rainbow” was nominated for a Grammy as Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical; and Allison Russell, founding member of acclaimed roots groups Our Native Daughters and Birds of Chicago.
“These are all new performances, and they were played live and prerecorded,” Muñoz said. “Some performed in their own full-blown studios. Some set up video cameras in different rooms in their homes, or set up different cameras in different places — however they could get together as a collective.”
Joining the Sundance Film Festival virtually wasn’t really a question after the COVID-19 pandemic pushed organizers to host the festival virtually, Muñoz said.
“It wasn’t all about the question of how we would imagine the performances and put them forward,” she said. “ASCAP has done so many virtual programs over the past year, and we’ve become adept to do this. So it was super easy for us to imagine how we could participate.”
ASCAP also added a new component called Versed to its Music Cafe this year, according to Muñoz.
Versed is the ASCAP podcast, and it plans a screen-time discussion with Ron and Russell Mael of the band Sparks, which is the subject of director Edgar Wright’s documentary “The Sparks Brothers,” which will premiere at this year’s Sundance.
“I think people will fall in love with Sparks, and Edgar, who will join the conversation, is a fantastic director,” Muñoz said. “So the dialogue will be super interesting.”
Other scheduled Versed conversations will include Emmy-nominated composers Siddhartha Khosla and Amanda Jones, as well as composer Devonté Hynes, also known by his stage name, Blood Orange, and director Rebecca Hall, who collaborated on the film “Passing.”
Khosla is known for his music in NBC’s “This Is Us,” and Jones is known for her work on Apple TV+’s “Home” and BET’s “Twenties.”
“The ASCAP Music Cafe is regularly a live performance space, but we thought about adding something that would be different in this virtual world,” Muñoz said. “So we added one day that would be a dialogue with composers and directors to have interesting conversations. I’m super excited we can open this door and flip the spotlight and put it on our composers.”
Muñoz is grateful for ASCAP’s 23-year history with Sundance, and was thrilled when she was notified the Music Cafe would still be part of the event this year.
“We were excited to be able to participate, and I know the pandemic has been a challenge for many people, companies, countries and the world,” she said. “We, like Sundance, are still tied to creating new opportunities for our members, and showcasing them in the most highlighted way. So opening the cafe up globally is incredible.”
When: Jan. 29-Feb. 1
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