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Musica ad Rhenum

Years ago on a CDTA bus trip, we overheard a Capital Region newcomer’s comment about Albany: “Damn, this place is old!”

Indeed. We are coming up on the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s first trip up the river that bears his name, and even we must admit that 400 years is a long time for this still-young country. As an early celebration of this event, the Friends of Chamber Music are presenting a concert this weekend by the Dutch baroque ensemble Musica ad Rhenum. They will perform works by J.S. Bach, Handel, Johannes Schenck, Antoni van Noordt and Sybrandus (Sybrandus?) van Noort.

Musica ad Rhenum will perform Saturday (Nov. 1) at 8 PM in Kiggins Hall of the Emma Willard School (285 Pawling Ave., Troy). Tickets are $25 general admission, $10 students. Call for info about group rates. For more info, visit or call 475-1366.

The Roots

“Does anybody like good music? Sweet music? Soul music? You know, the Roots is a group that’ll choose it, just to use it, to make you move it.” Yeah. It’s not often an honest-to-God hip-hop show comes to town, so maybe that’s why the good folks at the Armory have been dangling this one over our heads for—wow—like, months.

Touring in support of their latest, Rising Down, the legendary sextet will “proceed and continue to rock the mic,” bass, drums, guitar, keys and all those other organic beat-making what’s-it’s that have always put the band on the forefront of their form. As for the rest of the bill, Gym Class Heroes know a thing or two about the boom-bap, too. But a show like this wouldn’t be complete without a woman’s touch. So Estelle will bring a reggae-tinged sound that has received both Kanye West’s and Shaggy’s stamp of approval.

The Roots, Gym Class Heroes and Estelle come to the Washington Avenue Armory (195 Washington Ave., Albany) on Saturday (Nov. 1) at 7:30 PM. Tickets are $36. Call 694-7160 for more information.

Anna in the Tropics

In the 19th century, Cuban immigrants carried the hand-rolled cigar industry with them to the Florida coasts. In the cigar factories, a lector would read to workers each day while they rolled cigars. These lectors taught and entertained workers until the 1930s, when mechanized rolling phased out the Cuban traditions.

Ybor City, known today as Tampa’s Latin Quarter, was the hub of the cigar industry, and is the setting of Nilo Cruz’ 2003 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Anna in the Tropics. Set in 1929, the play unfolds at the brink of mechanization, and follows a family of cigar rollers whose lives are powerfully and permanently changed by a new lector who reads Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina to the workers.

The passion, desire and jealousies of the novel are mirrored in the factory, where the workers struggle to find love and satisfaction, and to hold fast to their traditions as progress looms at their door.

Anna in the Tropics opens for preview at Capital Repertory Theater on Halloween (Friday, Oct. 31) at 8 PM. Opening night is on Wednesday (Nov. 5) at 7:30 PM, with pre-show entertainment beginning at 6:30. Tickets range from $27 to $44. For a complete performance schedule, or to purchase tickets, call 445-7469.

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