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The Music of Led Zeppelin: A Rock Symphony

They come from the land of the ice and snow, from the midnight sun where the hot springs blow—well, some of ’em do anyway. Honestly, though, most of them are probably from the Eastman School of Music, Juilliard or the Mannes College of Music.

That’ll be the case tomorrow (Friday) at the Palace Theatre when the Albany Symphony Orchestra is enlisted to play the music of the mother of all heavy-metal bands, Led Zeppelin. Conductor Brent Havens (pictured) will take over the podium from the ASO’s regular helmsman, David Alan Miller, to lead the orchestra galloping through songs like “The Immigrant Song,” “Black Dog,” and “Kashmir.”

Boosting the power—as if it were necessary—of the orchestral renditions of your favorite headbanging tunes will be an addition you more usually associate with Houses of the Holy than a French horn: a rock quartet, this one fronted by Randy Jackson of Zebra (“Who’s Behind the Door”).

Havens, who arranged the work, has staged similar symphonic attacks on the music of the Doors and Pink Floyd, and his enthusiasm for the approach is apparent:

“On ‘Immigrant Song’ I have the violins doing that ‘Ah-ah-ah’ part up an octave from Jackson, and the French horns are doing it with him in the same register,” he is quoted in his press release. “Then we have the brass kickin’ in the back, doing the accents. It rips.”

The Music of Led Zeppelin will be presented at the Palace Theatre (19 Clinton Ave., Albany) tomorrow (Friday, Oct. 10). Tickets for the 8 PM show are $32.50-$37.50 and can be purchased by calling 800-THE-TICK.

Democracy in Latin America: Thirty Years After Chile’s 9/11

What, you may wonder, was Chile’s 9/11? Sept. 11, 1973, was the day Chilean coup plotters, led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet (with the encouragement of the U.S. government), violently overthrew the democratically elected government of president Salvador Allende. (Pre-coup comment on Chilean democracy by Henry Kissinger: “The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.”) This was followed by more than a decade of military dictatorship and severe political repression. Pinochet and his cronies tortured and killed their enemies at home and abroad—including the 1976 assassination of Orlando Letelier, the former Chilean ambassador to the United States.

This weekend, the University at Albany’s department of Latin American and Caribbean studies is sponsoring the conference Democracy in Latin American: Thirty Years After Chile’s 9/11. The wide scope of the conference encompasses politics, history, and the arts; in addition to the academic programs, there are a number of notable cultural events being presented.

Tomorrow (Friday, Oct. 10) at 4 PM in UAlbany’s Lecture Center 2 (1400 Washington Ave., Albany), Patricio Guzmán’s riveting documentary The Pinochet Case will be screened. This film follows the attempts in the late 1990s to bring Gen. Pinochet to trial for crimes against humanity. On Saturday (Oct. 11), there will be a theater event featuring a reading of Amigas by the authors, Marjorie Agosin and Emma Sepúlveda. Based on 30 years of letters between the two writers, Amigas chronicles their lives as Chilean exiles, and their reflections on Chilean society. This event will be held at 6 PM in the UAlbany Performing Arts Center Recital Hall (uptown campus). Both events are free of charge and open to the public.

Two other notable events are open only to conference participants. On Friday at 8 PM in the Recital Hall, pianists Pola Baytelman, Max Lifchitz and Jean Wick-Pelletier will perform. On Saturday at 7:30 PM in the Empire Commons, Fabiola Letelier—Chilean human-rights lawyer and activist, and sister of the late Orlando Letelier—will deliver the conference’s keynote address at the banquet.

To register for the conference or for more information, call 442-4890 or visit

Black Burlesque (revisited)

Black Burlesque (revisited) blends the roots, branch and stem of African dance and song, using a New York choreographer, dancers from Trinidad, and Zimbabwe’s a cappella stars, to kick off the Egg’s new Dance—The World series on Saturday. Wilson’s Fist and Heel Performance Group collaborates with the Noble Douglas Dance Company from Trinidad and Zimbabwe’s Black Umfolosi, examining the way traditions and rituals have been adapted into entertainment, particularly into different styles in music and dance. Black Burlesque (revisited) weaves together poetry, music and dance from different points on the globe; Black Umfolosi’s blend of close harmonies as well as shouts, clicks, claps and stomps joins experimental choreography with traditional Caribbean line dances with South African gumboots. “Reggie Wilson creates with such freshness in his view of the African Diaspora,” said The New York Times’ Anna Kisselgoff. Though it’s called burlesque, the performance seems to be only in its willingness to borrow and reinvent traditional aspects of African culture and mix them all together.

Black Burlesque (revisited) will be at the Egg (Empire State Plaza, Albany) on Saturday (Oct. 18) at 8 PM. Tickets are $24 adults, $19 seniors, and $12 children. For information or tickets, call 473-1845 or visit

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