I had the honor of attending the Outside the Box Art and Music Festival on the Boston Common on July 17th. The festival consisted of seven to eight stages featuring various types of music and performances including spoken word and several vendors. Never missing an event put on by a good friend, Valerie Stephens, I attended the festival seeking my third viewing of her performance, “4 Women.”
4 Women is Valerie Stephen’s tribute to the great Dr. Nina Simone. The impact of Nina Simone, classical pianist, composer, jazz, R&B, folk, gospel and POP vocalist as well as civil rights activist, comes through in many of her musical compositions, which Valerie highlights in this production. The name comes from the four main female singers, including Valerie, who accompanied by a band, keeps the audience moving with soulful renditions of Nina’s famous songs.
Having seen this concert a few times, I found each performance was as amazing as the last. The band, who Valerie Stephens refers to as her blessings were and are a mind blowing musical force. When the four women aren’t on stage, the band takes over, keeping the vibrant energy alive with exciting solos that highlight their incredible talent. From Ms. Stephens opening selection to each performing women that followed all were absolutely sensational. Each selection was more stimulating than the last.
This production has been in a number of venues around the Boston area this summer from the Cambridge River Festival in June. For more information please visit Valerie’s website, and keep an eye out for the next 4 Women performance!