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New York, NY — New York City’s largest organization dedicated to providing free performing arts programming in NYC parks, City Parks Foundation, presents its full summer 2009 schedule.

City Parks Foundation upholds the tradition of free arts festivals to ensure that all in the city have the opportunity to experience the best in the arts this summer, especially during a year when many have limited budgets for summer entertainment. CityParks Theater presented by Time Warner, CityParks Concerts, and CityParks Dance will provide valuable access to arts and culture throughout the city, by bringing 75 performances to 21 parks throughout the five boroughs free of charge.

The 2009 season marks several exciting new additions to the three festivals including City Parks Foundation’s first ever commissioned play, Dirt Rich by Chisa Hutchinson, as part of CityParks Theater presented by Time Warner. The festival also features a modern adaptation of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream performed by the Continuum Company, and will also welcome acclaimed poet, jessica Care moore, as she fuses music and spoken word in her celebrated one-woman show, God is Not an American. Three-time New York Innovative Theater Award winning production, Dancing vs. The Rat Experiment, will round out the festival with a genre-defying piece performed by the company Witness Relocation.

CityParks Dance has another impressive season line-up including an interactive program and performance by the highly acclaimed ballet company Morphoses/The Wheedon Company. The festival also presents African American troupe Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, break dancing experts Illstyle & Peace Productions, and nathantrice/RITUALS abstract expressionists. Dance master classes will be featured before all performances, and will be taught by dance professionals and choreographers.

CityParks Concerts is proud to present top musical acts including Grammy award-winning R&B singer Chrisette Michele, salsa sensation Frankie Negron, popular “experimental” band Man Man, and gospel music sensation and Grammy Award-winning pastor of Brooklyn’s Love Fellowship Tabernacle, Hezekiah Walker. City Parks Foundation is also welcoming back the fan favorites hip-hop group Naughty By Nature, KRS-One, and Slick Rick.

The full schedule for the CityParks Concerts festival is below. Photos are available upon request.


Kiki Sheard / Keith Wonderboy Johnson
Von King Park, Brooklyn — July 2 at 7pm

Grammy-award nominated gospel singer Kierra “Kiki” Sheard’s voice is soulful and full-bodied — it’s no wonder she started singing as a young girl in the Detroit church her father preached in. At age nine she recorded a duet with her mother, “The Safest Place,” and at age seventeen she recorded her debut album, “I Owe You.” Her sound mixes gospel, hip-hop and soul into a big, energetic sound. Good thing she’s performing in the park; her sound would fill up any room.

Hector Tricoche y Su Orquesta
St. Mary’s Park, Bronx — July 7 at 7pm

One of the Original Salsa Kings, Hector Tricoche is an internationally acclaimed Latin pop and salsa musician who is noted for his impressively high and melodic voice and richly textured versatile musical compilations. Critics have praised him for combining a harmonious voice with the creative snappiness of an improvisation artist. His live performances roar to life with a swinging brass and bass orchestra.

Soulsonic Force
Crotona Park, Bronx — July 8 at 7pm

Soulsonic Force and Africa Bombaataa put in some solid ground work for the creation of hip hop in the early 1980s with songs like “Planet Rock.” With blended influences from German electro-pop, British rock and African American disco rap, the band’s music placed hip-hop on a more global sphere. Soulsonic Force influenced domestic musical artists, too, with a hand in the creation and evolution of electro music in America, and modern dance music styles like electro-funk and electro-hop.

MC Lyte
Von King Park, Brooklyn — July 9 at 7pm

Brooklyn-born rapper MC Lyte started rhyming when she was 12, and as she developed as an artist, she became one of the first female rappers to tackle the sexism and misogyny that often appears in hip-hop. Some more “firsts” for this pioneering woman: she’s the first rap artist to perform at Carnegie Hall, and the first female rapper to receive a gold single. On the stage, her music breaks through the silence and pulls you in.

Sugarhill Gang
Queensbridge Park, Queens — July 14 at 7pm

Sugarhill Gang exploded onto the scene in 1979 with the multi-platinum mega-hit “Rapper’s Delight” and is widely credited for popularizing hip hop. The infectious tune ranks number 248 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list. Their CityParks Concerts performance also celebrates the Gang’s 30th anniversary.

Paquito Guzman
St. Mary’s Park, Bronx — July 14 at 7pm

Veteran Latin artist Paquito Guzman has been a musical force since his self-titled debut album in 1972. A soulful crooner with a romantic bent, Guzman is cited for awakening the relatively dormant Salsa audience in the late 80s with the release of Tu Amante Romantico — a collection of salsa romantica that highlights Guzman’s gloriously smooth voice. In 2000, Guzman released his first album in ten years, Direct Al Corazon, a return to the romantic ballads that made him so popular. Four decades into his career, the beloved salsero is still going strong with frequent live performances.

George Lamond and Judy Torres
Crotona Park, Bronx — July 15 at 7pm

George Lamond and Judy Torres are both freestyling staples, mixing electronic, disco, hip hop and Latin to form their bumping sounds. Gaining popularity as a backup singer, Lamond went solo with his first album “Bad of the Heart,” which had a number of underground hits like “Look Into My Eyes.” As for Torres, while her 80s contemporaries have dwindled, the Bronx native has continued to evolve as a singer. Known as the Queen of Freestyle, she hosts a weekly show on WKTU called the Free For All Show that will get your adrenaline pumping.

Chico DeBarge
Von King Park, Brooklyn — July 16 at 7pm

Sultry soul crooner Chico DeBarge will make a return to music with the forthcoming release, Addiction. Earning his musical chops as a member of the famed Motown group, Switch and DeBarge, the singer broke out on his own in1986 with the release of his debut solo album.

Man Man
East River Park, Manhattan — July 16 at 7pm

Honky Tonk piano, face paint and rough vocals propel Man Man to the forefront of any performance. The band started to gain popularity after opening for Modest Mouse in 2007, and some of their songs were featured in an episode of the TV show Weeds. Labeled experimental rock, the band plays a host of instruments, including the clavinet, sousaphone, flute, euphonium, xylophone, marimba, noise makers and pots and pans. It’s not a performance you are likely to forget.

Lovebug Starski
Queensbridge Park, Queens — July 21 at 7pm

Lovebug Starski was there at the birth of hip-hop. Some even claim he was the first to call it by that name. He was a house DJ at the legendary club Disco Fever (featured in the classic rap film Beat Street) and manned the wheels of steel at Club Harlem World and Renaissance as well. He provided the soundtrack to the 1986 film Rappin’ and released his debut album, House Rock, later that year.

St. Mary’s Park, Bronx — July 21 at 7pm

N’Klabe is a Puerto Rican salsa group formed in 2003 by Héctor Torres, Félix Javier Torres, and Ricardo Porrata. The group has been nominated for several awards during its short career and is hailed “the future of Salsa music” by such pioneers of the genre as Cheo Feliciano. Both N’Klabe’s albums — and two of their most well-known songs — feature collaboration with reggaeton artist Voltio. The group also recently collaborated with R.K.M. & Ken-Y.

Crotona Park, Bronx — July 22 at 7pm

Dubbed “The Teacher” for his political and socially conscious music, KRS-One has been rapping since the 80s — and his talent hasn’t waned since. “I come back/Cause I’m not in the physical/I create myself, man, I live in the spiritual,” KRS-One raps in “Hip Hop Lives” from the 2007 album of the same name. Born Kris Parker, the musician/philosopher won a Lifetime Achievement Award for his work founding the Stop the Violence Movement.

Slick Rick
East River Park, Manhattan — July 23 at 7pm

Slick Rick’s personal past isn’t exactly lined with tulips, but the London-born, Bronx-raised rapper has always found a way to make music. After meeting future rapper Dana Dane at his music and art high school in the Bronx, the two started Kangol Crew in the early 1980s. After various legal battles, Slick Rick was pardoned by New York State Governor David Patterson, and now spends his time performing throughout NYC, where his unique style of classic throwback rap is not to be missed.

Rhythm Revue with Felix Hernandez
Queensbridge Park, Queens — July 28 at 7pm

Felix Hernandez is in the business of remembering the good ol’ days. Hernandez’s wildly popular radio show, Rhythm Revue takes on a life of its own when three thousand disciples regularly gather at New York’s Roseland, to boogie down as Fernandez spin the sounds of the past. Bring your dancing shoes.

Wayne Wonder
Brower Park, Brooklyn — July 29 at 7pm

With the energetic beats of dancehall and reggae as a foundation, Jamaican-born Wayne Wonder broke into the scene with the explosive single “No Letting Go” off the album No Holding Back. He is not only a talented singer, but a songwriter, too. He contributed to the success of Buju Banton by writing Banton’s hits “Murderer,” Deportee,” and “Boom Bye Bye.”

Chrisette Michele
Springfield Park, Queens — July 30 at 7pm

Grammy Award-winning singer Chrisette Michele has quickly ascended the rankings of the R&B music scene becoming one of the most recognized young voices around the world. Michele began her career by recording with some of the most well-known and respected hip hop producers in the scene including The Game, Jay-Z, Nas, Kanye West, and Ghostface Killah. In 2007, Michele released her debut album I Am and in March 2009 she released her sophomore effort, Epiphany.

Ismael Miranda
East River Park, Manhattan — July 30 at 7pm

Nicknamed Niño Bonito (Pretty Boy), Ismael Miranda recorded his first song, “Let’s Ball,” with Joey Pastrana at the young age of seventeen. In 1973, the Puerto Rican-born, New York City-raised artist joined the Fania All-Stars, where he got his nickname, and then later organized his own orchestra, La Revelación. With classic salsa energy and instrumentals, Miranda and his band own the stage and keep the music flowing.

Frankie Negron
Red Hook Park, Brooklyn — August 4 at 7pm

Just a few years ago salsa was being kept alive by the classic old-school founders as newer audiences were straying to other musical genres. Now, as a fresh face in the salsa world, the bilingual salsa sensation Frankie Negron has been bringing younger fans into the genre. The Puerto Rican American has had nine Billboard Top 40 Hot Latin Tracks, and adds some contemporary pop sounds into his salsa — a perfect combination for a hot summer’s night.

Brower Park, Brooklyn — August 5 at 7pm

Six years ago, Carlo Vieux, Richard Cavé, and Mickael Guirand left their native Haiti to attend Columbia University. Having performed in a larger group together in their teens, the trio resurrected their musical interests and formed CaRiMi (taken from the first two letters of each of the member’s first names). Their song, “Bang Bang” was an international hit, selling over 300,000 copies, establishing the band as one of the hottest konpa bands on the scene today.

Heather Headley
Springfield Park, Queens — August 6 at 7pm

As a little girl in a one-room church in Trinidad, Heather Headley would close the windows and sing with a hairbrush as a microphone. Since then she has won two Grammy Awards and a Tony Award, and is considered by Billboard to be “one of the great entertainers of the day.” Her sugar-coated voice got her the role of Nala in the original production of Broadway’s the Lion King, and her beautiful vocals have brought her to Springfield Park this summer for a sure-to-be-sweet performance.

Jon B
Marcus Garvey Park, Manhattan — August 6 at 7pm

Multi-platinum R&B musician Jon B came to fame in 1995 with his debut release Bonafide. The album highlighted his dulcet tenor, earning him both critical and commercial success including a Grammy-nomination for the song “Someone To Love” featuring Babyface. After marriage and a newborn baby, the soulful crooner returned in 2008 with his fifth studio album Helpless Romantic.

Andy Andy
Highbridge Park, Manhattan — August 11 at 7 p.m.

Merenguero-turned-bachatero Andy Andy made his debut with Aqui Conmigo in 2002 and was nominated for a Latin Grammy a year later. In 2005 and 2006, his record Ironía reached number one on Billboard’s Top Tropical Albums charts. As an advocate for Latino youth issues, New York State recognized his efforts for his work with young people. On stage, Andy Andy’s music persuades you to get up and dance. You won’t be sitting still for this performance.

Lisa Lisa
Red Hook Park, Brooklyn — August 11 at 7pm

For most of the late eighties, Lisa Velez (Lisa Lisa) and her band, Cult Jam was a household name, releasing a string of hits, including, “I Wonder If I Take You Home,” “Head to Toe,” and “Lost in Emotion.” In 1994, she produced her first solo album and pursued an impressive acting career, which resulted in starring roles on Broadway, Nickelodeon, and Law & Order. After nearly two decades, Lisa Lisa still acts, tours, and sings, and she has a new album being released May 19, called “Life N Love.”

Mahoney Playground, Staten Island — August 12 at 7pm

Raekwon started rapping with the Wu-Tang Clan in the early 1990s and put out his first single in 1994. Critically acclaimed for his vivid, evocative story-telling, Raekwon has worked on independent projects, often featuring fellow Wu Tang member Ghostface Killah. Dropping gritty, sparse beats and diverse lyrical flows, Raekwon’s independent work is arguably the most inventive of his Wu Tang members’.

Tribute to the Classics: Black Moon and Smif n Wessun with Live Band
Brower Park, Brooklyn — August 12 at 7pm

Smif N Wessun have worked with some of Hip Hop’s greats: Tupac, Talib Kweli, Tony Touch, Aaliyah, Mary J. Blige, and more. The duo of Tek and Steele have shown themselves to be more than emcees. Bringing hip-hop music with a raw and unique style, Smif N’ Wessun stands apart. Black Moon debuted in 1992 with the single “Who Got Da Props?” and then with their album Enta Da Stage in 1993. Hitting up old school vibes, the group started in Brooklyn’s Bushwick High School, where 5ft and DJ Evil Dee met, later pairing up with Buckshot, also from Brooklyn.

Marcus Garvey Park, Manhattan — August 13 at 7pm

R&B singer Joe has had a remarkable career, having sold over eleven million albums worldwide. The son of two preachers, Joe grew up in the church playing guitar and eventually directing the choir. Citing early influences such as gospel stars Winans, Commissioned, and Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Joe grew to love secular styles of music too, including Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Bobby Brown, and Keith Sweat. In 2000, Joe released his break-out, multi-platinum album My Name is Joe, forever securing his place among the finest in R&B history.

James Fortune & Trin-i-tree 57 hosted by Hezekiah Walker
Springfield, Queens — August 13 at 7pm

James Fortune, gospel singer/songwriter, started the youth ministry FIYA, or Free in Yahweh’s Abundance, in 1998, focusing on reaching young people through singing and dancing. The group became known across Texas for its high-energy, unorthodox performances. Fortune has shared the stage with Grammy Award-winning artists such as Yolanda Adams, John P. Kee, Mary Mary, and Stevie Wonder. Trin-i-tee 57 is a power trio comprised of Chanelle Haynes, Angel Taylor and Adrian Anderson, offering a gospel message delivered through smooth harmonizing and up-tempo beats.

Highbridge Park, Manhattan — August 18 at 7pm

Xtreme was formed in 2003 when the label 2 Strong Entertainment came across the 17 year old Danny Mejia, and after many auditions, Steven Tejada joined the bachata group. With their music, the two young men speak to Dominican Americans by combining tipico sounds of the DR with the R&B that plays in the streets of New York neighborhoods. Any performance is sure to include sultry vocals backed by the flowing bachata beats.

DJ Premier vs. Pete Rock hosted by Danny Castro of Lyricist Lounge
Red Hook Park, Brooklyn — August 18 at 7pm

Producer DJ Premier’s tracks, aggressive and raw, are instantly identifiable. Hailing from Brooklyn, DJ Premier, born Chris Martin, was known as Waxmaster C in his early days when he managed a record store. As for Pete Rock, the rapper/producer/DJ started to make his mark in 1991 with CL Smooth and their EP debut All Souled Out. He’s produced for artists like Edo G and Ghostface Killah, and released a solo album in 2008.

Naughty By Nature
Mahoney Playground, Staten Island — August 19 at 7pm

Naughty By Nature electrified mainstream radio with their street-wise but contagious anthem, “OPP,” which is one of the most successful rap songs in music history. The phenomenal success of “Hip Hop Hooray” firmly cemented NBN’s place in hip-hop legend. Their third album Poverty’s Paradise included “Uptown Anthem,” featured in the film, Juice.

The Persuasions
Rochdale Park, Queens — August 20 at 7pm

Singing a capella since the 1960s, The Persuasions have opened for the likes of Frank Zappa, Ray Charles and Richard Pryor — and Bruce Springsteen and Roseanne Barr have opened for The Persuasions. With a smooth blend of vocals, the Persuasions have won the hearts of all kinds of audiences and bring the tradition of a capella to the park this summer.

Hezekiah Walker
Marcus Garvey Park, Manhattan — August 20 at 7pm

Pastor Hezekiah Walker is the Grammy Award-winning pastor of Brooklyn’s Love Fellowship Tabernacle. Hezekiah Walker & The Love Fellowship Crusade Choir have released 15 albums that have been met with critical acclaim. Nominated in 2001 for the NAACP Image Award for Best Gospel Artist, on the merits of Love Is Live!, the group has also won Grammy Awards for that album as well as for Live in Atlanta at Morehouse College. In 2007, the Essential Hezekiah Walker was released. Also recognized for his community work in Brooklyn, he moves people to action — and he’ll move you to your feet at this summer’s performance.

Bachata Heightz & Watata
Highbridge Park, Manhattan — August 25 at 7pm

Born and raised in Washington Heights, the five members of Bachata Heightz got together to stay off the streets and experiment with their musical passions. They have become one of most influential groups in their genre, and are considered to be one of the first pioneers of urban bachata, with influences coming from rock, hip-hop and R&B music. You can expect straight mambo and a little playfulness of the singers on the stage to get you going.

Rhythm Revue with Felix Hernandez
Tappen Park, Staten Island — August 26 at 7pm

See July 28 description.


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