Ben Verdery Releases Purple Haze video

Last May, 50 years after the release of the ground breaking album Are You Experienced, my dear friend Ray White called me to see if I would do an interview discussing my thoughts on Jimi Hendrix.Talk to Ray about my love for Jimi? Are you kidding? I was in! Ray is one of America's most beloved music radio personalities. I listened to Ray on WNEW FM when I was teenager. As it turned out Ray's film crew consisted of two Parisians, Pierre Mitz and Eric Stockplus. We all had so much fun doing the interview that I suggested we do Purple Haze video here in town. A day later, on quite a foggy purple afternoon, we borrowed a friend's down town roof top complete with a pirate flag (!) and shot the video. It is both a tribute to Jimi Hendrix whose music deeply moves me 50 years later and a small tribute to the city he loved so. Ray, Eric, Pierre and I wish you Peace, love and more Jimi!


Ben Verdery releases Searching for a Chorale video

Note from Ben:
Searching for a Chorale was written in November/December 2016 by my mentor Seymour Bernstein. I had asked Seymour to write a piece for me several years ago. During the intermission of a gorgeous recital by our mutual dear friend David Leisner, I turned to him and said, " so, are you going to write a piece for me or what?"

The next morning I received an email from Seymour. Here is a quote from that email:

"I am thinking of a piece for you. You know how Britten resolves his masterpiece into a Dowland prayer? Well I have a favorite Bach chorale to dissolve your piece into. I already began to play around with the chorale."

And so the journey began between composer and performer. After learning Searching.. I had many coaching sessions on the work similar to others I have had with Seymour for the past 30+ years. He at the piano and me next to him with guitar in hand. A bit of our silliness is captured in the first video clip we released announcing the work. At the core of Searching for a Chorale and it's interpretation lay two people's profound love and respect for music and friendship. 

Searching for a Chorale
Composer: Seymour Bernstein
Guitarist: Benjamin Verdery
Recorded at Elm City Records Speak Easy Studios
Recording Producer: Solomon Silber
Recording Engineer : Evan Bakke
Video Filmed by Scott Johnson and Sean Hower of Polyphonic Ind. Maui HI
Video Editor: Mitsuko Verdery
Guitar: Garrett Lee
Strings: D'Addario
Clothing: Fumi
Special Mahalo to all at St. John's Episcopal Church, Kula, Maui HI for allowing to film in this magical church and setting.
Publisher: Doberman-Yippan

Nano Stern Talks Music, Politics, and Creative Expression in a Changing World

An interview with Chilean musician Nano Stern, currently touring North America, who will be performing with NACLA this week.

NACLA Report on the Americas

In a swiftly changing world, Chilean musician Nano Stern is among Latin America's most passionate advocates for the political power of art and the importance of global connections between activist movements. Stern's unique blend of traditional Chilean style and modern folk is also heavily influenced by the Nueva Canción movement of the 70s and 80s. In this episode of NACLA Radio, guest producer Julia Burnell talks to Nano about the current political climate in Latin America and the United States, music as a tool for creative expression and resistance, and the connections between nature, memory, and art.

Nano will be in Brooklyn at Verso Books this Friday, March 17th, to share his music and discuss art and activism with NACLA. The event is free and open to the public, and begins at 6:30pm. Learn more about the event and RSVP here. To learn more about Nano, listen to his music, and find his updated tour schedule, go to

Nano Stern releases Festejo de Color video

September 15, 2016 Nano Stern and his trio spent the day at the Carriage House Studios, Stamford, CT where they recorded his hit song Festejo de Color (Festival of Color). 

Nano Stern - vocals, guitar
Patricio Rojas - vocals, bass
Cristian Carvacho - vocals, percussion, drums

Produced by Solomon Silber for Elm City Records, New Haven, CT
Recorded & Mixed by Evan Bakke

In ‘Festejo de Color’ (‘Festival of Color’), off of his newly released Mil 500 Vueltas, internationally recognized poet and folk virtuoso Nano Stern sheds a shimmering light on the beautiful mixing of cultures that results from migration.

Nano originally wrote ‘Festejo de Color’ as an homage to his grandparents who were forced to flee from Eastern Europe during WWII.  However, Nano explains that this song quickly developed into a profound recognition of all migrants, the pains they endure and the celebration of their arrival into a new home.  Through ‘Festejo de Color’, Nano suppresses xenophobia and celebrates the mixing of cultures, races and ethnicities.

Nano describes that, ‘Festejo’, although directly translated as ‘Festival’, is also the Afro-Peruvian dance and rhythm that ‘Festejo de Color’ is based on.  Stern also introduces and combines rhythms from the Balkans and Eastern Europe with Festejo.  Susana Baca, a Peruvian Festejo legend guest sings with Nano on this track along with Argentine icon Pedro Aznar and Colombian talent Marta Gomez.  With these three guest stars representing the three most emigrated-from countries to Chile, Stern’s ‘Festejo de Color’ is nothing less than a living example of how voices can meld multiple nations into one.

Stern wrote ‘Festejo de Color’ in Decima, an improvised form of poetry originally developed in Spain and Portugal, dating back to the 1600’s.  Although the beloved Chilean singer/songwriter Violeta Parra famously helped reintroduce Decima in the 20th century, currently Nano is one of the only singer/songwriters to ambitiously conquer this ancient art and makes a strong cultural statement in doing so.

LYRICS (Spanish)

Llegaste desde otra tierra
Dejando atrás una vida
Partiendo sin despedida
Y escapando de una guerra
Cruzaste la cordillera
Atravesaste el desierto
O tal véz llegaste al puerto
Sin saber lo que esperaba
Lo cierto es que atrás quedaba
El pasado con sus muertos
Tan lejos está tu historia
Sepultada por el tiempo
Que no le entrega ni al viento
Un pedazo de memoria
Nunca buscaste la gloria
Ni imaginaste el futuro
Pero en aquel viaje duro
Que te trajo a este lugar
La vida empezó a brotar
Como la hiedra del muro
Celebro la diferencia
Y el festejo de color
Y te doy la bienvenida
Con cariño y con fervor
Que se junten nuestras voces
Pa' que nazca una canción
Y se entrencen nuestros pueblos
En una sola nación
La la la la la la la la
No trajiste casi nada
En tu equipaje pequeño
Pero bien guardado un sueño
Desembarcó en tu llegada
Un suspiro una mirada
Un acento medio extraño
Un vestido hecho de paño
Y el sabor de tu sazón
Quedan en el corazón
Por más que pasen los años
Y se viste de colores
Nuestra tierra engalanada
Pa' celebrar tu llegada
Y alejarte los dolores
Si a tu paso crecen flores
Que entremezclan las raíces
De todos esos países
Que en tu ruta se han unido
Y que el tiempo ha convertido
En telar de mil matices
Celebro la diferencia
Y el festejo de color
Y te doy la bienvenida
Con cariño y con fervor
Que se junten nuestras voces
Pa' que nazca una canción
Y se entrencen nuestros pueblos
En una sola nación
La la la la la la la la