A ‘Latin Cafe’ In Lebanon

Guitarist Peter Griggs Brings Many Influences

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  • Deborah Harry, right, and Blondie hit the road with punk band X. Illustrates MUSIC-BLONDIE (category e), by Aaron Leitko, special to The Washington Post. Moved Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. (MUST CREDIT: Mark Weiss)

    Deborah Harry, right, and Blondie hit the road with punk band X. Illustrates MUSIC-BLONDIE (category e), by Aaron Leitko, special to The Washington Post. Moved Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. (MUST CREDIT: Mark Weiss)

  • Picture 010
  • Deborah Harry, right, and Blondie hit the road with punk band X. Illustrates MUSIC-BLONDIE (category e), by Aaron Leitko, special to The Washington Post. Moved Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. (MUST CREDIT: Mark Weiss)

Peter Griggs has played in Lebanon once before, but you may have missed it. Last year, the New York-based guitarist traveled to the Upper Valley for an open house at the First Congregational Church of Lebanon. He was primed to play one of several programs he offers, “500 Years of Music for Guitar.”

“Then,” he said earlier this week, “a colossal thunderstorm rolled through.”

The show went on, but with considerably lighter attendance than there could have been.

So Griggs will return Saturday for a 7:30 p.m. show at the same church, though this time he will perform his “Latin Cafe” show, an acoustic guitar set encompassing tango, samba, rumba, bolero, Latin jazz and other genres, which, like “500 Years of Music for Guitar,” slides through the centuries.

Even though his program traverses generations of music, Griggs championed the accessibility of the pieces he will play, and said those with interest in classical, jazz and world music will find something to enjoy.

Also, the older Latin American music might still sound familiar.

“So many of our real best cultural work has had a Latin influence,” Griggs said. “You really couldn’t have modern pop music without the Latin feel. Everybody from Madonna to Paul Simon ... have picked up this influence.”

When Griggs started playing guitar at a young age, he first gravitated to the Beatles tunes he was growing up with. He majored in music in college, with an emphasis on composition, then spent years in the New York area, working as a composer, musician and music director for theater companies and dance troupes.

In 2000, he moved to Germany to play guitar full-time. In two years, he played about 250 shows, many of which eschewed traditional venues.

“I think, in Germany, the churches have tried to pick up a little bit of the slack from the cultural budget cuts that have hit everywhere, kind of universally,” Griggs said. “So the churches try to open up a little bit more to have community events.”

He returned stateside in 2002, in part to take care of his ailing parents, and has mostly toured the Northeast since, performing the two aforementioned shows, as well as an all-Brazilian variation of “Latin Cafe,” “Music for an Old English Christmas” and “The Guitar in America.”

It’s important to assimilate such a wide variety of musical traditions, Griggs said, as much of it is connected.

“I like to have a very inclusive program, particularly as an American musician,” he said. “The history of jazz is something we all should be aware of, even a strict classical player.”

Peter Griggs will perform his concert, “Latin Cafe,” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The show will take place at the First Congregational Church of Lebanon, and admission is by freewill offering.

Best Bets

The Mark Morris Dance Group, a 33-year-old dance troupe known for using live music in its shows, will perform three shows at the Hopkins Center for the Arts next week. The acclaimed troupe, which tours internationally, has visited the Hop four times in the past several decades.

This time around, it will perform three pieces: 1999’s The Argument, a dance set to Schumann’s Fünf Stücke im Volkston; 2011’s Festival Dance , set to Hummel’s Piano Trio No. 5 in E Major ; and A Wooden Tree , set to recorded music by the late Scottish songwriter Ivor Cutler. The latter, which compiles 14 of Cutler’s piec es, is the only one of the three with recorded music. Music for the first two will be performed by members of the Mark Morris Dance Group Music Ensemble.

The shows will take place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Tickets range from $35 to $60 for regu lar admission, and can be purchased at hop.dartmouth.edu.


From Tuesday to next Saturday, acclaimed filmmaker Werner Herzog will come to the Upper Valley as a Dartmouth Montgomery Fellow. The director, who’s responsible for many films, including Grizzly Man and Aguirre: The Wrath of God, will begin his residency with a conversation about his films and career. The event, which will be held at the Spaulding Auditorium at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, is free, but tickets are required. They can be picked up at the Hop box office, with a limit of two per person.

∎ This year’s “Great Directors” film series at Randolph’s Chandler Center for the Arts, which runs monthly, will begin with a screening of Woody Allen’s The Purple Rose of Cairo. The movie will be shown at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, following a 7 p.m. lecture by Vermont film historian Rick Winston. General admission tickets are $9, and can be purchased at the door or by calling 802-728-6464.


Susan Gabriel, a vocalist and flautist, will be the main event at tonight’s “Gettin’Bumpy Back2School” gathering at the Norman Williams Public Library in Woodstock. With a backing band of local musicians, Gabriel will perform originals, as well as covers of pop, jazz and blues songs. That begins at 6 p.m. At 4 p.m., the ZP Songwriter’s Band will perform original raps and other tunes. The family-friendly event is free.


Helen Mirren’s most recent turn as Queen Elizabeth II, in the play The Audience, will be broadcast to Woodstock from London as part of National Theatre Live tonight. The show will play out on the screen in the Woodstock Town Hall Theatre, starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 for general admission, and can be purchased from pentanglearts.org.

Bar and Club Circuit

Guitarist and cofounder of the Blues Project, Danny Kalb, will perform at The Flying Goose in New London tonight. Music begins at 8 p.m.

∎ The Sunapee Community Coffee House will welcome Mandeville & Richards, a folk duo from Massachussets, as its first performer of the fall season. The show is on Friday, and begins at 7 p.m.

∎ Boston-based Irish musicians, Patty & Paul, will play at One Mile West in Sunapee on Friday and Saturday. Music begins at 9 p.m. At 8 p.m. on Wednesday, the restaurant will welcome local singer-songwriter Brooks Hubbard.

∎ The Conniption Fits will bring their brand of rock to the Lebanon Salt hill Pub on Friday. The 21-and-over show will begin at 9 p.m.

∎ Arthur James will perform tonight at the Three Guys Basement BBQ in Hanover. Music starts at 7 p.m.

∎ Frydaddy front man Carlos Ocasio will play a solo set at Jesse’s in Hanover on Friday. Music starts at 5 p.m.

∎ Tonight, Hanover’s Canoe Club will bring in La Java, an Upper Valley duo focusing on waltzes, movie themes, French cabaret and American jazz. On Friday, the restaurant will host guitarist Phil Singer, and then Randall Mullen on Saturday. Susan Gabriel and David Westphalen will play on Sunday, Billy Rosen and Steve Ellis will perform Tuesday and Cyn Barrette and Alki Steriopoulis will play Wednesday. All music begins at 7 p.m.

∎ The Elmores will perform at Fairlee’s Lake Morey resort at 8:30 p.m. Friday. The next night at the same time, The Moores will take the Steamboat Lounge stage.

∎ The John Lackard Blues Band will perform at Hartland’s Skunk Hollow Tavern on Friday, starting at 9 p.m.

∎ Wizards Gizzards will perform at the Seven Barrel Brewery in Lebanon, starting at 9 p.m. on Friday.

∎ Nashville recording artist Clay Canfield brings his talents to the River Stones Tavern in Quechee on Fridays and Saturdays, starting at 8 p.m. He also performs at Bentleys Restaurant in Woodstock on Sundays, beginning at 7 p.m.

Open Mics

Salt hill Pub in Hanover runs an open mic, hosted by Chad Gibbs, on Mondays at 9 p.m.

∎ At Salt hill in Lebanon, Brian Warren and Seth Barbiero will host an open mic tonight starting at 8.

∎ Brian Warren also hosts an open mic at Bentleys Restaurant in Woodstock. It’s on Mondays, starting at 8:30 p.m.

∎ Bradford’s Colatina Exit hosts an open mic on Tuesdays starting at 8 p.m.

∎ The Seven Barrel Brewery in West Lebanon runs an open mic on Wednesdays, beginning at 8 p.m.

∎ Gregory Brown hosts an open mic at Hartland’s Skunk Hollow Tavern, beginning at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Jon Wolper can be reached at jwolper@vnews.com or 603-727-3242. Highlights can be sent to Highlights@vnews.com.