Have you been wondering who that wild-haired
man in the navy jacket with white polka dots could be? Perhaps
you spotted him at a photo shoot at the Prospect Park bandshell
on June 2 (left); or at the June 16 Celebrate Brooklyn concert
rubbing shoulders with headliners Los Lobos (center); or you’ve
seen him co-chair the Brooklyn Botanic Garden fundraiser "Passport
to Summer" on June 24 (right)?
The not-so-elusive man in the jacket is musician Dan Zanes, former front man of the ’80s roots rock band The Del Fuegos. The Cobble Hill-based rocker told GO Brooklyn that the jacket was a gift from his wife, Paula Grief, who discovered the daring wardrobe addition at a yard sale on Long Island.
Zanes’ focus of late is on delighting children - and parents struggling to maintain their pre-parent coolness - with his folk music CDs and concerts. On July 18, at 5 pm, Zanes and his entourage of Brooklyn musicians will mount the Prospect Park bandshell stage for a free "Dan Zanes & Friends Musical Picnic," as part of the Celebrate Brooklyn series.
"It will be a great show for us," said Zanes. "I’ll be there with my full band and my daughter, Anna, [age 9]. She plays the ukulele and will probably join us for ’Jump Up.’" Zanes says that the two women in his life, Anna and wife Paula, help him stay committed to entertaining audiences of all ages.
"I can’t do anything without Anna and my wife approving it," said Zanes with a laugh. "They’re hard critics."
Zanes said he harvests much of his international mix of songs, including rarely heard Arabic and West Indian tunes, from Brooklyn’s own eclectic community of musicians.
"I’ve learned so much about West Indian music living here in Brooklyn," said Zanes. "Just asking people about music that they grew up with and their parents grew up with you can get a lot of information very fast.
"Brooklyn is America now," said Zanes. "Everybody’s here. It’s a little world. It’s really something to be celebrated."
Zanes’ old fans have stayed faithful despite the change of musical gears.
"We do run into people who were Del Fuegos fans, maybe when they were in college, and now they have families of their own and here we are all together. That was a fun way to waste my youth, but this feels like what I’m best at in terms of music I’ve played in my life - 21st-century folk music.
"A rock band is like a street gang," said Zanes, "but this is more like a family."
This Sunday, you’ll recognize the reformed rocker on stage by his self-proclaimed, "fairly bold, colorful suit."
The bandshell is located at Prospect Park West and Ninth Street in Park Slope. Suggested admission is $3. For more information, call (718) 855-7882 ext. 45.
©2004 Community News Group
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