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From blues to Bollywood, Town Common concerts offer wide range of genres

by | Aug 4, 2022 | Featured, Featured: Features

When working to schedule performers for the annual Concerts on the Common series, Parks & Recreation Commission member Laura Hanson keeps in mind the changes to Hopkinton’s town charter in 2017, when wording about inclusivity was added.

This year’s concert lineup includes bands that appeal to a variety of music fans — including reggae, blues, swing, rock and show tunes — and the final Sunday performance at the Town Common features the return of a Bollywood band in a nod to the town’s large Indian population.

Din Check, which bills itself as New England’s premier Bollywood band, will close out the series on Aug. 28.

“I’m trying to be diverse in terms of the types of music to open people’s minds up to different kinds of music,” Hanson said. “I think that Din Check did that last year, and people had a really good time.”

Din Check, which translates to “sound check,” features songs written in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati and Punjabi. The band’s sets also include different genres and a combination of older and newer hits.

“We actually design the show, so we are able to bring out Bollywood music to everybody’s liking,” said band member Jolly Bhatia.

Din Check is no stranger to Hopkinton, having performed at the Hopkinton Center for the Arts earlier this summer and appearing at the Town Common last summer during an Indian Independence Day celebration.

“I was really happy with the turnout for Din Check,” Hanson said. “I didn’t know how it would go over, but it was a huge hit.”

Concerts on the Common also welcomes Jah Spirit, an African-reggae band, for the first time on Aug. 7. Jumpin’ Juba, a blues-inspired band, will play on Aug. 14. All concerts start at 5 p.m. and are free.

The Roy Scott Big Band opened this summer’s series. The Hopkinton Community Summer Band, Hot Acoustics and Electric Youth also performed in July.

Hanson finds the acts by talking to residents and fellow commissioners. She also has worked with agencies that help schedule bands.

“I’m always open to people contacting me if they know of interesting, diverse bands and different kinds of music,” she said.

The Sunday Concerts on the Common are popular among community members of all ages.

“There is a whole spectrum that come,” Hanson said. “There are a lot of people bringing their kids, and older folks love to come, too.”

Hanson recalled a swing band last year that inspired a couple in the audience to show their moves.

“[They were] doing this amazing swing dance just spontaneously,” she said.

The dancing is Hanson’s favorite part of the Concerts on the Common, especially if it includes children.

“Kids are spontaneously just dancing around,” Hanson said. “That just always warms my heart, because they will dance to anything if they like it.”

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