In a room at the recent Holiday Craft Show in The Monroe Center on the west side of Hoboken, local singer/guitarist Rob Nicholas performed atop a makeshift stage, singing love songs from his album “Rise.” His unfiltered passion was brewing alongside the coffee offered at D’s Soul Full Café stand. Like the strong aroma of a cup of Joe, his voice wafted throughout the different rooms, drawing craft-goers almost cartoonesquely to his stage and to the display of CDs set up before him.
Local musician Jennifer Lampert, orchestrator of the scene, understands the art of seduction. In order to connect people with musicians literally right next door, she has established A Music Market, a grassroots effort to present people with an easy setup to sample the songs of local artists and develop a palate for local music.
I think people don’t realize…how talented somebody who lives down the street from them can be.” – Jennifer Lampert
For now, A Music Market is somewhat akin to an unmixed track. All the elements are there – displays of CDs from local artists, listening stations, and live performances – but Lampert will tell you this is just the beginning for the market for local artists.
Inspiration and appreciation
A Music Market had its origins in A Music Space, Lambert’s Third Street venue designed to inspire and connect people to live music. In the small, intimate space flanked by two garages, talented musicians rehearse or teach creative seminars, sessions, and clinics, by appointment only.
For Lampert, it’s just as much about learning the music as learning about the life of a local musician and fostering an appreciation for “what it’s all about.”
“Most people think of music as huge, as in ‘are they on the radio?’ ” she explained. “But outside of the small percentage that are U2 or Van Halen…there are all kinds of talented musicians [in Hudson County] that make the world go ’round.”
Connecting local acts
She noted that Hoboken, in particular, has always had a big music scene, and performers receive a lot of hits on their individual websites. The problem is the lack of connectedness among all area performers. The mission, she realized, was to unite the work of local performers in one place.
Lampert got A Music Market on its feet in early December at the first of two Hoboken Holiday Craft Shows this month. She collected a sampling of CDs from 23 different local artists of all genres – many of whom had performed at A Music Space – and put them in makeshift displays, explaining her venture and playing requested songs for curious craft-fair goers. Throughout the weekend, she also featured live performances by local musicians.
At the end of the show, Lampert had sold 29 CDs, which was “a good sign that the concept would work,” she said. (All proceeds from the CDs go to the local musicians.)
Lampert also developed a webpage that can be accessed by going to A Music Space’s site www.amusicspace.com. There, residents can click on links to their favorite participating acts, and local performers can sign up to become involved with her venture.
From jazz to rock
For the second Hoboken Holiday Craft Show, later in December, she again featured display cases filled with local music spanning classical, rock, folk, blues, kids, jazz, and world genres. She also requested to be set up in the same room as D’s Soul Full Café, 918 Willow St., which prominently features the local arts through live music the first Saturday of every month and on its website, www.dssoulfullcafe.com.
Many of the talented acts Lampert features in A Music Market have performed at D’s Soul Full Café.
Among Lampert’s offerings at the second craft show were New York Philharmonic member Yulia Ziskel; “The Jimmy Hendrix of violin” Stratopheerius; violinist Sarah Jones; “East Meets West” performer Khaled; alternative rock favorite The Fave; blues artist Julian Peterson; world famous musician Karyn Kuhl, and folk act Davey and the Trainwreck, who have “a total Dylan edge.” The popular kids section included samplings by Fuzzy Lemons and Big Jeff.
For $10 to $15, the CDs, said Lampert, are “less than a drink in a bar,” and make the perfect gift.
“It’s like saying ‘look where I live and look who lives here,’” she said.
Expansion on the mind
Eventually, Lampert said, she would like to bring the number of featured artists involved to at least 100, and also to establish A Music Market in music-friendly stores, clubs, and festivals throughout town.
But this effort goes even beyond Hoboken.
As a Weehawken resident, Lampert has noticed the influx of musicians in town over the past five years, with several members and “stagehands galore” from The Phantom of the Opera moving into local neighborhoods.
Together with towns like Jersey City and Union City, she said, the total number of musicians in the area could exceed several hundred.
“Imagine once I get everyone I’m connected to here…it would be ridiculous,” she said.
For more information on Lampert, A Music Space, and a Music Market, call (201) 795-4300, e-mail email@example.com, or go to www.amusicspace.com. A Music Space is located at 503 Third St., Hoboken.