Stew & The Negro Problem
Date and Time
Tuesday, February 12th, 2013 at 6:30pm
First there was the Negro Problem, a band that rose through the ranks of the Los Angeles indie scene in the late ’90s and early aughts. Deemed “L.A.’s best band” by the L.A. Weekly in 1992, the unit — propelled by Stew and Heidi Rodewald — recorded three critically acclaimed albums: Post Minstrel Syndrome (1997), Joys & Concerns (1999) and 2002’s Welcome Back. The New York Times cited the last as “perhaps the finest collection of songs an American songwriter has come up with this year.”
When Stew and Heidi began work on Passing Strange, the theater production that played on Broadway and went on to become a Tony Award winner for “Best Book of a Musical” and a Spike Lee-directed film, The Negro Problem was put on hold. However, the band returned to sell out six nights at St Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn, performing primarily new material, which would become 2011’s critically acclaimed Making It.
The St Ann’s shows were followed up in 2010 with four shows commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) of original songs about Brooklyn called “Brooklyn Omnibus.” This song cycle concept has inspired other cities to commission their own “Omnibus.” In 2012 Stew & The Negro Problem performed original song cycles in Los Angeles, Iowa City and Chicago, with future plans for Detroit and several other cities in the United States as well as Canada and possibly Europe.
In 2013 Stew & The Negro Problem will be releasing the album of “Brooklyn Omnibus” and will be touring in various ensembles doing custom song cycles, the songs from Passing Strange as well as songs from their catalog.