Palaver Strings, a 13-person, musician-led string orchestra and nonprofit based in Portland, will perform a music and storytelling program Nov. 9 at the Criterion PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CRITERION

Concert celebrates immigrant communities

BAR HARBOR — Portland-based Palaver Strings will perform “Welcome Home,” a program which celebrates the vitality of Maine’s immigrant communities through music and storytelling, Saturday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. at the Criterion Theatre.

Created in partnership with the Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center and Portland Ovations, “Welcome Home” has the goal of “sharing with rural Maine communities the experiences of new immigrant families, celebrating Maine’s cultural diversity and encouraging audiences to reflect on their own heritage and on how to make Maine a welcoming and inclusive community for all,” according to a statement from the group.

Welcome Home includes three segments, each centered around a significant Maine immigrant and/or diaspora community: Franco-American, Iraqi and Burundian.

Each segment features storytelling and musical performances by guest artists from these communities, including original songs and music. Guest artists include Iraqi speaker and poet Kifah Abdulla, Iraqi oud player Jawad Nageeb, Burundian singer Maisha Mustafa, Guinean percussionist Namory Keita, Burundian speaker Alain Igiraneza, Franco-America author Rhea Coté Robbins, Franco-American trad musicians Alex Wilder and Jaige Trudell and director Marty Pottenger.

“As we tour with this program around Maine, we will celebrate Maine’s cultural diversity, reflect on our own histories, and create space for dialogue between performers and listeners from different backgrounds,” said Maya French, Palaver’s managing director and co-artistic director.

“We believe deep listening and empathy for unfamiliar experiences is an important part of making Maine a welcoming and inclusive home for everyone.”

Palaver Strings is a 13-person, musician-led string orchestra and nonprofit whose mission is rooted in community and creative programming. Through performance, educational workshops, and community engagement initiatives, Palaver reaches diverse audiences throughout New England and beyond. Recent projects include a concert at the Kennedy Center and songwriting workshops for new mothers and LGBTQ seniors. With the support of local partner organizations, Palaver has recently launched the Palaver Music Center (PMC), a community music school in Portland.

“We feel honored to be part of this statewide performance project. We believe that art like this can illuminate the value in diversity, inclusion and what it means to be a Mainer today,” said Amy Roeder, executive director of the Criterion Theatre.

Tickets start at $15 and can be purchased online at or at the theater. Contact 947-9333.


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