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Queens’ best music acts tune up for annual battle of the boros

The Astoria jazz and world music band known as Nicole Zuraitis Group is one of the seven borough acts to participate in this year's Battle of the Boroughs contest. Photo courtesy Battle of the Boroughs
TimesLedger Newspapers

Queens will look to regain its title in the annual Battle of the Boroughs this week when seven area bands compete for the chance to take home the crown.

The fourth annual Battle of the Boroughs continues with the next chapter of the musical feud Friday when R&B legend Nona Hendryx opens up the Queens event, featuring groups from Ridgewood, Astoria and St. Albans.

Queens took home the top prize for the event’s first two years, but lost to Brooklyn for the first time in 2012. This year, musical groups from throughout the borough will look to reclaim victory in the ongoing event.

Queens bands include the indie-pop Gentleman Brawlers of Ridgewood, funk band Sean Nowell and the Kung-Fu Masters of Astoria, Mexican folk group Radio Jarocho of Astoria, jazz band Nicole Zuraitis Group of Astoria, rock band New Blues Maki of Astoria, soul group The Dirty Gems of Astoria and female R&B artist Cavella Nell Romeo of St. Albans.

The Battle of the Boroughs features bands from all five boroughs, chosen from hundreds of submissions from country, gospel and experimental rock to a Latin string quartet and soul funk jazz. The shows kicked off Feb. 1 when the Brooklyn bands faced off and will go through the summer, when the ultimate showdown occurs June 21.

Each event will be emceed by the award-winning host of radio station WQXR, Terrance McKnight.

“I am wowed by the caliber of talent the battle attracts,” McKnight said. “The dedication and inventiveness of these musicians is the very lifeblood of the New York City artistic scene. It’s a thrill for me to be on stage with these undiscovered but potent artists as they show off their talents to a broad audience for the first time.”

The winner will be given the opportunity to perform at the Apollo Theater in Harlem as a guest artist at its signature series, Amateur Night. They will also win an exclusive concert at the Jerome L. Greene Performance Space in Manhattan at 44 Charlton St. with a live video webcast, a professional recording session and more.

Tickets for the events are on sale at wnyc.org/thegreenespace.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at pcorso@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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