Houston Folk Singer Hand-Picked by Music Icon for New Compilation Album

Described by some as the Italian Bob Dylan, Houston musician Amanda Pascali, 22, has just been tapped by folk music icon Noel 'Paul' Stookey of Peter, Paul & Mary for his new album featuring social-change artists.


Pascali's unique breed of folk homages her roots. Before her Sicilian-decent father came to the United States as a refugee, he spent two years in a forced-labor camp for speaking out against the communist dictatorship in his native Romania. At a young age, Pascali started singing and playing the guitar so that she could use music to tell her family's diaspora story.

Last year, the young singer released her folksy and eclectic debut album, which includes songs in both Italian and English, and her career has since taken off. Her track on Stookey's Hope Risescollection — proceeds from which benefit the nonprofit Music to Life — is called "Over the Sea." It was written after she saw a documentary film about African migrants who risk their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean sea to get to Sicily.


Amanda Pascali for Houston CityBook's 2020 Music Portfolio


"This song is about setting out on a dangerous journey, not knowing whether you will make it to the other side. It's a song about being in so much danger that you risk your life for freedom," Pascali explains.

Throughout her career, she has performed benefit concerts in support of immigrant- and refugee-support organizations, and she spends her free time assisting ESL teachers facilitate language-learning through music. She intends to continue pushing boundaries and telling stories through her work. "I write songs about the truth," says Pascali, who was featured in CityBook's annual musicians portfolio earlier this year, "and the truth sometimes gets some people upset or angry or uncomfortable."

Featuring 14 other tracks by artists with diverse backgrounds and of many different genres, Hope Rises is the first major release by Music to Life, and can be streamed on Spotify, Apple and Amazon Music.

People + Places

SOUTH FLORIDA-BASED Italian shoe line Concetto Limone will make its Texas debut at a cocktail reception at Valobra Master Jewelers (2150 Westheimer Rd.) on Thursday, April 29 from 5-7pm. The evening of "All Things Italian" will transport guests immediately to the coast of southern Italian as they sip on Italian wines, Aperol Spritzes, Negronis and Limoncellos while feasting on an assortment of Italian hors d'oeuvres from Houston's beloved Tony's. Invited guests will have the first glance in Texas on the Concetto Limone line and the opportunity to purchase unisex styles on Thursday evening and all day Friday at a trunk show at Valobra.

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Pastries at Cafe Leonelli

CAFE LEONELLI IS now open inside the MFAH's Nancy and Rich Kinder Building, the stunning new wing that first opened in November.

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Abbie Preston Edmonson gives a special presentation this weekend

DESPITE SOME APRIL showers, there's still plenty of fun to be had! From art-centric and Earth Day activities to family-friendly fests, check out a rundown of the weekend's best bets.

LEARN FROM AN ARTIST Tune in tonight for an hour-long talk by ceramicist and Houston Center for Contemporary Craft resident artist Abbie Preston Edmonson about her creative process. She'll give a virtual presentation about her work and a special demonstration in her studio space.

Brennen's exec chef Joey Chavez (photo by Kimberly Park)

TAKE A VIRTUAL PAINTING LESSON OR COOKING CLASS Be inspired by the great state of Texas during a virtual painting lesson hosted by Honey Art Cafe on Friday night. For only $20, stream a two-hour virtual lesson and make a series of stylized mini paintings inspired by West Texas and Big Bend National Park. Honey Art Cafe also has supply kits available for purchase for beginners or artists low on supplies.

And if painting isn't quite your speed, see what you can cook up in the kitchen! Brennen's exec chef Joey Chavez leads a "date night" cooking lesson for couples on Friday at 6:30pm. Hosted at the restaurant, the socially distanced demonstration, which costs $150, includes a reception, followed by an interactive demonstration and seated dinner.

CELEBRATE EARTH DAY! Join the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center from 10am-4pm on Saturday for a fun- and information-filled day! Explore informative booths, nature hikes, fun displays in the Discovery Room, and Earth-friendly take-home activities. Or join Discovery Green on Sunday from 12-5pm, when the park will screen a series of short films about Houston's environment, host a panel about February's freeze, and showcase a live painting demo by local artists working on murals to decorate the park.

GO ON AN OUT-OF-THIS WORLD ADVENTURE Fifty-one years ago, the Apollo 13 crew splashed down safely back on Earth after their famously harrowing mission to the moon and back. Space Center Houston is celebrating that anniversary on Saturday, hosting two livestreamed panel discussions with current NASA experts as well as Apollo-era legends.And now through May 2, local NASA and Apollo 13 fans can check out the center's new spring exhibition, titled "Apollo: When We Went to the Moon," that looks at the legacy of the Apollo era through the lens of the engineers and astronauts who actually lived the experience.

FIND FUN AT THE INTERNATIONAL KIDS FEST Traders Village hosts Kids Fest on Sunday, with games, activities, interactive shows, live music, acrobats, magicians, clowns and more. Parking is $5, but the event itself is free, sure to keep the whole family entertained from 12-4pm.

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