Israel Hagan and Stroke
October 20, 2010
Center for the Arts
72 S. Main Street
Israel Hagan and Stroke to Play Free Concert at the Center for the Arts Homer:
Keeping a band together in the competitive world of music is not an easy task. Keeping one together for thirty years would seem to be almost impossible. But Stroke, the rhythm and blues band from Syracuse led by Israel Hagan, is now in its thirtieth year and still going strong. The group will perform a free concert at the Center for the Arts in Homer on Thursday, October 20, at 7 p.m.
Hagan and Stroke have had their share of accolades through the years. He was named to the Syracuse Area Music Awards Hall of Fame in 2007, and won the organization's Best R&B Vocalist award four times. The group has also picked up three awards for Best R&B Instrumentalist and Best R&B Band. Stroke has appeared on Acoustic Café, Sound Check Live, and All American Jazz, and opened for Robert Cray, B. B. King, and Santana. The Sound Check Live show featuring Stroke was named for a Cable Ace Award.
Stroke's line up consists of Hagan on bass and vocals, Buke Babikian on drums, Joe Beccheria on guitar and Bill Barry on keyboards and vocals. What distinguishes this group from others is its vast collection of original material released over the years on albums, cassettes and CD's. Releases include "The Real Deal", "Accept No Substitutes", "Stay Together", "So Smooth", "Covered" and "Bedroom Funk".
Recently, Hagan wrote, produced, and recorded a solo album of nine original songs, on which he played all the instruments and provided all the vocals. Entitled "Balance," it is available on iTunes and cdbaby.com. He recently stated that some of the musicians he has played with in the band—it has had 13 in all since its founding in 1982—and some other Syracuse area musicians have had a large impact on his career. Hagan speaks fondly of Syracuse, saying he likes the fact "That my parents got to see my success right here in town. I like the fact that I grew up in the projects. A lot of people think that's a bad thing. I don't have that perspective. I like the many contacts and friendships I've made in this town. I like the fact that this city seems to love me. I love it, and it loves me right back."
Stroke's appearance at the Center for the Arts is free and open to the public and starts at 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 20. Sponsor for the Fall Season at the Center is the Cayuga Radio Group.