Sound In Focus Recap: Baaba Maal + Classixx + Brazilian Girls

Check out this 360 video and immerse yourself in Saturday’s show.

This past Saturday featured the second week of our free summertime mini music festival, Sound in Focus, put on in conjunction with the Annenberg Foundation and taking place at the lovely Century Park.

KCRW DJ Aaron Byrd warms up the crowd

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After a DJ set from KCRW’s Aaron Byrd, the show kicked off with local favorites Classixx.  Playing a brand of electronic pop often described as “daytime disco,” they seemed the perfect musical first-course to the still-daylight-saturated evening’s fare.

For over a decade, Brazilian Girls have happily confounded listeners with a truly multitudinous sound that incorporates things like Latin rhythms, French chanson, Euro electronic beats and New York No-Wave structures – often all in the same song!

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The band showed off tracks from throughout their discography, from their latest single, “The Critic,” to a crowd-pleasing finale of “Don’t Stop,” taken from their self-titled debut album.

Crowd Shot

They got the crowd moving, with just as much variety as their sound, inspiring proudly-nerdy herky-jerk moves, hipster head-nods, full-body hippie swirlings and all the rest.

As night fell, Senegalese singer Baaba Maal took the stage to transport us to yet another musical vista, this time informed by the sounds of West Africa.

Maal Crowd

One of his country’s (and continent’s) favorite sons, Maal has had a long, acclaimed career with over a dozen albums featuring his distinctive voice and powerful songs, and he played an array of selections for the appreciative crowd.

His soaring vocals were often matched by the killer percussionists he featured in his band, keeping the rhythms flowing, whether on songs inspired by traditional Senegalese music, those taking elements of reggae and Latin sounds, or with straight-ahead rock beats.

Baaba Maal tries out the VR experience in Annenberg's REFUGEE exhibit
Baaba Maal tries out the VR experience in Annenberg’s REFUGEE exhibit

Thematically he emphasized the need for love and understanding, a welcome message in the wake of international tragedies and, especially, to connect with the emotional exhibition on display at the Annenberg Space for Photography, titled “Refugee.”  (If you are joining us next Saturday for the Sound in Focus finale – and you should – make sure to check out the beautiful exhibition)

Check back later this week to watch video highlights and we’ll see you all at the final show this Saturday!