Rhythm Planet’s February Concert Picks

Our eclectic selections this month will hopefully entice you to venture out of your personal confines. Pick from a celebration of Leonard Bernstein’s music to a timely “mariachi opera,” or how about Bali’s premiere dance and music ensemble and Israel’s superstar singer Noa in a rare L.A. appearance? There’s also an opportunity to hear a superb local choral ensemble in the beautiful setting of The Basilica at the Historic Mission San Juan Capistrano.

Thursday, February 8 | Bill Charlap Trio with Cécile McLorin SalvantSomewhere: The Songs of Leonard Bernstein | The Broad Stage (Santa Monica)

Cécile McLorin Salvant (Photo: The Kurland Agency)

Grammy-nominated pianist Bill Charlap teams up with vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant to celebrate Leonard Bernstein’s centennial. Charlap is one smooth keyboard operator and a superb vocal accompanist, whereas Salvant is one of the finest new jazz vocalists to emerge on the scene and terrific in live performance. Salvant trained as both a jazz and classical singer in France, and her career has been on an ascent ever since her first Mack Avenue release in 2013. Rhythm Planet even recorded a special live set with her back then. She’s just won a Grammy for best jazz vocalist. Click HERE for tickets and more information.

Friday-Saturday, February 9-10 | De Angelis Vocal Ensemble – Hail, Bright Cecilia | Vallejo Drive Seventh-day Adventist Church (Glendale) and The Basilica at the Historic Mission San Juan Capistrano

Saint Cecilia, the patron saint of music, has been celebrated in classical works by Ralph Vaughan Williams and other composers such as George Frideric Handel. Here’s a chance to see a world-class vocal ensemble perform Handel’s The Ode for St. Cecilia on two nights, including one evening in the beautiful acoustic setting of The Basilica at the Historic Mission San Juan Capistrano. It should be a sumptuous musical experience. Click HERE for tickets and more information on the Friday Glendale performance. Click HERE for tickets and more information on the Saturday San Juan Capistrano evening.

Friday-Sunday, February 16-18 | Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán – Cruzar la Cara de la Luna (To Cross the Face of the Moon) | Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts (The Soraya) (Northridge)

Cruzar la Cara de la Luna (To Cross the Face of the Moon) featuring Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán. (Photo courtesy of Houston Grand Opera)

This “mariachi opera,”—created by the longtime former director of the Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, José “Pepe” Martínez and Broadway’s Leonard Foglia—tells the timely story of a Mexican family migrating to the United States in a journey of both sacrifice and loss. The work was originally commissioned by the Houston Grand Opera in 2010, and The Soraya now presents its Los Angeles premiere. With DACA and the debate over the border wall in our daily headlines, this cross-border story of two families covering three generations is even more relevant now, seven years after its Houston debut. Click HERE for tickets and more information.

Sunday, February 18 | Çudamani – BHUMI – Mother Earth | The Broad Stage (Santa Monica)

Members of the Çudamani ensemble (Photo courtesy of the World Festival of Sacred Music)

Çudamani, one of Bali’s most celebrated dance and music ensembles, returns to Los Angeles to perform in a small and intimate theater space perfect for such a production. The new production BHUMI—Mother Earth by the 25-member group celebrates the natural beauty of our planet and (IMHO) the concomitant need to stop destroying it. The musicians built the 7-toned (versus the typical 5-tone) gamelan orchestra that they play, and all artists hail from the village Pengosekan. Choose between a 2:00 p.m. family show (the group loves to perform for children) or the 7:00 p.m. full performance. Presented by the World Festival of Sacred Music. Click HERE for tickets and more information.

Sunday, February 18 | Noa | Luckman Fine Arts Complex at Cal State LA (East Los Angeles)

Singer-songwriter Achinoam Nini, better known as Noa, makes a rare appearance in Los Angeles. I first heard her back in 1994 on her debut international release on the Geffen label. Her musicians on the album included Pat Metheny’s pianist Lyle Mays as chief accompanist, and I was immediately smitten by her sound and talent. A superstar in Israel, Noa has performed with artists such as Sting, Quincy Jones, Andrea Bocelli, and more. It’s an unusual treat to have her on a U.S. tour and performing here in L.A. Though not a household name like David Broza, I would not be surprised if her show here sells out. Click HERE for tickets and more information.

Banner image of Noa courtesy of Luckman Fine Arts Complex.