Artist Spotlight, Asia, Classical, Middle East, Performances & Events, world music »

A Joyous Evening with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble

Posted August 22, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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I feel honored to have hosted the fabulous show last night of Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble at the Hollywood Bowl, part of the KCRW World Festival Series this summer. The performance exceeded my highest expectations. The Silk Road Ensemble is a musical United Nations, with the renowned cellist working with musicians from China, India, Japan, Syria, Iran, Russia, Spain, Central Asia and …

Artist Spotlight, brazilian music, Classical, Jazz, Music History, Performances & Events »

Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vernon Duke: Dual (Composer) Personalities

Posted August 15, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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I was at the Hollywood Bowl last Saturday night for the big “An Olympic Carnival – Sergio Mendes & 50 Years of Brasil ’66” show, which opened with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra playing Brazilian classics. It was a great program–beautifully conducted by Thomas Wilkins, with fantastic guest dancers and singers, plus a spectacular fireworks finale.
The show started with “Aquarela do Brasil,” Ary Barroso‘s 1939 classic, a Brazilian musical …

Artist Spotlight, Classical, Performances & Events, world music »

Yo-Yo Ma & the Silk Road Ensemble Perform at the Hollywood Bowl on August 21st

Posted August 8, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma are performing on Sunday, August 21, at the Hollywood Bowl as part of KCRW’s long-running World Festival series. I’m definitely going. In fact, I’ll be hosting the show that evening! Hope to see you there.
I first got to know Yo-Yo Ma from his exquisite recordings of Bach’s six solo cello suites. His tone, articulation, and fluid expression brought out the beauty …

Artist Spotlight, music phenomena, Performances & Events »

Ludovico Einaudi & Greenpeace Team Up for Arctic Concert: Amazing!

Posted June 27, 2016 by | 1 Comment
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I’ve been a fan of composer/pianist Ludovico Einaudi ever since I first heard his stunning album Divenire in 2008.  Actually, I liked his kora-piano duet album Diario Mali with kora player Ballaké Sissoko, which came out before that in 2006. He is a big star now, with fans around the world, and is busy scoring movie soundtracks and commercials as well.
Einaudi comes from a prominent Italian family. His …

Jazz, Latin, Performances & Events »

Upcoming Music Events with a Latin Twist

Posted June 1, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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Regular listeners of KCRW probably already know about the station’s “Summer Nights” events – featuring an abundance of free performances throughout the summer all over L.A. Those are sure to draw crowds, but I’d like to highlight some other events–shows with a latin twist and great for dancing. Thanks to my peripatetic Cuban friend, journalist, and dance pro Humberto Capiro, I’m reminded of these events you salseros …

Artist Spotlight, Classical, Performances & Events »

Eric Whitacre, Choral Composer, Returns to LA

Posted May 25, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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Eric Whitacre writes choral music that would make anybody a believer, including those who think classical music is stuffy and overly formal. His music is levitational, rising and floating, transporting you into another dimension. When I opened the shrink wrap on his CD Cloudburst years ago, I initially thought, “Yawn, here comes another boring choir album.” A minute or two later, I was blown away. So much …

Interviews, Latin, Music History, Performances & Events, Rhythm Planet Music Show, world music »

Show #159: Betto Arcos & the Music of Colombia

Posted May 20, 2016 by | 1 Comment
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I’ve learned a lot from my friend and musical colleague Betto Arcos over the years, and yesterday I learned even more. This time the subject was the music of Colombia, from which he’d recently returned.
Betto, like me, is a world music cheerleader and has been for decades. First and foremost a fan of world music, he has hosted innumerable shows on KCSN and KPFK. Most recently, …

Asia, Performances & Events, world music »

China Disabled People’s Performing Art Troupe: Amazing

Posted May 11, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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I came across a video recently on Facebook that captivated me. As it turned out, my friend who shared the video didn’t know anything about the group, but she liked what she saw. It depicted a big production, and at first I thought it may have been the Shen Yun troupe, the Falun Gong-affiliated group that relentlessly promotes its huge shows in the U.S. and elsewhere. It …

Artist Spotlight, Blues, French, Performances & Events, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Lisa Simone Headlines at the Olympia in Paris This Thursday, April 14

Posted April 11, 2016 by | 3 Comments
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It’s been said that the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. Lisa Simone (b. 1962) is now following her mom’s footsteps by playing in the famous Olympia Hall in Paris this Thursday. It is kind of France’s Carnegie Hall for popular music. All the greats have performed there, including Umm Kulthum, Yves Montand, Dalida, Edith Piaf, Marlene Dietrich, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles…and …

Artist Spotlight, Blues, Latin, music phenomena, Performances & Events »

The Rolling Stones in Cuba: Better for the Oldies than the Youth?

Posted March 28, 2016 by | 13 Comments
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The thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations is finally happening, and I am glad and grateful for it.
On the musical front, I heard NPR’s recent story on the Stones’ free concert in Havana before hundreds of thousands. Apparently only the older people will know the band; many of the younger folk interviewed had never heard of them. It isn’t surprising, given the embargo as well as limited …

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