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The Boy from Ipanema: Caetano Veloso

Posted September 14, 2014 by | 0 Comments

Brazilian superstar Caetano Veloso was actually born in the small Bahian town of Santo Amaro da Purificaçao. His mother died there a few years back at the age of 105. Hopefully Caetano and his kid sister Maria Bethânia will inherit her genes for longevity.
I reviewed his autobiography Verdade Tropical (Tropical Truth) for the LA Times Book Review when the English version came out in 2002 (click …

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Chappottin: Legendary Cuban Band Plays LA

Posted July 29, 2014 by | 2 Comments

It’s an embarrassment of riches–of a good thing I mean!
Two weeks ago, the New York group Tipica Novel wove its Cuban charanga magic at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach. The group is celebrating their 50th birthday this year. Now we have another legendary Cuban group who is also celebrating its 50th birthday, Conjunto Chappottin y Sus Estrellas coming to Skirball Cultural Center this Thursday on …

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Moorish Grooves Come to LA

Posted July 22, 2014 by | 1 Comment
noura mint

It’s not every day, week, month or year that you get a concert of deep Mauritanian blues in Los Angeles. But that very thing happens Thursday at the Skirball Cultural Center at 8pm. For more details, click here. I remember another compelling Mauritanian singer, Dimi Mint Abba, was booked by the World Music Institute in New York City. That was around 20 years ago. …

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Stromae: Belgian Singer Takes Europe by Storm

Posted June 23, 2014 by | 0 Comments
stromae 1

A few months ago, my old friend Redha Hazourli sent me a video of a new Belgian musician named Stromae–an anagram for Maestro–singing a song, “Formidable” (translates to “great” in French) out on the streets during the early morning commute. He pretends to be drunk as he tells everybody, “Tu etait formidable,” (“You are wonderful”).  All this started when he observed a clochard (French …

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Billy Hart Quartet at The Blue Whale

Posted June 18, 2014 by | 0 Comments
BillyHartQuartet 2

I don’t often promote local appearances by visiting jazz superstars, but I’m going to make an exception. Billy Hart Quartet: Mark Turner (tenor), Ethan Iverson (piano), Ben Street (double bass), and Billy (drums) is a sensational and beautiful group. I can’t stop listening to the new ECM album, One is the Other. I mentioned it in a recent Rhythm Planet show as music that’s part …

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Pipa Player Wu Man

Posted June 16, 2014 by | 0 Comments
wu_man 2

Chinese born and U.S. based Wu Man has taken the pipa (a traditional Chinese lute) and brought it to concert stages around the world as well as introducing it into Western pop and other music styles. She was cited by the Los Angeles Times as “the artist most responsible for bringing the pipa to the Western World.”
The pipa (pronounced pee pah) is one of China’s oldest instruments. …

Featured, Headline, Latin, Music History, Performances & Events, Recollections & Rediscoveries, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #59: Brazilian Futebol & Music

Posted June 13, 2014 by | 0 Comments

I bought a caxirola the other day. This is the official noisemaker for the 2014 World Cup games hosted in Brazil. Alas, they’ve already been banned from the games because supposedly they can be hurled like missiles and could hurt somebody. Nonetheless, it’s time for World Cup! This week’s show celebrates Brazilian Futebol and its music.
I’ve been to Brazil numerous times. Once I went up to …

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Indian Music: Dhrupad

Posted May 21, 2014 by | 0 Comments

This Friday (5/23/14) at Occidental College’s Herrick Chapel, LA’s Music Circle hosted their final concert of their 2013-2014 season with the Gundecha Brothers. The Music Circle was founded in 1966 by Ravi Shankar and the late Harihar Rao. They present world class concerts of Indian classical music. The Gundecha Brothers (Umakant and Ramakant) are among the most celebrated of dhrupad vocalists today, recognized for their vocal range and praised …

African, Cape Verde, Featured, Headline, New Releases, Performances & Events, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #53: Music of Cape Verde (Rising Stars)

Posted May 2, 2014 by | 1 Comment

Last week we listened to “The Classics”; this week, we check out the newer acts that constantly refresh the Cape Verde music scene with new talent. Our “Rising Stars” edition begins with Sara Tavares, who was my favorite artist performing at the Kriol Jazz Festival in Praia, Santiago, Cape Verde. I loved her earlier album Balancê; after that she was off the scene with …

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Don’t Miss Cirque de Soleil’s Totem

Posted March 3, 2014 by | 0 Comments

Cirque de Soleil’s new production, Totem, is here in LA just 2 more weeks until March 16th; the familiar blue and yellow big tops are just north of the Santa Monica Pier as usual.
The new production is has a grandiose conception: the history of humankind from beginning to present. As usual there is a rapid sequence of amazing acts, trapeese, rings, clowns, acrobatics, and …

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