• FEATURE ARTICLE

    Boots of Spanish Leather: Germán López in Concert

    Raitt Recital Hall, Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA

    By Ross Altman, PhD

    German LopezPart 1 – Germán López in concert at Pepperdine University

    The Spanish Civil War began eighty years ago last July 17, so Spain has been much on my mind this year. The Abraham Lincoln Brigade volunteers who sacrificed their lives to save the Spanish Republic from fascism made it an American war; 3,000 went to Spain and only 1500 came home—the bravest of the brave, Pete Seeger called them. The Lincoln Brigade’s last surviving veteran—Delmer Berg—passed away this year in Modesto, California at the age of 100—Modesto’s only white member of the NAACP. Picasso created the mural Guernica–the greatest painting of the 20th Century—in response to the bombing of the Basque village of Guernica.

    Read more: BOOTS OF SPANISH LEATHER: GERMÁN LÓPEZ


    CD REVIEWS

    TITLE: THE BEAUTIFUL NOT YET

    ARTIST: CARRIE NEWCOMER

    LABEL: AVAILABLE LIGHT RECORDS

    RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 16, 2016

    By Jackie Morris

    Carrie.Newcomer.TBNY .AlbumPageProfound and poetic, Carrie Newcomer’s 16th album, The Beautiful Not Yet, soothes the soul as it stimulates the senses. Capturing the mystery and miracle in the everyday, the songs are at once spiritual and down to earth, filled with wisdom and heart.

    If you simply read the lyrics on her website, you’ll find the words read like poetry. But in truth, even if I didn’t understand a word of English, I would still think this is one beautiful album. The primary reason is Newcomer’s voice – that celebrated, rich contralto that is so luscious, warm and honest, so natural yet perfectly nuanced, that it makes you feel good just to listen to it. Additionally, The Beautiful Not Yet features an array of gorgeous harmonies and an exciting blend of traditional roots instrumentation (banjo, acoustic guitar and mandolin) and chamber music (cello, violin, and piano).

    Read more: CARRIE NEWCOMER - THE BEAUTIFUL NOT YET


    TITLE: WHAT THE HEART WANTS

    ARTIST: BRITTA LEE SHAIN

    LABEL: INDIGO DESERT QUEEN

    RELEASE DATE: 2016

    By Jackie Morris

    Britta Lee Shain - What the Heart WantsBritta Lee Shain’s second CD, What the Heart Wants, should come with a warning label: “This album may be addictive.” In truth, I cannot stop listening to it. Shain’s unique brand of cool, bluesy folk-rock is more than “that good.” It is compelling.

    The album was released in tandem with the publication of Shain’s new book, Seeing The Real You At Last: Life and Love on the Road with Bob Dylan, a personal memoir chronicling her time with the folk icon in the 1980s. (One of the songs is a co-write with him, another is a cover of one of his latter-day (1997) hits, and still another … or others … are about him.) But regardless of this intriguing liaison, I have to emphasize that these songs stand on their own. And then some.

    Read more: BRITTA LEE SHAIN - WHAT THE HEART WANTS


    COLUMN OF THE WEEK

    September-October 2016

    UKE EVENTS TO TOOT ABOUT

    By Audrey Coleman

    JACCC-smAs August gives way to September, this ukulele lady looks back fondly at special uke experiences and forward with gusto to upcoming events featuring Mighty Uke. A highlight in June was the Ukulele Expo held at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center in the heart of downtown L.A. It was largely organized by Jason Arimoto, musician, ukulele instructor and uke dealer at JACCC’s U-Space, along with musician-arranger-composer-producer and six-time Grammy winner Daniel Ho. Besides the now-traditional mass uke strumming session outside on the steaming plaza, the event offered some fascinating workshops.

    Read more: UKE EVENTS TO TOOT ABOUT

    BOOK REVIEW

    TITLE: 26 SONGS in 30 DAYS

    WOODY GUTHRIE'S Columbia River Songs

    and the Planned Promised Land in the Pacific Northwest

    AUTHORS: GREG VANDY WITH DANIEL PERSON

    PUBLICATION DATE: APRIL 12, 2016

    By Lenny Potash

    26 Songs in 30 DaysThere are no shortage of writings about and by Woody Guthrie but 26 Songs in 30 Days is a great contribution because it is a work focused on the relationship between the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and Woody and what this massive public works project meant to him as the country was coming out of the Great Depression and preparing for World War II.

    Read more: 26 SONGS in 30 DAYS - WOODY GUTHRIE'S COLUMBIA RIVER SONGS


    FILM AND THEATER REVIEW

    THE MUSIC OF STRANGERS

    YO YO MA AND THE SILK ROAD ENSEMBLE

    By Yatrika Shah-Rais

    The Music of Strangers“Every tradition is the result of successful invention… Human beings grow by being curious and receptive to what’s around them. A lot of people are scared of change, and sometimes there’s reason to be fearful. But if you can welcome change, you become fertile ground for development.”

    This is just one of the many insightful quotes from the movie The Music of Strangers: Yo Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble.

    Read more: THE MUSIC OF STRANGERS


    everything but ...

    RIP: Fred Hellerman

    (May 13, 1927 – September 1, 2016)

    Fred HellermanFred Hellerman (May 13, 1927 – September 1, 2016) was an American folk singer, guitarist, producer, and songwriter, primarily known as one of the original members of The Weavers, together with Pete Seeger, Lee Hays, and Ronnie Gilbert. He was also known for producing the record album Alice's Restaurant (1967) for Arlo Guthrie. He was born in Brooklyn, New York and educated at Brooklyn College.

    Read more: RIP: FRED HELLERMAN


    FULL CALENDAR

    MUSIC       DANCE

    TODAY'S CALENDAR 9/27/16


    MUSIC


    fwpick

    7:00pm TRACY NEWMAN / GARY STOCKDALE / ROBERT MORGAN FISHER / KAREN RONTOWSKI

    Coffee Gallery Backstage

    2029 N. Lake Ave., Altadena, CA 92675

    626-798-6236 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    7:30pm DOLLY PARTON

    Valley View Casino

    16300 Nyemii Pass Rd., Valley Center, CA. 92082


    fwpick

    7:30pm HOT CLUB OF NASHVILLE

    Printing Museum

    315 Torrance Blvd., Carson, CA 90745

    310-515-7166


    8:00pm MARY CHAPIN CARPENTER

    FOX Performing Arts Center

    3801 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside, CA 92501

    951-779-9800


    8:00pm ELIZABETH COOK / LEE HARVEY OSMOND / ROSES & CIGARETTES

    The Mint

    6010 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90035

    323-954-9630

    Presented by The Bluegrass Situation



    DANCE


    NO EVENTS TODAY


    RECURRING EVENTS


    MUSIC


    5:30pm - 8:30pm DOWNEY FOLK MUSIC JAM

    fourth Tuesday

    Barbara J. Riley Community & Senior Center

    7810 Quill Drive, Downey, CA 90242

    562-904-7223

    Bea & Jim Romano 562-861-7049 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    6:30pm - 9:00pm SDBS OPEN MIC, PICKUP BANDS, FEATURED BAND

    fourth Tuesday

    Boll Weevil Restaurant (Clairemont Mesa)

    9330 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., San Diego, CA

    858- 571-6225

    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    7:00pm - 9:30pm JC HYKE'S SONGWRITERS SERENADE

    every Tuesday

    Matt Denny's Ale House Restaurant & Bar

    145 E. Huntington Dr, Arcadia, CA 91006


    7:00pm BLUEGRASS SOUP JAM

    every Tuesday

    Convert-A-Tape

    2420 Gundry Ave., Signal Hill , CA 90755

    Don Rowan 562-883-0573 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    8:00pm - 11:00pm TIMMY NOLAN TRADITIONAL IRISH MUSIC SESSION

    every Tuesday

    Timmy Nolan's Tavern and Grill

    10111 Riverside Dr., Toluca Lake, CA 91602

    818-985-3359

    Dan Conroy This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    DANCE


    11:15am - 12:35pm SANTA MONICA CITY COLLEGE ISRAELI DANCING

    every Thursday

    Santa Monica College Clocktower

    1900 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA


    6:00pm - 8:45pm CERRITOS FOLK DANCERS

    every Tuesday

    Cerritos Senior Center

    12340 South St., Cerritos, CA

    Wen Chiang 626-303-2761 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    6:45pm - 9:30pm ZYDECO DANCING AT TIO LEO'S

    every Tuesday

    Tio Leo's Mexican Resturant

    5302 Napa St., San Diego, CA

    Ronda 760-774-8023 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    7:30pm - 9:30pm SANTA BARBARA ENGLISH COUNTRY DANCE

    every Tuesday

    First Presbyterian Church of Santa Barbara

    21 E. Constance Ave., Santa Barbara, CA

    Gary Shapiro 805-699-5101 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    7:30pm - 11:00pm CALTECH FOLK DANCERS

    every Tuesday

    Caltech Dabney Lounge

    1200 E California Blvd, Pasadena, CA

    Nancy Milligan 626-797-5157 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    7:30pm - 10:30pm TUESDAY GYPSIES - INTERNATIONAL

    every Tuesday

    Culver City Masonic Lodge

    9635 Venice Blvd., Culver City, CA

    Marian and Jim Fogle This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    7:30pm - 9:30pm CABRILLO INTERNATIONAL FOLK DANCERS

    every Tuesday

    Balboa Park Club

    2150 Pan American Plaza, San Diego, CA

    Georgina Sham 858-459-1336 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    7:30pm WESTSIDE JCC ISRAELI FOLK DANCING

    every Tuesday

    Westside JCC

    5870 W. Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

    James Zimmer 310-284-3638 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    7:30pm MORETON BAY FIG MORRIS

    every Tuesday

    War Memorial Hall, Balboa Park

    3325 Zoo Drive, San Diego, CA


ARTIST: VARIOUS

TITLE: AMY HANAIALI’I AND SLACK KEY MASTERS OF HAWAII

LABEL: PETERSON PRODUCTIONS

RELEASE: 2010

By Audrey Coleman

Amy_HanaialiiI took one look at the cover of this CD and concluded that it was a shoe-in for the 2011 Grammy for Best Hawaiian Music Album. After five years of awarding it to compilations of slack key guitar music, the mucky-mucks could enjoy a refreshing twist on their love affair with slack key. Celebrated vocalist, Amy Hanaiali’i, who has lost out to slack key at the Grammies more than once, had teamed up with five masters of the beloved guitar tradition: Cyril Pahinui, Sonny Lim, Dennis Kamakahi, Jeff Peterson, and Chino Montero. It’s a dazzling collaboration and thoroughly enjoyable listening. Did it win the Grammy? No! This year the award for Best Hawaiian album went to a vocalist of more limited gifts than Amy and no hint of slack key guitar on the cover. Go figure! We move on...

Although it was recorded in a studio, Amy Hanaiali’i and Slack Key Masters of Hawaii has the flavor of a live concert. The musicians each get a turn being center stage, accompanying Amy, in some cases singing with her or playing slack key with one another. Not only do they display their gifts as musicians; in some cases, they showcase their own compositions.

ARTIST: VARIOUS

TITLE: AMY HANAIALI’I AND SLACK KEY MASTERS OF HAWAII

LABEL: PETERSON PRODUCTIONS

RELEASE: 2010

By Audrey Coleman

Amy_HanaialiiI took one look at the cover of this CD and concluded that it was a shoe-in for the 2011 Grammy for Best Hawaiian Music Album. After five years of awarding it to compilations of slack key guitar music, the mucky-mucks could enjoy a refreshing twist on their love affair with slack key. Celebrated vocalist, Amy Hanaiali’i, who has lost out to slack key at the Grammies more than once, had teamed up with five masters of the beloved guitar tradition: Cyril Pahinui, Sonny Lim, Dennis Kamakahi, Jeff Peterson, and Chino Montero. It’s a dazzling collaboration and thoroughly enjoyable listening. Did it win the Grammy? No! This year the award for Best Hawaiian album went to a vocalist of more limited gifts than Amy and no hint of slack key guitar on the cover. Go figure! We move on...

Although it was recorded in a studio, Amy Hanaiali’i and Slack Key Masters of Hawaii has the flavor of a live concert. The musicians each get a turn being center stage, accompanying Amy, in some cases singing with her or playing slack key with one another. Not only do they display their gifts as musicians; in some cases, they showcase their own compositions.

Prolific Dennis Kamakahi sings his delightful country-style E Mau Ke Aloha in Hawaiian and English, accompanying himself on guitar with room for a guitar solo by Chino Montero. Kamakahi shines as a slack key guitarist and vocalist, his deep rich voice combining with Amy’s in a poignant song composed by Queen Kapi’olani in the late 19th century Ipo Lei Manu.

Cyril Pahinui is keeper of the slack key tradition that his father, Gabby “Pops” Pahinui revitalized and popularized. Cyril shares vocals and plays guitar in a trademark Pahinui number, Hi’ilawe with Jeff Peterson adding his own slack key sound to enrich the accompaniment. Pahinui does a lively interpretation of Miloli’i on vocals and guitar with Sonny Lim spicing up the song with well-chosen steel guitar enhancements.

Amy sings her own composition Keawa Nui with loving attention to the art of falsetto that makes it clear why the mantles of falsetto greats Lena Machado and recently-passed Genoa Keawe have easily remained on her shoulders. A ukulele solo by Jeff Peterson kicks it up a notch.

Chino Montero gets to demonstrate his male falsetto singing and solid slack key technique in Makee ‘Ailana. Dennis Kamakahi plays one of the two slack key solos in this number, enlivening it with a contrasting style. I confess I have not followed Montero’s career as I have the other participants in this album, but I think he performs at a level that is harmonious with his peers.

An all-instrumental number, Vaqueros, brings together composer Sonny Lim with Montero and Jeff Peterson for a flamenco-flavored hats-off to the cowboys who brought the guitar to Hawaii.

I would be negligent if I did not mention the way Jeff Peterson’s talents permeate this album. No fewer than six of the sixteen cuts feature his compositions. My favorite is Pukana La on which he plays solo. He creates an otherworldly feeling with unusual chord progressions, sweet-voiced picking, and sensitive rubato. We also hear Peterson’s eclectic musicianship on eleven of the numbers, mainly slack key but also including classical guitar on Vaqueros and ukulele in Keawa Nui.

In the end, this is still Amy’s album. She opens with Fields of Gold by Sting, bringing to it heartrending nuances. Nevertheless, I find the song a strange choice for an album in which she and her friends otherwise celebrate Hawaiian culture and landscape. The mention of “fields of barley” made me wince despite the added Hawaiian lyrics. Do they even grow barley in Hawaii? Shouldn’t it be “through ponds of taro (traditional Hawaiian staple crop) or to use the old Hawaiian word kalo? Hmmm. The trouble is those ponds have you thigh deep in mud. I’ve been there. As we trudge through the sludge-ponds of kalo? Definitely not as romantic as barley fields. Enough! It’s a great album!

Audrey Coleman is a journalist, educator, and passionate explorer of traditional and world music.