July-August 2007 

The Living Tradition Concert Series

by dennis roger reed

In the land of folk music concert series, a year or two is a highly regarded history. However, the Living Tradition concert series held in the Anaheim Downtown Community Center has reached the 100 show mark. These concerts, held on the third Saturday of each month, have featured the best in all things folk, and helped to foster the Southern California folk scene in a myriad of ways.

Read more: The Living Tradition Concert Series

July-August 2007

New World Flamenco Festival

La Flor de la Vida, August 10-19

By Chris Stuart

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There are few folk dances that blend passion and precision, energy and elegance, as well as flamenco.

Its origins are only dimly known, and there is debate over the very word. The dance appeared first in the Andalusian region of Spain in the sixteenth century during what is known as the Reconquest and quickly spread. The unique mélange of native Andalusian, Islamic, Sephardic, and Gypsy cultures, gives the dance its themes of loss, persecution, pride, as well as its characteristic rite of sexual tension.

The word flamenco might mean gypsy or perhaps a reference to the Flemish, the legendary home of the gypsies. In either case, the origins are distinctly folk oriented, the dance developing from the poorer strata of society. Over the past 500 years it has been alternately derided as an uncouth regional dance and hailed as the pinnacle of Iberian soul.

Now we have a unique opportunity to appreciate the very best in flamenco dance with the New World Flamenco Festival August 10-19 at the Irvine Barclay Theatre. The festival is titled La Flor de la Vida, The Prime of Life, and premieres three companies of young flamenco dancers who are among the very best currently performing in Spain.

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  July-August 2007

A Feast of Hawaiian Festivals

L.A.-Honolulu Round-Trip

By Audrey Coleman

The pitch was mid-range, the tone full, yet somehow fragile. It reminded me of a Native American flute, yet the sound had a unique, delicate quality I couldn't define. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that the breath was coming from the player's nose.

Mike Kalikolani Wong, maker of Hawaiian nose flutes, was one of several workshop leaders demonstrating traditional Hawaiian arts at the annual E Hula Mau Competition held Labor Day weekend. Visiting the canopied "Hawaiian Village" on the mall of the Long Beach Convention Center, I came upon Kalikolani chiseling holes into a small, dried, hollowed-out gourd. Moments later, he picked it up in the palm of his right hand and pressed it to his right nostril while blocking the other nostril with his left index finger. Then he made this marvelous music. He spent over a half an hour showing me the rudiments of nose flute technique and made an instrument for me to take home.

Cultural workshops and demonstrations add an important dimension to E Hula Mau, There is an exciting difference between attending an event purely as a spectator, wandering among performance stages and craft booths and having opportunities for meaningful encounters with cultural practitioners such as Mike Kalikolani Wong. This gives an event the quality of a folk life festival, even if it doesn't bear that name.

Read more: A Feast of Hawaiian Festivals

 

July-August 2007

SUMMERGRASS

by dennis roger reed

Southern California has a lot of bluegrass fans, but not nearly enough great bluegrass festivals. The San Diego Bluegrass Society decided to do something to rectify that, and Summergrass will be celebrating their fifth year in 2007. The festival runs from Friday August 24 to Sunday August 26. This year's festival has a theme of "Saluting the Military" and the headlining stars include the US Navy's bluegrass band, Country Current. Also billed this year are Bluegrass Etc., Fragment, John Reischman & the Jaybirds, Lost Coast, the Brombies, Uglum & Sons, the BladeRunners, Lighthouse, Virtual Strangers and Soledad Mountain Band. As part of this year's theme honoring the folks in the military, there will be discount tickets to those in the armed forces.

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July-August 2007

INTI-ILLIMANI CELEBRATES 40TH ANNIVERSARY AT FORD

By Audrey Colemaninti_illimanigrpstair-200.jpg

On the evening of July 13, the sweet melancholic yet life-affirming sounds of Andean panpipes and bamboo flutes will soar high above the Hollywood hills. Within two hours, these hallmarks of Latin American indigenous music will blend with over 20 other wind, string, and percussion instruments drawn from European, Native American, African, and Mestizo cultures. The occasion: the 40th anniversary concert of Inti-Illimani. The Ford Amphitheatre, an open-air, 1245-seat venue -- intimate compared to the neighboring Hollywood Bowl --  seems ideally suited to showcase the music of the acclaimed eight-member Chilean ensemble.

Read more: INTI-ILLIMANI CELEBRATES 40TH

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FORD STAGE TO SIZZLE, COLUMBIAN STYLE

By Audrey Coleman

Do you have plans yet for Sunday afternoon? How about an outdoor fiesta of Columbian music and dance? Slather on some sunscreen, bring your broad-brimmed straw hat, perhaps a fan to cool you down, and be ready to surrender to the hot rhythms of some of Columbia's most talented musicians. On August 5 at 3 p.m., the Ford Amphitheatre in Hollywood will host a Columbian Festival of Traditional, Contemporary, and Popular Music.

Read more: Colombian Festival