Free Sunset Concerts at the Skirball

Jul 05, 2010 by Lisa Newton

Billed as “Celebrating Musical Traditions from Around the Globe,” this year’s annual summer Sunset Concert Series at the Skirball Cultural Center begins on July 22nd at 8:00pm, with a concert by Parno Graszt, whose music is “synonymous with authentic Hungarian Gypsy folk music.”

“For more than twenty years, this lively group of eight musicians has shared their soulful—and danceable!—musical traditions of the Romani people. Don’t miss seeing them perform using a mind-boggling array of instruments, including guitars, double bass, tambura, accordion, spoons, water cans, and milk churns.”

This is the opening concert for this year’s summer series at the Skirball. On each Thursdays over the next two months, the Skirball will be hosting a total of six free concerts, each with a unique sound. Who’s coming?

I’m so glad you asked:

July 29th: Natacha Atlas – is a North African and Arabic influenced musician who incorporates western electronic beats, French chansons, and UK pop sounds that have been thrilling audiences worldwide since the 1990s. Known for her work with Transglobal Underground, her ecstatic vocals commingle with multi-ethnic music for an unforgettable sound experience.

August 5th: Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys – A multiple Grammy Award-nominated band, Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys share irresistibly danceable and heartfelt performances of Cajun French music from the backwaters of southwestern Louisiana. This five-piece band combines an uncompromising respect for tradition with a forward-looking vision.

August 12th: La Excelencia – With their L.A. debut, the revolutionary salsa ambassadors, La Excelencia, break the mold of traditional salsa, while staying true to their roots. Combining social consciousness with infectious rhythms, this sizzling twelve-piece orchestra represents the new generation of salsa dura, infusing the genre with a modern vitality.

August 19th: Jews on Vinyl Revue – The Skirball scores on the “cool” meter again by featuring the L.A. debut of the intergenerational collaboration of young local musicians and musical legends which features international singing star, Hedva Amrani, including a rare appearance of visionary jazz pioneers cellist Fred Katz, and Sol Zim (the "Tom Jones" of cantorial music). Backed by a house band led by L.A. guitarist David Green, this evening of song is not to be missed!

August 26th: Kenge Kenge – In another stunning California debut, Kenge Kenge will be playing their joyous high-energy dance music with pulsing beats. This eleven-piece Kenyan band uses traditional and hand-crafted instruments, like the the orutu (one-stringed fiddle), and the nyangile (gong), to create a strikingly contemporary sound featuring dense textures of rhythm and chant. While this marks Kenge Kenge’s premiere U.S. tour, audiences will be familiar with the group from their "Obama for Change" video, which was a YouTube sensation.

All of the concerts are free, but if you drive there, parking is $5.00 per car carrying three or more people; otherwise the parking fee is $10.00 per car (cash only). A better –and cheaper–option might be to take the Metro Rapid 761, which drops you off right in front of the Skirball.

Be sure to get there early because all of the Skirball galleries except Noah’s Ark are free and open until 10:00pm during Sunset Concerts.

Lastly, the Sunset Concerts are a family event, so feel free to bring the kids.

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