March Concert Picks from Rhythm Planet

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The second half of March brings an eclectic array of terrific shows to L.A. and New York—from fiery flamenco and Afro-Cuban music, to a two-week fado festival, plus British singer Hollie Cook and a Renaissance choral masterpiece directed by Peter Sellars.

Thursday, March 15 | Andalusian Voices – “Tempo de Luz” (Tempo of Light) | Wilshire Ebell Theatre (Mid-city)

Legendary flamenco cante jondo singer Carmen Linares comes to Los Angeles for the first time thanks to Kala Koa Entertainment, which has brought us major stars in the past like Tomatito and Diego El Cigala. Tempo de Luz features the leading flamenco voices in Spain today and the program will explore the gypsy roots of flamenco as well as modern innovations. Linares will perform with singers Marina Heredia and Arcángel plus Ana Morales, former principal dancer of Ballet Flamenco de Andalucia.

If one evening of flamenco isn’t enough for you, a second show on Friday, March 16 will focus more on dance and features Rosario Montoya “La Farruca” among others. Del Fuego y La Memoria will take place at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood. Click HERE for tickets and information about both evenings.

Saturday, March 17 | Richard Bona & Mandekan Cubano | The Broad Stage (Santa Monica)

Richard Bona, the renowned Cameroonian singer and bassist, brings his Afro-Cuban group to The Broad Stage. Bona and Mandekan Cubano merge the sounds of Africa and Cuba in their music, and they were terrific at the Hollywood Bowl last summer in a tribute show to Quincy Jones. Bona started playing bass by learning Jaco Pastorius’s solo on Weather Report’s “Portrait of Tracy.” He eventually played with the Zawinul Syndicate (remember Joe Zawinul co-founded Weather Report and was always very picky about his bass players). Bona is now one of the best and most versatile electric bassists in the world. Click HERE for tickets and information.

Saturday-Sunday, March 17-18 | Los Angeles Master Chorale – Lagrime di San Pietro | Walt Disney Concert Hall (Downtown)

This promises to be a stunning production of Orlando di Lasso’s Renaissance masterpiece Lagrime di San Pietro (Tears of St. Peter), conducted by LAMC’s Grant Gershon and directed by the irrepressible Peter Sellars. The Lagrime was di Lasso’s very last work, and the composer poured everything he had into this 75 minute a cappella masterpiece. Click HERE for tickets and information.

March 23 – April 8 | Fado Festival NY | Various Locations (Newark & New York City)

Lucky for New Yorkers and New Jersey-ites, a big two-week festival of fado, Portugal’s musical treasure, comes to the east coast starting March 23. The festival will feature rising stars such as Ricardo Ribeiro and Antonio Zambujo, as well as legendary artists like Carlos do Carmo. Carmo has performed for decades and taught top fado singers like Mariza and Ana Moura. Shows take place at multiple locations, including Schimmel Center, Lincoln Center, New Jersey’s Sport Club Portugues, and NYC’s Town Hall. Click HERE for tickets and information.

I can’t make it to the festival, but I’ll plan to be there in spirit. I’ll put some Amália Rodrigues on the hi-fi (probably her masterpiece album Com Que Voz (With What Voice), drink a glass of vinho verde (Portuguese young white wine), and enjoy some bacalao (salted cod, the national dish that sustained the great maritime navigators traveling the seas).

Thursday, March 29 | Hollie Cook | Teragram Ballroom (MacArthur Park)

British singer Hollie Cook is a favorite of mine and many other DJ’s at KCRW. She began her career as a member of the U.K. punk outfit the Slits. I featured her debut solo album for a segment on PRI’s The World way back in 2012. Cook’s songs spin a sprightly reggae and ska feel with uplifting lyrics into an irresistible whole. She begins a six-city tour of the U.S. on March 21, and stops in Los Angeles on March 29. She should draw very appreciative and enthusiastic audiences along the way. When I first heard “Survive” from her new album Vessel of Love, I knew I had to have it right away. Like her other albums, it didn’t disappoint and every cut is great. Click HERE for tickets and information.

Banner image of “Tempo de Luz” by Alfred Mauve, courtesy of Kala Koa Entertainment