Rhythm Planet Recommends: Upcoming Shows to Catch

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January is quickly evanescing, but I wanted to point out a few terrific events that you won’t want to miss. There’s Cuban dance music, an intimate evening with a rock legend, Hawaiian slack-key masters, and more. Check out the listings below for details.

Friday, January 19 | Juan de Marcos and the Afro-Cuban All Stars with Harold López-Nussa Trio | CSUN Valley Performing Arts Center (Northridge)

Cuban bandleader and musician Juan de Marcos was a key force behind the highly unlikely (a.k.a. octogenarian musicians lost in obscurity) and very successful franchise, Buena Vista Social Club (BVSC), but he himself is less well-known. Before the BVSC, he co-founded the son group Sierra Maestra, named after the mountain range in Eastern Cuba. He’s bringing his 14-piece Afro-Cuban collective to CSUN, a school which has a well-respected music curriculum that has turned out many successful musicians. No doubt many of them will be there for an evening that will keep the audience on its feet dancing. Cuban pianist Harold López-Nussa opens the show. Click HERE for tickets and more information.

Saturday, January 20 | Yemen Blues | Luckman Fine Arts Complex (East L.A.)

A group comprised of musicians from New York City, Uruguay, and Tel Aviv, Yemen Blues combines Yemenite, African, blues, funk and jazz styles into a synergistic musical brew. It’s a heady mix that underlines the fact that music is and will always be the universal language. Israeli vocalist and composer Ravid Kahalani leads this ensemble of brass, string, and percussion players. Core members include Uruguay’s Rony Iwryn and Israeli Itamar Doari on percussion, plus Brooklyn, New York’s bassist/oud player Shanir Blumenkranz. Together they’ve created a powerful and original sound that they like to call “New Age Culture Music.” Click HERE for tickets and more information.

Thursday, January 25 | Don’t Box Me In: An Evening with Rockstar Stewart Copland | Long Beach Convention Center Terrace Theater Lobby (Long Beach)

Stewart Copeland, composer and drummer of The Police (Photo: Shayne Gray) (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

Copeland is of course best known as the drummer of The Police, but he has had a prolific career as a film score composer and has ventured into opera as well. My favorite score by him is an early one called The Rhythmatist from 1985, which I used to feature a lot on my radio shows. This talk/meet-and-greet held by the Long Beach Opera—where Copland will have the west coast premiere in March of his latest opera—will be a rare treat for his fans. For those willing to pay for a $200 VIP reception, attendees will have a chance to chat and meet Copeland face-to-face over drinks and appetizers. Copeland’s talk is preceded by a screening of his documentary Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out. The $100 general admission includes screening and talk with two drink vouchers for beer or wine. Click HERE for tickets and more information.

Thursday, February 1 | Legends: Keola Beamer & Henry Kapono | The Broad Stage (Santa Monica)

Slack-key guitar master Keola Beamer (Photo by Mark Modeen) (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)
Henry Kapono (Photo courtesy of the artist) (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

Keola Beamer and Henry Kapono are masters of the Hawaiian slack-key guitar, each with huge followings in Hawaii. Willie Nelson has called Beamer’s slack-key style, “the best there is on the planet.” Kapono is a thrilling performer who celebrates Hawaiian culture and the joy of living in the islands through his music. Each artist will perform a set of contemporary Hawaiian music, then join together for the finale. The concert also features Kumu Hula (Hula Master) Moanalani Beamer. Ticket-buyers have the option to upgrade their evening with a pre-show Polynesian style Luau reception for an additional $50 (with tax and gratuity included). Click HERE for tickets and more information.

Saturday, February 3 | Peking Acrobats | Luckman Fine Arts Complex (East L.A.)

Anybody who loves Cirque du Soleil will thrill to the Peking Acrobats, and will probably also come to realize how much the famous Québec-based performance troupe has been influenced by Chinese acrobatic traditions. The Peking Acrobats set the Guiness World Record for a feat known as the human chair stack, where six performers balance precariously 21 feet up on six chairs without any safety lines. The show will feature other amazing displays of contortion, agility, and dexterity. Like Peking Opera, Chinese acrobatics are an ancient (dating back over 2,000 years), enduring, and beloved Chinese traditional art form. Click HERE for tickets and more information.

Banner image of Ravid Kahalani of Yemen Blues courtesy of the artist.