September Calendar Picks from Rhythm Planet

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Tuesday, September 10 | Ravel with Thibaudet | Hollywood Bowl (Hollywood)

A brilliant program featuring three timeless works: Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances (the composer’s final masterpiece), Debussy’s luminous Prelude to the Afternoon of A Faun, and Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G. These compositions are tried and true repertory, yet remain fresh and modern. French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet is soloist on the Ravel, and conductor Eun Sun Kim makes her Bowl debut. If you want to introduce somebody to classical music, this is the show to catch. Click HERE for tickets and more information.

Watch Thibaudet perform Ravel’s gorgeous Piano Concerto in G:

Wednesday, September 11 | Hollie Cook, Western Standard Time, Upstream | Santa Monica Pier (Santa Monica)

Hollie Cook headlines this Twilight on the Pier evening, which also features Western Standard Time Ska Orchestra and Upstream. Cook is a fabulous and soulful singer, talented songwriter, and a KCRW favorite. She sings pop originals and music in classic reggae and ska styles, with lots of drive and great vocal overlays. I can’t think of a better way to wrap up the summer than this FREE outdoor concert on the iconic Santa Monica Pier. Click HERE for more information.

Thursday, September 12 | Daniela Mercury | The Regent Theatre (Downtown)  

Daniela Mercury hails from Bahia, Brazil, and is one of the country’s top singers. I remember when KCRW’s World Festival brought both her and Jorge Ben Jor on a double bill for a high energy and unforgettable show. Mercury is known as the “Queen of Axé,” a Brazilian style that emerged from Bahia in the 1990’s. She earned the nickname “furaçao” (hurricane) because of her endless energy and ability to sing and dance for hours without a water break or even taking a breath. If you like contemporary Bahian music, you should make this gig. Click HERE for tickets and more information. Also click HERE for her other U.S. tour dates if you’re not in LA.

This recent video should give you a sense of how big a star she is:

Saturday, September 14 | Leela Dance Collective | Ford Theatres (Hollywood)

The Leela Dance Collective presents the Los Angeles premiere performance of “Son of Wind,” a kathak dance drama. An all-female cast will play both male and female roles in this story about the Hindu god Hanuman. Kathak is a style of classical Indian dance that involves a lot of ankle rattles, colorful costumes, and stomping of feet. I’ve always suspected that kathak might be related to flamenco dance, but I’ll leave that to the experts to figure out. Click HERE for tickets and more information.

Sunday, September 15 | Sounds of Soul Force: Prince Diabaté and Friends | Zebulon (Los Angeles)

I wouldn’t normally think to present Guinean traditional music with Palestinian groups, but the Soul Force Project has done it for this evening of music from West Africa and Palestine. I heartily agree with their motto “Music as a Vehicle for Change,” as my experience has shown that music can act as a positive force in the world to bring different people together like no other medium.

This show features West African kora player Prince Diabaté from Guinea, kora and sitar improvisations from Tumbafe, plus the Dal’ouna Ensemble with Ramzi Aburedwan. It’s an unusual but enticing musical combination, and I am always happy to see these interesting co-billed shows in LA. Click HERE for tickets and more information.

Kora virtuoso Prince Diabaté performs in his hometown of Conakry, Guinea:

Saturday, September 21 | Olga Pericet Company - La Espina | Ford Theatres (Hollywood)

Dance critic Debra Levine calls Spanish flamenco star Olga Pericet "one of the foremost practitioners of nuevo flamenco…a powerhouse and leading light in the contemporary classical flamenco space.” Pericet also won Spain’s National Dance Award in 2018. Choreographed and performed by Pericet, La Espina traces the dancer’s personal journey in flamenco with comedy and virtuosic dance. Click HERE for tickets and more information.

Sunday, September 22 | Joey Alexander Trio | The Broad Stage (Santa Monica)

A teenage piano wunderkind, Joey Alexander is a Balinese prodigy who has quite simply been blowing people’s minds ever since he arrived on the scene years ago. I don’t consider him a virtuoso just because of his youth—his talent ranks up there with Kenny Barron, Eric Reed, and Joey Calderazzo, the top tier of contemporary jazz pianists. Loved and admired by both his fans and fellow jazz musicians, Alexander was championed by heavyweights like Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, and Wynton Marsalis. He made his Jazz at Lincoln Center debut five years ago when he was just eleven years old!! For this show at The Broad Stage (great acoustics), Alexander is joined by Kriss Funn on bass and Kendrick Scott on drums. Click HERE for tickets and more information.

Wednesday, September 25 | Black Movie Soundtrack III | Hollywood Bowl (Hollywood)

Marcus Miller (musical director) and Reginald Hudlin (producer/director) present the history of black music in themes, scores, soundies, and songs heard in over eight decades of films. This year’s lineup features El DeBarge, Chaka Khan, Dionne FarrisRaphael Saadiq, Bebe Winans, and more. They’ll be accompanied by Vince Mendoza conducting the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, with a rhythm section of pianist John BeasleyPaul Jackson Jr., guitar, Kris Bowers, keys, and bassist Marcus Miller. What a great idea for a concert, with lots of soul, funk, and history. Click HERE for tickets and more information.

Thursday, September 26 | Lucibela | The Miracle Theater (Inglewood)

I have to quote Banning Eyre, co-host of the long-running Afropop Worldwide program: “Ever since the death of legendary diva Cesaria Evora in 2011, the world has been waiting for another Cape Verdean singer with her sublime poise and emotional power. We may have just found her in Lucibela” (NPR’s All Things Considered). I couldn’t agree more. A new star on the busy Cape Verdean music scene, Lucibela perfectly blends Cape Verdean morabeza and sodade, sweetness and sadness. She is old-school Cape Verdean and carries on the torch left by Evora’s death. This is her first U.S. tour and first visit to Los Angeles. Don't miss this one. Click HERE for tickets and more information.

Listen to her song “Dona Ana”:

Also check out her wonderful “Porto Novo Vila Crioula.”

Saturday, September 28 | 2019 Los Angeles International Ukulele Festival | Torrance Cultural Arts Center (South Bay)

The little four-string instrument called the ukulele originally came to Hawaii on boats from Portugal. It’s a relative of the braguinha and a cousin of the Brazilian cavaquinho. The Hawaiian word ukulele roughly translates to “jumping flea.” This 5th annual all-day, all-ages festival features performances, workshops, a marketplace, and island-style shave ice and food. Artists and instructors will include Herb Ohta, Jr., Bryan Tolentino, Craig Chee, Mitch Chang, and the amazing South African bass player Bakithi Kumalo (pictured below), who backed Paul Simon on Graceland. Click HERE for tickets and more information.

Check out some of the highlights from last year’s festival: