Vieux Farka Touré

Often referred to as “The Hendrix of the Sahara”, Vieux Farka Touré was born in Niafunké, Mali in 1981. Son of the late, beloved, legendary Malian guitar player Ali Farka Touré, Vieux is prominent in his own right. Initially a drummer / calabash player at Mali’s Institut National des Arts, Vieux secretly began playing guitar in 2001. 

In the intervening decade and a half, Vieux has gone on to tour the world and record numerous albums to great acclaim. Notable performances include playing for the opening concert for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. His recordings reflect a deep connection to and reverence for family and country. Incorporating elements of rock and Latin music into the Saharan blues and traditional melodies of his native Mali, Vieux and his three-piece band are creating an electrifying new sound rooted in tradition.

Les Filles de Illighadad

Les Filles de Illighadad comes from the village of Illighadad in a remote region of central Niger. Like many of the villages in the area, its borders are loosely defined, owing to the largely pastoral population. It rests on the shore of a seasonal pond that swells during the rainy season. The center of town has a well, some small houses, and a school. But most of Illighadad’s people live in the surrounding scrub land desert, in tiny patched roof houses or temporary nomadic tents, hidden among the trees.

Les Filles de Illighadad (“daughters of Illighadad”) was founded in 2016 by solo guitarist Fatou Seidi Ghali and renowned vocalist Alamnou Akrouni. In 2017 they were joined by Amaria Hamadalher, a force on the Agadez guitar scene and Abdoulaye Madassane, rhythm guitarist and a son of Illighadad. Les Filles’ music draws from two distinct styles of regional sound, ancient village choral chants and desert guitar. The result is a groundbreaking new direction for Tuareg folk music and a sound that resonates far outside of their village.

To emerge from this small village to perform on stages around the world is no small feat, and is a testament to the band’s unique sound. But their home is more than their narrative. Illighadad is central to everything about the band, from their repertoire, the way they perform, the poetry they recite, even the way they sing. Music has always traveled in the Sahel, from poetry recited by nomads, scratchy AM radio broadcasts, to cell phone recordings sent over WhatsApp. Yet even today each village has its own style. When Les Filles perform, they play the music of Illighadad.

At the heart of Les Filles’ music is the percussion and poetry of tende—a term used for both the instrument and the type of music— whereby a mortar and pestle are transformed into a drum, and women join together in a circle, in a chorus of singing, chanting, and clapping. Sometimes it’s music for celebration, some – times it’s music to heal the sick, sometimes it’s poetry of love. But it’s always music of people, where the line between performer and spectator breaks down. To be a witness is to be a participant, to listen is to join in the collective song.

It’s precisely this collectivism which makes the recording “At Pioneer Works” seem so natural and timeless. Recorded in fall of 2019, “At Pioneer Works” finds the band at the height of their touring career. Over two sold out shows, the band brought Illighadad to New York, their first performance in the city. Speaking of the night, he New Yorker‘s music critic Amanda Petrusich writes: “The crowd in Brooklyn was entranced, nearly reverent. Les Filles’ music is mesmeric, almost prayer-like, which can leave an audience agog… whatever rhythm does to a human body—it was happening.”

There’s something bittersweet that it’s the sound of Illighadad that has propelled Les Filles’ to travel so far and so often. Playing on a stage 5000 miles from home, their performance evokes the village with a heavy ever present nostalgia. In singing the songs of Illighadad, Les Filles’ invite the audience to share in the remembrance, to hear the poetry and driving tende, to stumble out into a night lit by a faint moon, joining in chants that carry over the nomad camps, in a call to come together and sing under the stars.

—Christopher Kirkley

Yumi Kurosawa with Eric Phinney

Koto visionary Yumi Kurosawa teams up with renowned tabla player Eric Phinney for a program that brings together two expressive musical traditions, bridging the cultures of Japan and India.  Kurosawa has long had a fascination with other cultures and their instrumental histories.  With the koto being one of her country’s most ancient and beloved instruments, Kurosawa as both a performer and composer, has been seeking a merging of two traditions that would create a new music.  She and Phinney spin mesmerizing musical tales composed by Kurosawa, as they enchant the audience and reinforce the powerful idea of music as a means to enhance the collaborative spirit of our global community.

Gina Chavez

“Her voice stops you in your tracks.”—NPR

Latin Grammy nominee Gina Chavez blends the sounds of the Americas with tension and grace. A 12-time Austin Music Award winner, including 2019 Female Vocalist and 2015 Austin Musician of the Year, Gina explores the true meaning of “Americana” as she and her five-piece band take audiences on a high-energy journey through Latin America and beyond. Gina’s music is deeply personal. Her passionate collection of bilingual songs traversing Cumbia, rumba, and soul take audiences on a journey to discover her Latin roots through music. 

She has completed a 12-country tour as cultural ambassadors with the U.S. State Department, uniting audiences from Texas to Uzbekistan and Venezuela to Saudi Arabia. Her bilingual album, Up.Rooted, topped the Amazon and Latin iTunes charts following a feature on NPR’s All Things Considered and her Tiny Desk concert has more than 900,000 views. Gina’s Spanish-language anthem, “Siete-D,” won the grand prize in the John Lennon International Songwriting Contest.

Cancelled: Yumi Kurosawa
with Special Guest Anubrata Chatterjee

This event has been cancelled. Our Box Office will be calling to process refunds. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the UC San Diego Box Office at 858-534-8497 or email artpower@ucsd.edu.

“Mesmerizing.”—New York Times

Koto visionary Yumi Kurosawa teams up with world-renowned tabla player Anubrata Chatterjee for a program that brings together two expressive musical traditions, bridging the cultures of Japan and India. The duo spin mesmerizing musical tales as they enchant the audience and reinforce the powerful idea of music as a means to enhance the collaborative spirit of our global community. Their performance illuminates the deep-rooted similarities of their craft while highlighting their affinity and respect for one another as virtuosic performers furthering their own timeless musical traditions.

Black String

Black String creates a unique musical language that embraces traditional Korean music, American jazz, chanting, and improvisation. The group features Yoon Jeong Heo (geomungo—Korean traditional zither), Jean Oh (electric guitar), Aram Lee (daegeum, sogeum—Korean bamboo flutes), and Min Wang Hwang (ajaeng—Korean traditional zither, janggu—Korean drum), and together they captivate audiences’ senses with amplified bursts of the geomungo and Korean bamboo flutes, the fierce quake of Korean traditional percussion, and unpredictable jazz guitar melodies.

Founded in 2011 as part of government-sponsored Korea-UK cultural exchange program titled “UK Connection,” Black String has performed at WOMEX, London Jazz Festival, Winter Jazzfest, and many more world-renowned festivals and venues. They are also the 2017 Korean Music Award winner for best jazz and crossover performance and the 2018 Songline Music Award winner in the Asia & Pacific category.

This program is supported in part by the Korean Foundation for International Cultural Exchange as part of Traveling Korean Arts Program, and Korean Cultural Center, Los Angeles. Black String’s tour is organized by SORI.

 

Gingee

DJ/producer, percussionist, and vocalist Gingee is known for her unique take on electronic music—blending elements of global bass, world music, and hip-hop. Her work is a reflection of the sounds and cultures she has been exposed to growing up in Los Angeles as well as the musical world of her Filipino ancestors and beyond. Her productions incorporate the sounds of percussion instruments such as the kulintang (gongs native to the Philippines), kettle drum, and cowbells with rap and poetry.

Gingee’s 2015 EP Tambol made waves in the global music community, and she recently created a four-part yearlong EP series released on every solstice and equinox. She has performed at Coachella, South By Southwest, Malasimbo Festival (Philippines), Grand Performances, and Magic Garage (an art and music festival she founded); she has been featured on KPFK, Red Bull Radio, BBC Radio, LA Weekly, and KCET.

Dengue Fever

Dengue Fever are recognized for their trademark blend of 1960s Cambodian pop and psychedelic rock. The roots of the band began in the late 1990s with a six-month trek through Southeast Asia by keyboardist Ethan Holtzman. Returning to Los Angeles, Holtzman and his brother Zac bonded over their love of vintage Cambodian rock and in 2002 founded the band with saxophonist David Ralicke (Beck/Brazzaville); drummer Paul Dreux Smith; and bassist Senon Williams (Radar Brothers). Cambodian singing star Chhom Nimol joined when she realized the band shared a genuine passion for the music and culture of her homeland. Their music is a cross-pollination of Khmer rock, garage rock, psychedelic rock, and the British Invasion sound that has pushed the band to heights they could only dream of.

Dengue Fever’s music have appeared in films such as City of Ghosts and The Hangover 2 as well as television series True Blood, Weeds, and CSI: Las Vegas.

This presentation is in partnership with La Jolla Playhouse and their production of the play Cambodian Rock Band (showing Nov. 12 – Dec. 15, 2019), which features the music of Dengue Fever. The cast will perform selected numbers from the show as a curtain raiser.

Cancelled: Red Baraat
Festival of Colors

This event has been cancelled. Our Box Office will be calling to process refunds. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the UC San Diego Box Office at 858-534-8497 or email artpower@ucsd.edu.

“A new-breed marching band music that’s part Punjabi wedding, part New Orleans second line, and all New York.”—Boston Globe

Red Baraat Festival of Colors is an immersive celebration of the Hindu holiday of Holi through music, dance, and visuals. Red Baraat has taken the spirit of the festival to the next level: a year round show of communal revelry that brings together what NPR has called “the best party band in years,” a montage of classic Bollywood visuals, and a fiery dancer.

Traditionally, Holi is marked by public gatherings of families and strangers sharing songs, dance, and the exchange of “colors”— colorful dry powder or colored water playfully thrown among the crowds of revelers. It signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, and for many, a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair ruptured relationships.

Red Baraat Festival of Colors debuted in 2012 at a sold out Le Poisson Rouge in New York City, and it has since expanded to over a dozen cities in the United States. Returning to its roots of just brass and drums and complete in colorfully painted white jumpsuits plus a dancer, Festival of Colors is a full- blown immersive experience as the band, the visuals, the dancer are like a mélange of colors, each bold on its own but commingling to form a stunning panorama.

Maria de Barros

“Maria de Barros opens a window to Cape Verde.”—Seattle Times

An invitation into the musical realm of Maria de Barros calls for an intriguing geography lesson. The charismatic young chanteuse is a native of Dakar, Senegal, and lived the first 13 years of her life in Nouakchott, Mauritania, in Northwest Africa. De Barros’s creative heart, however, lies in the culturally rich land of Cabo Verde, a former Portuguese colony located 350 miles off the coast of Senegal, the birthplace of her parents and her godmother, Cesária Évora, also known as the “barefoot diva.” It’s the island’s incredible melting pot of music—which includes everything from African and Portuguese to Argentine and Cuban influences—that has always inspired de Barros to set her heart on home.