After having played more than 300 live shows in the last four years, Yemen Blues finally arrives to make its San Diego debut. An astonishing musical concept that resides at the crossroads of traditional Yemenite melodies and the world of funk, blues, and jazz, Yemen Blues is led by the “ridiculously charismatic frontman” Ravid Kahalani, who burst onto the world and contemporary music scenes in 2010 to create a global buzz that has only gotten louder and more intense since then. Conjuring up a rich and diverse aural palette with the use of percussion, oud, horns, and strings, the collective coexists in both the past and present, at once timeless and modern.
Born in Sudan, raised in Yemen, and now based in Brooklyn, Alsarah is not only a gifted musician and singer but also a self-proclaimed practitioner of East African retro-pop. Alsarah & the Nubatones was born out of many dinner conversations between Alsarah and percussionist Rami El-Aasser about Nubian “songs of return,” modern migration patterns, and the cultural exchanges between Sudan and Egypt. Soon the project expanded to include Armenian American oud player Haig Manoukian and French-born, Togo-raised bass player Mawuena Kodjovi. Since their first show in 2011, the group has performed nationally and internationally at many prestigious festivals and venues to audiences varying in age and ethnicity, proving that soul crosses all cultural and linguistic barriers.
“The way I see it, the future of the New Orleans brass band tradition is in their hands.”—Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews
New Breed Brass Band live and breathe the culture of New Orleans, infusing funk, rock, jazz, and hip-hop into a custom-made enhancement of second-line brass-band tradition. With a founding core of five New Orleans natives, the band made their street debut as a nine-man unit in 2013. Since then, they have showcased their originality opening for such diverse bands as the Fray, Red Baraat, Dr. John, the Waterboys, and Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. New Breed Brass Band are certain to sweep the audience away with the spirit of NOLA!
Miwa Matreyek’s performances have thrilled audiences at major festivals and theaters around the world. They create a metaphor-laden fantasy world that is always grounded in reality with Matreyek’s own presence. This World Made Itself is a visual and musical journey through the history of the universe, from its beginning to the ever complex world of humans. Filled with a child’s sense of scientific wonder and rich in surrealism, this engrossing live performance combines animation and movement theater. In Myth and Infrastructure the artist’s shadow is constantly present as the world around her shifts and transforms, integrating her body into her own fantastical imagination, in which she traverses oceans, cityscapes, and domestic spaces to conjure dreamlike scenes. The performance features original music by Flying Lotus, Careful, Anna Oxygen, Caroline, and Mileece.
Experience a night of intrepid songwriting and acoustic innovation, beginning with Aoife O’Donovan at center stage. O’Donovan draws from her catalogue of songs, played as she wrote them: with just her acoustic guitar and voice. The Washington Post describes her singing as “almost too gorgeous for its own good.” Julian Lage & Chris Eldridge follow with a masterly acoustic performance typical of the virtuosic duo, known for pushing the boundaries of folk, bluegrass, and jazz. Showcasing, as the New Yorker writes, a “familiarity with the fretboard . . . so extravagant and capacious that they bring flourishes to this music that it simply hasn’t enjoyed before,” the duo’s performance is sure to astound. The evening concludes with all three on stage together in an aural hootenanny.
Founded in 2009, Tribu Baharú is an Afro-Champeta music crew from Colombia’s Caribbean coast who are influenced by the “picó” (pick-up or sound system) culture present in many Caribbean countries. Champeta (originally a term that refers to a fisherman’s knife) is an infectious dance music influenced by Colombian folk music, Congolese soukous, Haitian kompa, zouk, calypso, mbaqanga, soca, rap, and reggae. The band’s mission is to convey the joy of being Afro-Colombian through exuberant dance, using music as their vehicle, and change negative perceptions of Champeta culture by sharing positive messages through music.
Employing overhead projectors, shadow puppets, actors in silhouette, and live music, Lula del Ray is the story of a lonely adolescent girl who lives with her mother on the outskirts of a vast satellite array in the middle of the desert. After a chance encounter over the radio, Lula becomes obsessed with a soulful country duo. Encouraged by their music, she runs away from home and into a world of danger, deception, and disappointment. Set in the mid-century American Southwest and inspired by the music of Hank Williams, Roy Orbison, and Patsy Cline, Lula del Ray is a mythic reinvention of the classic coming-of-age story. Audience members are invited on stage post-performance to interact with the artists.