Friday
Jul112014

Jordan Peimer on Cesària Evora and Quantic 

A mixtape created by Quanitc for Magnetica Sodade, Lost and Longing, Perdio e Sodade.

Saudade is one of the most famously untranslatable words. It carries a sense of bittersweet sadness and longing and often refers to people or places that have been lost and will likely never be seen again. The emotion is so pervasive that Brazil even has a holiday devoted to it. In all parts of the Portugese-speaking world, one says, “Tenhos saudades....”  or “I have saudade of you” as a way of saying I miss you.  In a sense, saudades is a very specific kind of feeling of the blues. It has been speculated that the word developed as an expression of homesickness for people and places during the era of Portugese exploration of the New World.

Eventually one of the places heavily trafficked by the Portugese were the ten islands of Cabo Verde or Cape Verde. About 350 miles west of Senegal, the small nation is neither Cape nor Green. Discovered in the mid-fifteenth Century, the islands became a natural stopping point for slave traders plying the waters of the Atlantic. The islands’ population is largely the descendants of slaves and their captors. An independent nation since 1975, Cabo Verdeans celebrate their creole (or Kriol) heritage seeing themselves not just as a hybrid of Portugal and Africa but also as the meeting ground between Europe, Africa, and the Americas. They too have inherited this feeling of Saudade which in Kriolu, the local patois, is known as Sodade

If there is one kind of music inexorably linked to Cape Verde, it is the morna, a somewhat melancholic but lyrical song that exemplifies the sense of sodade. Of course the greatest voice of the morna and perhaps the most famous Cape Verdean is the incomparable Cesária Évora. Discovered when she was already in her forties, Évora rose to international superstardom making all who heard her long to know more about her culture and the mornas and coladieras (the Cape Verdean style which is faster and more upbeat ) she was singing. Perhaps her most famous song is "Sodade", in which the feeling which pervades most of her music, is used to describe a longing for both a person and a place--for the time they had together.

Two and a half years after her death at age 70, Évora still looms large in Cape Verde; she smiles on posters and T-shirts and her music drifts from bars, restaurants, and residences. This is her place and the people are happy to remember her and her music; they are almost drawn to those memories by forces greater than themselves This is not to say that she was by any means the only great musician the country produced. The reality is music quenches the parched landscape and it is sung out by some incredibly talented voices. 

Tonight’s concert marries the legacy of the great “Barefoot Diva” to the incredible talent of musician and producer Quantic (William Holland). Quantic is, hyperbole aside, nothing less than a master of contemporary music, effortlessly blending styles and creating not pastiche but something uniquely his own. Since Cesária is gone and will never be experienced again, I can imagine no one better than Quantic and the extraordinary guest artists to recontextualize the gift which she left us. Tonight, as we remember Cesària, her absence is a presence among us and we know that only Quantic and the musicians can help slake our feelings of Sodade. 

 

Jordan Peimer is the Vice President & Director of Programs at the Skirball Cultural Center hosting a wide range of roots and world music, including the Sunset Concert Series, now entering its 18th summer.

Tuesday
Jul082014

Cesaria Evora and Minnie Riperton 

This weekend we're all about remixing and reinterpreting the powerful sounds of two incomperable female icons. Quantic will take on the music of the Cape Verdean Barefoot Diva, Cesaria Evora, and The Decoders will reimagine the soulful sounds of Minnie Riperton.

Here's the down and dirty versions of why you should join us for this girl power-fueled weekend. 

Friday, July 11 @ 8:00pm

Who: Magnetica Sodade
Song Sample: Youtube / Spotify 
Street cred: It's the multi-talented Quantic along with Thalma de Freitas, Maria de Barros and more
Why you won't want to miss out: You'll get a little bit of Cesaria Evora and a little bit of music from Quantic's new release- the best of both worlds. Quantic will also perform a 20 minute mix of hand chosen Cape Verdean vinyls during the intermission, something he's never done before!

Saturday, July 12 @ 8:00pm

Who: Adventures from Paradise: A Tribute to Minnie Riperton 
Song Sample: Youtube / Spotify 
Street cred: It's L.A.'s own, The Decoders plus an awesome lineup of guest artists including Kimbra, Moses Sumney, Coco O, Amber Coffman and more (we could go on... and on)
Why you won't want to miss out: Did you read above guest artists names we dropped?! This is just going to be a magical evening of Minnie Riperton's music. 

 

This summer, we're proud to partner with our down-the-hill neighobors, Grand Central Market to offer you pre-made picnics. We've made it easy: simply order online, and pick up at Grand Central Market on Saturday! Orders must be placed by 4pm on Saturday, July 12. 

Click here to check out the delicious offereings from Roast to Go, Horse Thief BBQ and Valerie Confections.

Tuesday
Jul012014

Grand Performances Tote Bag

Our Artist Relations Intern, Lindon. Who wouldn't want to buy a bag from him?

This year we are excited to be selling our first very-own Grand Performances tote bag. The word “transport” adorns one side of the bag to suggest its practical uses (transport your groceries, your computer, your wine and picnic supplies) and signify our performances’ ability to transport our audience to another realm. On the other side, each performance from this season’s programming is neatly listed so you can show off who you’ve seen or will see this summer! Our durable and dashing tote bags are available at the artist sales table at our concerts for $15, of which 100% of the proceeds goes back to support our programming. 

Monday
Jun302014

Stones Throw Picnic

Get your 4th of July fireworks fix, but rest up becuase we're keeping the party going on July 5th. Here's the Stones Throw Picnic run down for Saturday.

Update: We regret to inform you that Madlib will not be performing at Stones Throw Picnic due to a family illness. This was a matter that could not be foreseen, and our support and understanding go out to him and his family.

From Stones Throw Picnic curator Wyatt Closs: "As his broader family of fans, Stones Throw Picnic will miss Madlib's presence and talent tremendously. Our time together will honor him, as it will be one filled with good people and great music. With their sets, The Lions, DaM-FunK and Peanut Butter Wolf of the Stones Throw Records label will bring to life an ambitious, chocked-full day. And don't rule out a special guest or two."

5:00- 9:30PM

- Beat Swap Meet
A traveling swap meet featuring specially selected vinyl record collectors and dealers

- Stones Throw merch for sale

- Voter registration
The good folks of Headcount.org and other civic engagement volunteers will be getting people registerd to vote.

- Complimentary bike valet available on the Upper Plaza

6:00PM

- Kids breakdance contest in the Marina Pavilion
Sign Beat Swap Meet organizes it. Stones Throw Records talent will judge it. Local kids get to show us what they got. Prizes are given to the winners, and bragging rights forever.

7:00PM

- The Lions

7:55PM

- Dâm-Funk

9:00PM

- Peanut Butter Wolf

but wait, there's more...


It wouldn't be a Stones Throw Picnic without something to nosh on.

This summer, we're proud to partner with our down-the-hill neighobors, Grand Central Market to offer you pre-made picnics. We've made it easy: simply order online, and pick up at Grand Central Market on Saturday! Orders must be placed by 4pm on Saturday, July 5. 

Click here to check out the delicious offereings from Roast to Go, Horse Thief BBQ and Valerie Confections. 


Some things you need to know before coming to Stones Throw Picnic:

  • Bring cash to buy goodies from Big Man Bakes, Artesana Pops, the Omni Grill, and all our California Plaza vendors
  • Enter to win prizes from our friends at Curacao and the Hollywood Bowl by following us on Instagram @grandperfs and tagging your photos with #grandperformances

And a couple housekeeping items:

  • Protip: Come early to get your seat and beat the crowd; this will be a popular night! 
  • Parking and directions can be found here
  • Sadly, your furry friends are not invited to the party (aka no dogs allowed)
  • Due to increased vigilance surrounding the 4th of July holiday, the LAPD has informed us that our audience is not allowed to BYOB, but you will be able to purchase beer and wine from our onsite bar.

 

Thursday
Jun262014

Double G on the daKAH Hip Hop Orchestra 

This year we're asking our musically and culturally inclined friends to write our evening programs. Instead of a guest writer for the daKAH Hip Hop Orchestra, we thought we'd go right to the source, Double G, daKONDUCTOR and daKOMPOSER.

The best gift a composer can be given is an ensemble full of loving and capable musicians to turn dots on a page into music for our souls.  The other best gift a composer can receive is a great venue to host those musicians.  Over the years, Grand Performances has given me and my different ensembles opportunities to experiment, investigate, succeed, and sometimes even tank in front of thousands of people.  The consistent factor has always been a welcoming spirit that many artists around the world have come to love about Grand Performances. 

This particular ensemble, The daKAH Hip Hop Orchestra, has now entered its adolescence, and, based on the rehearsals leading to this concert, is starting to grow into its feet.  Before 2001, we were a ragtag pirate ship that would crash into nightclubs and set up an orchestra.  When we first came to Grand Performances in 2001, it was a great chance for a crew of young L.A. cats to bring something from the underground to a concert stage, which is very rare.  Now, in 2014, the musicians of the orchestra, both past & present, see this venue as our home turf.  Since we haven’t played L.A. in a long while, I’m very happy that we get to do it here.

We’re bringing a lot of new music to the stage.  There’s a lot of rap in the show.  Getting back to the root of what a “hip hop orchestra” is supposed to sound like.  However, the songs that feature the singers, are a special kind of song. 

There’s an underground genre of lowrider soul music, that often gets overlooked.  It doesn’t get much play on the radio.  Personally, it’s my favorite music to listen to while behind the wheel.  Chilled out.  Sophisticated orchestrations.  Gorgeous singing.  Anti-road rage, anger management.  The perfect soundtrack for cruising in a car you don’t want to scratch.

My Great-Uncle was deep in the lowrider culture here in L.A., and in NorCal.  He expressed his love for the positivity found among the people in the car clubs, and how the outlet of creativity is so healthy for the soul.  And, it can even get you across town if you need.

That’s kind of the vibe in our daKAH show this year.  All about the love.  L.A. can sometimes be a tense place.  Sometimes stuff just explodes out of nowhere.  It helps to have an antidote, and a musical massage.  For this moment in our summer, we’re trying to slip in some love, and take us out on a Natural High.