Las Cafeteras Live on KEXP
Las Cafeteras create a vibrant musical fusion with a unique East LA sound and a community-focused political message. Their Afro-Mexican rhythms, zapateado & inspiring lyrics tell stories of a community who is looking for love & fights for justice in the concrete jungle of Los Angeles. A remix of traditional Son Jarocho sounds, LAS CAFETERAS add Afro-Caribbean marimbol and cajón, poetry in English and Spanglish, and instruments like jarana, requinto, a donkey jawbone and a wooden platform called the Tarima.
In addition to their concert performance, the Clifton Center will present members of Las Cafeteras in outreach events at schools and community centers in the Louisville area.
“One of the top oud players in the world”
- San Francisco Chronicle
“Unique combination of traditional and innovative performance techniques. Alhaj’s spontaneous inventions are constantly fascinating.”
- Los Angeles Times
Rahim AlHaj, virtuoso oud musician and composer, was born in Baghdad, Iraq and began playing the oud (the grandfather of all stringed instruments) at age nine. Early on, it was evident that he had a remarkable talent for playing the oud. Mr. Alhaj studied under the renowned Munir Bashir, considered by many to be the greatest oud player ever, and Salim Abdul Kareem, at the Institute of Music in Baghdad, Iraq. Mr. AlHaj won various awards at the Conservatory and graduated in 1990 with a diploma in composition. He holds a degree in Arabic Literature from Mustunsariya University in Baghdad. In 1991, after the first Gulf War, Mr. AlHaj was forced to leave Iraq due to his activism against the Saddam Hussein regime and began his life in Jordan and Syria. He moved to the US in 2000 as a political refugee and has resided in Albuquerque, NM ever since. Rahim became a US citizen on August 15, 2008.
Rahim has performed around the world and is considered one of the finest oud players in the world. He has won many accolades and awards including two Grammy nominations. Rahim has recorded and performed with other master musicians of varied backgrounds and styles including genre-busting American guitarist Bill Frisell, modern accordion innovator Guy Klucevsek, Indian sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan and indy-rock pioneers REM. He has composed pieces for solo oud, string quartet, symphony and beyond. Rahim’s music delicately combines traditional Iraqi maqams with contemporary styling and influence. His compositions evoke the experience of exile from his homeland and of new beginnings in his adopted country. His pieces establish new concepts without altering the foundation of the traditional “Iraqi School of Oud”.
Rahim has released seven CDs. His March 2009 release, Ancient Sounds (UR Music), a duet recording with Amjad Ali Khan, was nominated for a 2010 Grammy® in the Best Traditional World Music Recording category. In November of 2009 he released a special recording Under The Rose with Ottmar Liebert, Jon Gagan and Barrett Martin, with all net proceeds benefitting Direct Aid Iraq. Home Again (UR Music, 2008), is a tour de force of touching and evocative original compositions portraying his trip to Iraq after 13 years in exile. When the Soul is Settled: Music of Iraq (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings) was also nominated for a Grammy® in 2008.
In early 2012, Grammy award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops released their studio album Leaving Eden (Nonesuch Records) produced by Buddy Miller. The traditional African-American string band’s album was recorded in Nashville and featured founding members Rhiannon Giddens and Dom Flemons, along with multi-instrumentalist Hubby Jenkins and cellist Leyla McCalla, already a familiar presence at the group’s live shows. With Flemons and McCalla now concentrating on solo work, the group’s 2014 lineup will feature two more virtuosic players alongside Giddens and Jenkins – cellist Malcolm Parson and multi-instrumentalist Rowan Corbett — illustrating the expansive, continually exploratory nature of the Chocolate Drops’ music. Expect a new disc from this quartet in 2015.
The Chocolate Drops got their start in 2005 with Giddens, Flemons and fiddle player Justin Robinson, who amicably left the group in 2011. The Durham, North Carolina-based trio would travel every Thursday night to the home of old-time fiddler and songster Joe Thompson to learn tunes, listen to stories and, most importantly, to jam. Joe was in his 80s, a black fiddler with a short bowing style that he inherited from generations of family musicians. Now he was passing those same lessons onto a new generation. When the three students decided to form a band, they didn’t have big plans. It was mostly a tribute to Joe, a chance to bring his music back out of the house again and into dancehalls and public places.
With their 2010 Nonesuch debut, Genuine Negro Jig—which garnered a Best Traditional Folk Album Grammy—the Carolina Chocolate Drops proved that the old-time, fiddle and banjo-based music they’d so scrupulously researched and passionately performed could be a living, breathing, ever-evolving sound. Starting with material culled from the Piedmont region of the Carolinas, they sought to freshly interpret this work, not merely recreate it, highlighting the central role African-Americans played in shaping our nation’s popular music from its beginnings more than a century ago. The virtuosic trio’s approach was provocative and revelatory. Their concerts, The New York Times declared, were “an end-to-end display of excellence… They dip into styles of southern black music from the 1920s and ’30s—string- band music, jug-band music, fife and drum, early jazz—and beam their curiosity outward. They make short work of their instructive mission and spend their energy on things that require it: flatfoot dancing, jug playing, shouting.”
Rolling Stone Magazine described the Carolina Chocolate Drops’ style as “dirt-floor-dance electricity.” If you ask the band, that is what matters most. Yes, banjos and black string musicians first got here on slave ships, but now this is everyone’s music. It’s okay to mix it up and go where the spirit moves.
“An appealing grab-bag of antique country, blues, jug band hits and gospel hollers, all given an agreeably downhome production. The Carolina Chocolate Drops are still the most electrifying acoustic act around.” -The Guardian
“The Carolina Chocolate Drops are…revisiting, with a joyful vengeance, black string-band and jug-band music of the Twenties and Thirties—the dirt-floor dance electricity of the Mississippi Sheiks and Cannon’s Jug Stompers.” —Rolling Stone
Acoustic guitarist Leo Kottke was born in Athens, Georgia, but left town after a year and a half. Raised in 12 different states, he absorbed a variety of musical influences as a child, flirting with both violin and trombone, before abandoning Stravinsky for the guitar at age 11.
After adding a love for the country-blues of Mississippi John Hurt to the music of John Phillip Sousa and Preston Epps, Kottke joined the Navy underage, to be underwater, and eventually lost some hearing shooting at lightbulbs in the Atlantic while serving on the USS Halfbeak, a diesel submarine.
Kottke had previously entered college at the U of Missouri, dropping out after a year to hitchhike across the country to South Carolina, then to New London and into the Navy, with his twelve string. “The trip was not something I enjoyed,” he has said, “I was broke and met too many interesting people.”
Discharged in 1964, he settled in the Twin Cities area and became a fixture at Minneapolis’ Scholar Coffeehouse, which had been home to Bob Dylan and John Koerner. He issued his 1968 recording debut LP Twelve String Blues, recorded on a Viking quarter-inch tape recorder, for the Scholar’s tiny Oblivion label. (The label released one other LP by The Langston Hughes Memorial Eclectic Jazz Band.)
After sending tapes to guitarist John Fahey, Kottke was signed to Fahey’s Takoma label, releasing what has come to be called the Armadillo record. Fahey and his manager Denny Bruce soon secured a production deal for Kottke with Capitol Records.
Kottke’s 1971 major-label debut, “Mudlark,” positioned him somewhat uneasily in the singer/songwriter vein, despite his own wishes to remain an instrumental performer. Still, despite arguments with label heads as well as with Bruce, Kottke flourished during his tenure on Capitol, as records like 1972′s “Greenhouse” and 1973′s live “My Feet Are Smiling” and “Ice Water” found him branching out with guest musicians and honing his guitar technique.
With 1975′s Chewing Pine, Kottke reached the U.S. Top 30 for the second time; he also gained an international following thanks to his continuing tours in Europe and Australia.
His collaboration with Phish bassist Mike Gordon, “Clone,” caught audiences’ attention in 2002. Kottke and Gordon followed with a recording in the Bahamas called “Sixty Six Steps,” produced by Leo’s old friend and Prince producer David Z.
Kottke has been awarded two Grammy nominations; a Doctorate in Music Performance by the Peck School of Music at the U of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; and a Certificate of Significant Achievement in Not Playing the Trombone from the U of Texas at Brownsville with Texas Southmost College.
In addition to our regularly priced tickets, we’re offering a special dinner package! Enjoy a pre-concert dinner at Varanese, one of Louisville’s finest restaurants and just a short stroll from the Clifton Center. Click here for more information.
“This young musician and composer is at once reestablishing the artistic, cultural, and social tradition of jazz while creating an entirely new jazz language for the 21st century.”
– MacArthur Foundation,2008.
Multiple Grammy Nominee and Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellow Miguel Zenón represents a select group of musicians who have masterfully balanced and blended the often-contradictory poles of innovation and tradition. Widely considered as one of the most groundbreaking and influential saxophonists of his generation, he has also developed a unique voice as a composer and as a conceptualist, concentrating his efforts on perfecting a fine mix between Latin American Folkloric Music and Jazz.
Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Zenón studied classical saxophone at the Escuela Libre de Música in Puerto Rico before receiving a bachelor’s degree in Jazz Studies from Berklee College of Music, and a master’s degree in Jazz Performance at Manhattan School of Music. Zenón’s more formal studies, however, are supplemented and enhanced by his vast and diverse experience as a sideman and collaborator. Throughout his career he has divided his time equally between working with older jazz masters and working with the music’s younger innovators –irrespective of styles and genres. The list of musicians Zenón has toured and/or recorded with includes: The SFJAZZ Collective, Charlie Haden, Fred Hersh, Kenny Werner, David Sánchez, The Village Vanguard Orchestra, The Mingus Big Band, Bobby Hutcherson and Steve Coleman.
His latest release Oye!!! Live in Puerto Rico (Miel Music, 2013) features the debut recording of The Rhythm Collective, an ensemble first put together in 2003 for a month long tour of West Africa. The group includes Aldemar Valentín on Electric Bass, Tony Escapa on Drums and Reinaldo de Jesus on percussion; all native Puerto Ricans and some of the most coveted musicians in their respective fields. Fed by the energy of the full capacity audience in attendance, the group delivers a high intensity performance which includes originals by Zenon and covers of Tito Puente’s “Oye Como Va” and Silvio Rodriguez’ ”El Necio”.
He is a founding member of the groundbreaking SFJAZZ Collective, a group whose past and current members include Bobby Hutcherson, Joe Lovano, Joshua Redman, Brian Blade, Nicholas Payton, Dave Douglas, and Eric Harland. In 2012, Zenón’s association with SFJAZZ will further expand to include his new role as resident artistic director along with Bill Frisell, Jason Moran, Regina Carter and John Santos.
Dick Sisto and the outstanding Bloomington-based bassist, Jeremy Allen, join forces for “Two For The Road.” Half of the Dick Sisto – Steve Allee Quartet, the duo are the perfect fit for the intimate on-stage experience in the Eifler Theater, in which the audience will be seated on stage with the musicians.
Dirk Powell combines deep-running roots in rural American tradition with an overarching artistic vision that speaks poignantly to the audiences of today. From learning banjo and fiddle at the feet of his grandfather in Kentucky, through founding the Louisiana Cajun group Balfa Toujours, to extensive recording and film work with such artists as Jack White, Joan Baez, T-Bone Burnett, Anthony Minghella, Loretta Lynn, and Spike Lee, Dirk has arrived at a place all his own – one where tradition, inspiration, and innovation meet without borders.
“Dirk Powell is a badass. To the bone. He is, in addition to being the greatest old-time banjo player alive, a graduate student of both mountain and Cajun fiddle styles and diatonic button accordion, an instrument that fights you back, take it from me, I’ve tried. He is a singer, songwriter, producer, recording engineer, and all in all an artist of unique vision and unbending integrity. As far as I can tell there is no genre of American roots music that Dirk doesn’t understand, no primordial mode he can’t master, no polyrhythmic code he can’t crack. He also cooks the best sauce piquante I have ever tasted. Be forewarned: Dirk Powell and I WILL make a record together someday.”–Steve Earle
Riley Baugus represents the best of old time American banjo and song. His powerful singing voice and his expert musicianship place him squarely in the next generation of the quality American roots tradition. Riley first came to music through his family. His father had left his roots in the mountains of North Carolina in the search for work, settling near Winston-Salem and bringing with him a love of old time music and a record collection that included, amongst others, the works of fellow North Carolinian Doc Watson, which touched the young Riley on a molecular level.
One fateful day, Riley got a call from longtime friend and collaborator Dirk Powell. Dirk was involved in the music direction for the Academy Award-winning film “Cold Mountain” and had convinced the producers that they needed Civil War era banjos made in the Carolina hills, specifically Riley’s handmade banjos. They also needed an authentic acapella ballad singer for the voice of Pangle, played by Ethan Suplee. Riley put the hammer down on the anvil and didn’t look back. A whirlwind Hollywood experience ensued, culminating in a place on the star studded “Great High Mountain” tour.
From there, Riley has made his own path, building in-demand instruments and performing at festivals all over the world. He made musical contributions to the Appalshop film, “Thoughts In The Presence of Fear”, and to a film by Erika Yeomans; “Grand Gorge: No God But Me”. He has worked with the Lonesome Sisters as producer and performer on their recording “Going Home Shoes“. Riley collaborated with Laurelyn Dossett and Preston Lane of Triad Stage on theatrical presentations featuring original and traditional southern Appalachian music.
This appearance by Brooklyn Rider is being presented in partnership with the Louisville Chamber Music Society.
Johnny Gandelsman, violin
Colin Jacobsen, violin
Nicholas Cords, viola
Eric Jacobsen, cello
Hailed as “the future of chamber music” (Strings), the game-changing string quartet Brooklyn Rider offers eclectic repertoire in gripping performances that continue to attract legions of fans and draw rave reviews from classical, world, and rock critics alike. NPR credits Brooklyn Rider with “recreating the 300-year-old form of string quartet as a vital and creative 21st-century ensemble”; the Los Angeles Times dubs the group “one of the wonders of contemporary music”; and Vice likens its members to “motocross daredevils who never screw up a stunt.” Equally at home in clubs and concert halls, the quartet has played venues as varied as Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, the San Francisco Jazz Festival, Le Poisson Rouge, Japan’s Todai-ji, Lincoln Center, Brooklyn’s Littlefield, the Library of Congress, and the South by Southwest Festival. Through visionary programming and global collaborations, Brooklyn Rider’s “down-to-earth demeanor…demystifies contemporary classical music and invites everyone into the tent” (Time Out New York).
In the 2013-14 season, following the release of The Impostor on Deutsche Grammophon/Mercury Classics on which the quartet collaborates with banjo legend Béla Fleck, Brooklyn Rider reunites with the 14-time Grammy Award-winner for a 20-city North American tour. Making stops in Washington DC, Philadelphia, Seattle, Las Vegas, Indianapolis, Birmingham, Toronto, and more, the “banjo quintet” takes to the road this winter with a program of original music by Fleck and other Brooklyn Rider favorites, showcasing repertoire from its recent Mercury Classics album A Walking Fire. In March, the music of A Walking Fire is also featured in the first of a pair of contrasting programs at the University of Texas at Austin. There, during a weeklong residency, Brooklyn Rider is joined by superstar soprano Dawn Upshaw on a program that will then travel to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
In recent seasons, the quartet made its UK debut at London’s Barbican Centre with Iranian kamancheh virtuoso Kayhan Kalhor, and performed at the U.S. Open tennis tournament, the Cologne Philharmonie, American Academy in Rome, Malmö Festival in Sweden, the Lincoln Center Festival, the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, and Texas’s South by Southwest Festival, where it was the only classical group with an official invitation to play. In 2013, the ensemble released A Walking Fire, praised by the Huffington Post as an “intriguing program” on the way to pointing out how Brooklyn Rider has “emerged triumphantly as a headliner.” The quartet also embarked on a second Asian tour and launched its ongoing, cross-disciplinary commissioning project, “The Brooklyn Rider Almanac.”
Brooklyn Rider is as committed to the creation of new works as it is to its dynamic interpretations of the existing quartet literature. The four musicians have worked with such composers as Derek Bermel, Lisa Bielawa, Ljova, Philip Glass, Osvaldo Golijov, Shara Worden, Vijay Iyer, John Zorn, Nik Bärtsch, Padma Newsome, Greg Saunier, Ethan Iverson, Bill Frisell, Jenny Scheinman, Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky and Evan Ziporyn, besides regularly performing pieces written or arranged by members of the group. Equally integral to the quartet’s projects are creative collaborations with other artists including Chinese pipa virtuoso Wu Man, Syrian/Armenian visual artist Kevork Mourad, traditional and technology-based Japanese shakuhachi player Kojiro Umezaki, Irish fiddle player Martin Hayes, the trio 2 Foot Yard, singer/songwriters Christina Courtin and Suzanne Vega, and choreographers/dancers Lil Buck, Damian Woetzel, Dance Heginbotham, Brian Brooks, Wendy Whelan and Matthew Neenan. A long-standing relationship between Brooklyn Rider and Kayhan Kalhor resulted in the renowned 2008 recording Silent City, on the World Village/Harmonia Mundi label, which was selected by Rhapsody.com as one of World Music’s Best Albums of the Decade.
Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara (aka Fatou) was born of Malian parents in the Ivory Coast in 1982. As a child she became a member of her father’s dance troupe and was a popular performer of the wildly flailing didadi dance from Wassoulou, her ancestral home in western Mali. She was an energetic and headstrong girl and at the age of twelve her refusal to go to school finally prompted her parents to send her to live and be disciplined by an aunt in Bamako. She was not to see her parents again for over a decade.
Her aunt was an actress, and a few years after arriving, Fatou found herself on a film set looking after her aunt’s infant child. The film’s director was captivated by Fatou’s adolescent beauty and she was given a one line part in the final scene of the film ‘Taafe Fangan’ (‘The Power of Women’). This led to her being given a lead role by the celebrated director Cheick Omar Sissoko in his 1999 film ‘La Genèse’ (Genesis).
At the age of eighteen Fatou travelled to Paris to perform the classical Greek role of Antigone on stage. After touring with the production she returned to Mali where she was given the lead in Dani Kouyaté’s popular 2001 film ‘Sia, The Dream of the Python’. The film tells the story of a West African legend called Sia, a young girl who defies tradition. To many in Mali, Guinea, Senegal and Burkina Faso, Fatou is Sia thanks to the film’s enormous success throughout the region. Offers for further acting roles poured in but Fatou’s family wanted her to settle down and marry and forced her to announce, live on Malian television, that she was abandoning her career as an actress.
In 2002 Jean-Louis Courcoult, the director of the renowned French theatre company, Royale de Luxe, travelled to Bamako to offer Fatou a part in his new production. An unmarried woman is considered a minor in Malian society so her family’s permission was required. They refused. After much soul searching Fatou took the daring decision to run away and at Bamako airport she managed to board a plane for Paris, narrowly escaping the pursuit of the police who had been alerted to the girl’s ‘kidnapping’.
With Royal de Luxe Fatou performed a variety of roles around the world including tours in Vietnam, Mexico and throughout Europe. During rehearsals and quiet moments she took to singing backstage for her own amusement. She was overheard by the director and was soon singing solo during the company’s performances. Encouraged by the reception from audiences she began to sing in Parisian clubs and cafes during breaks from touring. Here she met Cheikh Tidiane Seck the celebrated Malian musician and producer who invited her to travel with him back to Mali to work on two projects as chorus vocalist; ‘Seya’ the GRAMMY nominated album by Mali’s star Oumou Sangaré and ‘Red Earth’ the GRAMMY winning Malian project by American jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater. When the albums were released Fatou toured worldwide as singer and dancer with both projects.
On her return to France Fatou took the role of Karaba in the popular touring musical ‘Kirikou and Karaba’. She was encouraged to take the role by her friend Rokia Traore who also inspired her to take up the guitar: “To me it was a wonderful and daring thing: a Malian girl with an acoustic guitar. Why should the guitar be only for men?” Fatou bought herself a guitar and started to teach herself, and at the same time began to write down her own compositions.
She made the decision to dedicate herself to her passion, music. She worked to complete an album’s worth of songs and started recording demos for which she composed and arranged all the titles, as well as playing guitar, percussion, bass and singing lead and harmony vocals. An introduction from Oumou Sangaré resulted in a record deal with World Circuit and the recording of her debut album.