To and From the Heart: Taiwu Children’s Ancient Ballads Troupe & Daniel Ho

taiwu 001On my day off yesterday, I had the fortune of finding out about a free educational presentation by the Taiwu Children’s Ancient Ballads Troupe and Daniel Ho at Bowers Museum in Santa Ana from a friend who heard them interviewed on KPFK that same morning. I’m so glad I made the drive down to OC to catch them!

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Music, Dance, Film, Art & Cultural Events August 26 – September 2

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Enjoy the last week of August, leading into Labor Day Weekend! Kind of a slow week until Thursday…boom! Don’t miss the 5th Annual Leimert Village African Arts & Music Festival theis weekend and I never miss the Samba do Trabalhador Labor Day backyard samba party! Summer is starting to fade away…I’ll leave you with this song by Selah Sue whose show I’m not missing on Monday!

MON 8/26     TUE 8/27     WED 8/28     THU 8/29     FRI 8/30     SAT 8/31     SUN 9/1     MON 9/2

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Selah Sue and Bushwalla at El Rey Mon Aug. 26!


Here’s a tip for discovering new music from abroad before it hits US shores — get to know travelers or even host one in your home! It was 2 years ago, I was taking a Belgian CouchSurfer named Julie on a surf trip during her summer internship in LA. While listening to music during the car ride, I joked that I never heard of any good music coming from Belgium. Being a musician herself, she personally took offense, plugged her iPod into my car radio, and proceeded to school me…in the ways of Selah Sue

Wow I was immediately hooked from the opening guitar riff and her distinctive voice and cadence as she sings and raps in a blend of soul and reggae. I immediately drove home and youtubed her, finding this live performance very early in her musical career:

How does such a young girl with piercing blue eyes from a small Belgium town channel such ragga soul and command such emotional depth? Coming from a non-musical family, a music career was far from any of her thoughts as a teen. Learning to play acoustic guitar at 15, Selah Sue simply wanted to write songs as a way to deal with her teenage anxieties. “I had all these worries and depressions that I wrote down, it was a way of structuring my thoughts,” she writes on her bio. Many of her songs touch on her insecurities and coming out of her shell through her music.

And the rest is destiny: playing open mics in high school and posting her music on Myspace garnered her an instant growing fan base and offers from music producers, which she rejected early on because she wanted to write and sing her own songs. Selah Sue saved the songs she wrote as a teen, like Raggamuffin, for her self-titled debut album released in 2011. Julie left me a copy before she returned to Belgium and I’ve had it on repeat ever since.

Selah Sue writes songs like an old soul, influenced by the funk, soul and reggae rawness of her idols Lauren Hill, Erykah Badu and Bob Marley. Her stage name is in homage to Lauren Hill, whose daughter is named Selah.

I’ve also read she’s a very private person. I finally got to see her live at last year’s UCLA Jazz and Reggae Fest which I believe was one of her first performances in the US. After her set, as she walked offstage to the artist area, I and another “early adopter” who knew her music screamed at the top of our lungs “SELAH SUE” to get her attention and motioning her to come over. I think we were too eager and scared her away, as she shyly retreated away. She played acoustically that day without a backing band and she’s at her most introspective and vulnerable on songs like Mommy, when it’s just her and her guitar.

I’m really looking forward to seeing Selah Sue again and seeing how quickly she’s matured as an artist at just 24 years young on a sky-rocketing trajectory. You may have already heard her voice and not known it.

I know I’ll be ready tomorrow for my spoonful of Selah Sue’s intense soul-baring music tomorrow at the El Rey Theatre., with Bushwalla, the self-proclaimed Original Gangster from Cleveland. It’s an all ages show at 8pm and tickets are just $17.

Our Picks for the 15th Annual Eagle Rock Music Festival


The Eagle Rock Music Festival returns on Saturday, October 5, from 4-10pm! It’s an annual all-ages event hosted by the nonprofit Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock (CFAER), and coincides with their anniversary. To support their work in providing innovative music and arts for the Northeast LA community, all they ask is a $10 donation at the festival, featuring multiple stages with different tastes for everyone. These are some of the acts we’re keen to see…

Main Stage     Americana Stage      RANTZ Automotive Stage      Punk/Metal/Hard Rock Stage     Experimental Stage

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Music, Dance, Film, Art & Cultural Events August 19-25

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Hello friends! I apologize for the late posts the past few weeks. I started a new day job as well as freelancing for Remezcla.com to keep their Los Angeles calendar updated, so I’ll be making these posts very short from now on. Instead of trying to cover every possible event I know about, I’m going to post my picks of the week, the events I would personally attend as well as important community events I hear about. You can find plenty of more events just like I do…plenty of resources with my Favorite Links. I started this blog quick and dirty in February and I’d really like to make a proper website with a nicer calendar — that’s my next dream for this site (time & sleep deprivation permitting!), so if you enjoy this site, please stay tuned! In the meantime, enjoy this violin cover of The Cure by Quetzal Guerrero, my tremendously talented friend & one of the most hard-working, passionate musicians in LA…don’t miss his biggest show of the year this Thursday, Aug. 22, at the Levitt Pavilion at MacArthur Park, free to all!

MON 8/19     TUE 8/20     WED 8/21     THU 8/22     FRI 8/23     SAT 8/24     SUN 8/25

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Can’t Miss Brazilian Music & Dance Events Aug. 17-18 and more!


It’s Brazil Brazil Brazil this weekend!!! OK, there’s a lot of other things going on…too much going on this weekend in LA, but if you haven’t noticed by now, I have a big love of Brazilian culture, music and dance, and the community here is so warm, friendly and full of great talent and I don’t pass up on the chance to go to Brazilian events in LA.

Saturday, August 17, is a history making event. For the 1st time, a traditional Maracatu group from Recife, Brazil tours the US! Maracatu is steeped in Afro-Brazilian and Indigenous musical tradition and world-renowned Nação Estrela Brilhante, founded in 1906, will be joining with Nation Beat, an American Brazilian percussion group from NYC, to bring the pulsating rhythms of the music and drumming, colorful, vibrant Carnival costumes and infectious dancing to American audiences. It’s free and all-ages and part of the great outdoor summer concerts at Grand Performances in downtown California Plaza.

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Luna Lovers Premiere and 10 Reasons why I Love Las Cafeteras

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It was quite a party at Las Cafeteras Luna Lovers premiere party last week. La Santa Cecilia, Maria del Pilar, Irene Diaz and La Chamba Chicha Cumbia were in the house and big shout out to John Cantú and crew for their work on the gorgeous video and Mucho Musica and Vincent Price Art Musuem for hosting the event open to the community. It was great to see how far Las Cafeteras have come…it reminded me of the reasons I dig them so much, not just as a band but a fine group of decent, hardworking and dedicated people. Enjoy their Luna Lovers video at the end of the list!

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Troup with The English Beat at Santa Monica Pier Thursday August 15


Britpop is not dead! It’s alive and well right here in Los Angeles, where British rocker Alex Troup came to lay down new roots after leaving the UK. Alex formed his band Troup after meeting keyboardist Evan Beigel, and joined by guitarist Claudio Tristano, bassist Darren McGuire and drummer Graham Roby, they beat out other LA bands recently at Rusty’s Emerging Artist Competition to earn them a spot in the 29th Annual Twilight Concerts summer series. So bring a blanket and a picnic and enjoy the sunset over the beach, as they open for the iconic 80s British band The English Beat this Thursday, August 15, on the Santa Monica Pier.

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Music, Dance, Film, Art & Cultural Events August 12-18

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Wow we’re just blazing through August! This week, the 73rd Nisei Week continues in Little Tokyo. I haven’t been to School Night in a while but one of my favs, The Peach Kings, are playing along with UK’s Cloud Control on Monday. Tuesday, legendary Molotov is playing and it’s the monthly Cali Hustle with my talented friends Quetzal Guerrero and Miss Sunny Z. Wednesday, the Red Bull Music Academy is premiering a new live music monthly This City Belongs to Me featuring Arabian Prince, Egyptian Lover and more. I finally caught Raquel Rodriquez on the Perch rooftop last week — it’s the perfect place to chill to her sultry vocals before your main Wednesday event. Discotan is having their 1 year anniversary at Footsie’s in Cypress Park and there’s a disco dance contest as part of the festivities, so get your 70s threads and platforms ready!

As usual, Thursday is out of control! Have you ever heard of a 21-member classical orchestra playing indie rock? Then you can’t miss Austin’s Mother Falcon at Amoeba. Buyepongo lights the fire at Los Globos and Bloco Nove and my friend Gisella and her samba dancers are bringing the Brazilian carnival craziness to the weekly Afro Funke’, and Funkmosphere is celebrating its 7th anniversary with Mark de Clive-Lowe in the house at The Virgil! Whew. Before the weekend madness, Friday’s a nice break with Izzy Wise (Afrolicious) and La Tigresa (Subsuelo) at the One-Eyed Gypsy and my boys DJ Gozar (Subsuelo) and KidGusto (TropiCali) opening a new music monthly Contrast, both in downtown.

Saturday….are you ready? H2O Music Festival, Echo Park Rising running thru Sunday, the last Chinatown Summer Nights of the season, theLIFT, the monthly Bombilla on the west side and the 1st Forro night at Tropico de Nopal. This Northeastern Brazilian dance craze has been spreading globally and has reached LA. And I’m not missing this one: A Tale of Two Nations: Nação Estrela Brilhante & Nation Beat at Grand Performances. Burners who can’t wait for Burning Man to get here can test out their playa gear on Sunday and my talented friends in Samba Society are going to put on a great show with a special horn section and new material at the Levitt Pavilion in Pasadena. Plenty of great bands closing out the Echo Park Rising festival on Sunday and word is there is going to be a special Bodega just for the occasion at Senor Fish in Little Tokyo.

This week’s list is always a work-in-progress (still many more events I have to post when I get back to the computer, as well as new ones I learn about as the week goes along!). So keep checking back! Do you have an LA hidden treasure or great cause people should know about? Let me know!

It’s gonna be a great week, Angelenos…too much goodness so grab your big posse and go get it!

MON 8/12      TUE 8/13      WED 8/14      THU 8/15      FRI 8/16      SAT 8/17      SUN 8/18

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New Music Video “La Ciudad” by Monsieur Periné


Here’s the latest music video from Monsieur Periné, a great Colombian neo-swing band I profiled recently. It’s a light-hearted video of a toy soldier making his way through “La Ciudad” to find his princess, the ever enthralling Catalina García, lead singer of the group. The video follows its characters through the gorgeous, historic parts of Mexico City while the band plays in bright, gaudy outfits, which Catalina designs for all their performances.