Top Cultural Events in Los Angeles: March 22-28

by Tom Nguyen

Eclectic week of music, friends: JAIN from France and Princess Nokia* play sold-out shows. BIA and Los Rakas in town too. So much beautiful fusion of jazz, ambient, soul, blues and world music: Josef Leimberg & The Astral Progressions, Low Leaf & Mia Doi Todd, José James*, Dexter Story and Marcel Camargo leading a whole cast of talents in Celebrating African Heritage, Yemen Blues and CharlElie Couture*. East LA’s Quetzal album release show at JACCC and Buyepongo, 4th Annual Mariachi Women’s Festival, La Chamba, and a new favorite, El Santo Golpe, bring tropical heat to the IE. Aloe Blacc, Cambalache & Jornaleros Del Norte will sing to show support for Pasadena voting to become a sanctuary city, Ron Finley aka the Gangsta Gardener will talk about activism at California African American Museum, the Hammer Museum hosts Her Dream Deferred: On the Status of Black Women. Hollywood Carnival celebrating Caribbean music & dance launches this Friday and much, much more happening all across SoCal this week! *Enter our ticket giveaways!


Troubadour (West Hollywood)
Wed. Mar. 23, 9pm, $15-$18, All ages
The French singer with Madagascan roots, who grew up in UAE and the Congo, plays a sold out show at the Troubadour.

Princess Nokia
Globe Theatre (Downtown)
Fri. Mar. 24, 10pm, $25, 21+
“Her full length debut project Metallic Butterfly, saw Frasqueri shape shift into the artist we now know as Princess Nokia. Heavily influenced by DrumNBass and NYC house, Butterfly was an ode to Afro-futurism, anime, comic books, love and Frasqueri’s now signature afro-indigenous urban feminism….It’s the ease with which Frasqueri slips in and out of identities and musical influences that makes her so interesting. She leaves nothing at the door and no label is sufficient: Nuyorican, African, Taina, Bruja, Queer, The Supreme, Ghetto, Tomboy, Bronx Bred, Harlemite, Santera, Goth, Bitch, Nerd, Rapper, Singer, Punk, House, Hip-Hop, Funk, Soul, Trap, Drum-n-Bass; Frasqueri proudly and defiantly embodies all of these simultaneously, while giving a middle finger to anyone who tries to put her or her music in a box.” – Mayda del Valle, EnClave.LA Continue Reading →

Top Cultural Events in Los Angeles: March 15-21

by Tom Nguyen

Top shows this week: La Chamba‘s fundraiser show, Chico Mann & Captain Planet album release show, Ethio Cali‘s tribute to musicians who recently passed on: David Axelrod, Leon Ware, Doug Lunn, and hang player Manu Delago. Julieta Venegas, Gaby Moreno and Jungle Fire are playing in OC. Indigenous rapper ALAS & more are performing a benefit for Casa Solidaria del Sur and a very rare opportunity to see Shardé Thomas and the Rising Star Fife & Drum Band, playing fife & drum blues, a vanishing tradition directly descended from African slaves. Get your boogie on with Dinamita, Chulita Vinyl Club, Discostan, Chester Whitmore and The Floor Improv.

Last chance to see Confessions of an Arab Woman, and Chicanas, Cholas y Chisme’s Su Frida Calo at CASA 0101 and The Cruise at LATC open this week. March 16 is the anniversary of the killing of Latasha Harlins, and California African American Museum will have a discussion with Latasha’s aunt and original members of Black Lives Matter. Transgender activist and immigrant Bamby Salcedo will speak at CSULA followed by a screening of Raising Zoey. Mexika New Year at Mariachi Plaza, Native American Festival in Long Beach, A Week of French Language Cinema at Theatre Raymond Kabbaz, Santa Monica Airport and Montebello art walks.


La Chamba Go Fund Me Launch Party
La Cita Bar (Downtown)
Wed. March 15, 9pm, $10, 21+
After all these years, we’re finally dropping our full length album. It has been a struggle and a long road- we are done tracking and mastering 13 songs. We’ve made this far, but need your help to get our album entitled “Ecos De La Selva” finallly replicated and packaged. Please spread the love by helping us raise funds for our first full-length album. La Chamba W/ Zapoteca Roots (Deeply Rooted Sonidero Cumbia) & Dj Fresko
Dj Glenn Red, GetDown Collective DJS
Continue Reading →

Top Cultural Events in Los Angeles: March 8-14

by Tom Nguyen

Sunny week in LA and the music calendar is hot! 3 amazing African acts back to back: rare opportunity to see legendary Salif Keita at Belly Up in San Diego, Mauritania’s Noura Mint Seymali at Cal Tech, and African Guitar Summit with master musicians from Madagascar, Guinea and Ghana at Aratani Theater. Great local artists too: Jungle Fire‘s album release at CFAER, Irene Diaz, Cuicani, The Altons, Twin Seas, Fer Uli, De’Anza, Rudy De Anda, Aztlan Underground, ViceVersa and rappers Bambu and Medusa.

This weekend’s Hindu Holi and Persian Nowruz spring festivals are tempered by the recent racially-motivated shootings and murders of Indian and Sikh men across the country, some mistaken as Iranians. With the murders of 7 transgender women already in 2017, representation and humanization of anyone regarded as different is not just important, it’s a matter of life and death. That’s why it’s crucial to support the 1st annual Lambda LitFest Los Angeles, Viva La Muxer benefiting Las Fotos Project and Eres Poderosa Vol. 2 at Espacio 1839, and Shoruq Children’s Debka & Hip-hop at Downey Theatre direct from Palestine, to elevate and celebrate marginalized voices.

Diné (Navajo) Grandmothers are paying a rare visit to raise awareness of the plight of their Arizona homeland, Native Voices and Los Angeles Theater Center premiere new plays, and Downtown Bookfest features Mayda Del Valle, Cut Chemist and Get Lit poets. Rapturous Afro-Brazilian dance company Balé Folclórico da Bahia are in town too. Enjoy the video from African Guitar Summit and use code AFRICA to get $10 discount on orchestra seats for their Saturday show at Aratani Theater!


The Altons, Cuicani, Gemma Castro
East Side Luv (Boyle Heights)
Wed. Mar. 8, 9pm, Free, 21+
We were honored with the opportunity to premiere Cuicani’s new video “New Day” last week and this week, you can see them live for free with another favorite, The Altons, and Gemma Castro! Continue Reading →

Top Cultural Events in Los Angeles: March 1-7

by Tom Nguyen

March is Women’s History Month and there are lots of events this week honoring the hard work, advocacy and empowerment women have been doing in our communities of color. Mujeres de Maiz, featuring so many powerful women artists, celebrates 20 years at LA Plaza, AF3IRM leads the International Women’s Day March and Rally, Chingona Fire & more great WOC artists at Skirball for March Forth!

Musically a hot week & so proud of LA’s Latin indie bands! Chicano Batman at The Roxy, Quetzal & Cambalache at Shannon CenterBoiler Room: Buyepongo + Quantic + Mexican Institute of Sound, La Chamba is at Eastside Luv, Boogaloo Assassins with Quitapenas at Alex’s Bar. Brazilian music fans can catch Thalma de Freitas honoring her legendary father Laércio de Freitas at Blue Whale, and Kátia Moraes presents the 6th Brazilian Heart with 13 Brazilian women singers at Electric Lodge. Ethio Cali‘s Todd Simon celebrates his birthday with special guests at General Lee‘s and Jungle Fire horns are backing up The Break Beats at The Lost Knight (Don’t miss JF’s release show March 10 at CFAER!). In town are Sinkane at Bootleg, José González at Royce Hall, Helado Negro at Resident. Maleek Berry will spin Afrobeat-Pop at Afrolituation at Los Globos, SF’s long-running Non Stop Bhangra returns to LA at Resident, and the Colombian community celebrates Carnaval de Barranquilla at Globe Theater. Hot tip: Catch Sudan Archives, fast rising Stones Throw artist, at Andando: Erika Moreira exhibit opening at O Gallery.

Lots of community events this week too: Outfest Fusion LGBT People of Color Film Festival, #BlackLivesMatter: Mothers of the Movement will have a conversation with Sybrina Fulton (Trayvon Martin) and Lezley McSpadden (Michael Brown) at CSULA. LA Story at MOLAA celebrates Chicano lifestyle and car culture. The Markaz reflects on 10th Anniversary of the bombing of Baghdad’s Al-Mutanabbi Street, at Chevalier Books15th Annual Los Angeles Lantern Festival at Chinese American Musem, Cherry Blossom Festival at Descanso Gardens, and Metro presents 626 Golden Streets. Colors of Guatemala Book Launch at CARECEN-LA, First Thursdays in Little Ethiopia and much more below!


Continue Reading →

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO PREMIERE: ‘New Day’ by Cuicani a much needed message of positivity right now

by Tom Nguyen

We’re in very dark times right now in this country and there are very few Los Angeles bands like Cuicani who are as embedded in our most affected communities and advocating for them on a daily basis. They not only bring light to social justice issues with their music, but all of them are on the front line as music and arts educators working to inspire youth from K through 12th grades.

Along with last year’s release of their debut double album, Now and Then, Cuicani have been releasing music videos that highlight each of their singers, as well as the social issues that each song addresses. “For Them Now” featured Misa Della calling for black and brown unity in response to injustice and police brutality. Marlene Beltran-Cuauh honors our indigenous people and reminds us the importance of protecting our Mother Earth with “Mama”.

“New Day” is the third and final video in this series and shows the lighter side of Cuicani. Tony Sauza is front and center on vocals and guitar and the Northeast Los Angeles native explains, “the song embodies the joy and hope that comes with new beginnings, despite living in difficult and challenging times.”

Rounding out the Cuicani Collective are Caitlin Moss on drums and John Northup on bass and the video follows the band through various parts of LA and the cultural spaces they inhabit. It’s a reminder that it’s okay to take a break from our daily struggles in these uncertain times and remember what’s important. Self-care, friendship, music…our camaraderie with each other will help keep us strong, positive and with the strength to keep fighting for each other.

So enjoy the video, check in with each other, and look for Cuicani’s next performance Wednesday, March 8, at Eastside Luv Bar in Boyle Heights, with The Altons, as well as a new single to be released in late March.

Dobet Gnahoré: A Phenomenal Performance by an Astounding Pan-African Artist

Story and photos by guest writer Samuel Bresenden

Last Saturday night in Los Angeles provided the rare opportunity to experience the shining star that is Dobet Gnahoré, an extraordinary artist from the Ivory Coast in West Africa. Dobet is a gifted singer, dancer, and multi-instrumentalist. Along with her band Na Afriki (‘To Afrika’), Dobet delivered a fascinating performance in a very intimate venue at Cal State LA’s Luckman Fine Arts Complex.

The concert was presented in a smaller stage, which may have seemed less deserving than the main large theater. While that did not appear to reflect the talent of the artist, nor the publicity she deserved, it certainly proved to be a benefit to the discerning music aficionados who filled the hall. It gave the chance for the audience to see, hear, and feel Dobet’s music and commanding stage presence very up close and personal, in a way that might not have been the same in the larger theatre.

The night started with the stage in near darkness, drummer Mike Dibo walked in first, sat down at his drum set, opened with a ‘talking drum’ like solo, then eased into a soft rhythm that welcomed Dobet to the stage. She picked up her Mbira, (a traditional thumb piano instrument from Zimbabwe), launched into a swaying, soulful melody that interlocked with the drums patterns, and was joined seamlessly by guitarist Julien Pestre and bassist Valéry Assouan. Continue Reading →

Australian sensation Tash Sultana plays dynamic Sold Out LA show at The Echo

Story and photos by guest writer Gerren Kelsaw

Australian born Natasha Sultana, known on stage as Tash Sultana, is representative of a new cadre of artists in the internet age. The self taught guitarist and singer-songwriter garnered millions of hits with busking videos before embarking on her professional career. The warm reception even led her to ask the audience at The Echo “How did you hear about me?”

Sultana came on stage in her trademark style. A loose Harley Davidson T-shirt and baseball cap covering her long curly locks. Her looping guitar style mesmerizes as she uses beatboxing and rhythmic licks to build the base of sonically fulfilling tracks. What is most compelling about her performance are the dynamics she uses to work the crowd. Unafraid to reach for the upper notes whilst still availing herself of the raw and rugged parts of her voice. Varying her playing style between fast guitar in rock style and quiet almost bluesy tones throughout the set. Tash is reminiscent of early Ani DiFranco crossed with the timbre and sweetness of Adele. Perhaps her most recognized song “Jungle” brought the sold out concert venue to raucous appreciation. Continue Reading →

Low Leaf’s release party for Palm Psalms took me on a dreamy journey into her world

Credit: Jorge Alarcon-Swaby

by guest writer Fernanda Ulibarri

On Friday, February 10th, independent based LA artist Low Leaf put a beautiful event together to celebrate her CD release entitled Palm Psalms at Center for the Arts Eagle Rock.

The venue is beautiful, spacious, and a historic landmark. Built in 1914 as a Carnegie library, it was declared a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 1985. They provide cultural events to the community and put together an awesome music festival in the summer. The space smelled like incense and Thai food. There was a small market section, food, a bar, and colorful projections on the walls. It was a cozy and magical atmosphere that made the event special. It was not only about the music, it was like entering Low Leaf’s world.

I heard about Low Leaf through a friend. I checked her out on YouTube and saw a video where she plays an Aaliyah cover. It’s so adorable! I’ve been waiting for a while to see her live but it wasn’t until this event that I had the opportunity to see her show. Continue Reading →

Top Cultural Events in Los Angeles: Feb. 22-28

by Tom Nguyen

My musical highlights this week: Flowers RDM with Aponte, Mark de Clive Lowe, The Nile Project, a collective of 12 musicians from 7 Nile River countries highlighting the need for all of us to work together to solve our water issues. In fact, VPAC has a whole Global Fest before the show this Saturday featuring performers from Brazil, West Africa, Middle East, Japan, Mexico and Hawaii. Head to 17th Annual Brazilian Carnaval celebrating 100 Years of Samba! EnClave.LA traces its roots back to when I attended my first one in 2007…read my interview with Patricia Leao of Brazilian Nites Productions, its founder. Gonna vibe out to the indie pop magic of Gavin Turek and Buscabulla. And what better way to celebrate Mardi Gras than with The Hot 8 Brass Band direct from New Orleans? You can celebrate at Long Beach Mardi Gras too as well as the 15th Annual African American Festival. Jazz fans can catch Charles Wright with Barbara Morrison, Dianne Reeves and Tigran Hamasyan. Get your boogie on with Selenamos, Habesha LA‘s monthly Origins, LA Cruise Night’s Scam and Jam and Late Night Laggers‘ 4 year party.

Support grassroots community events, for and by the communities they serve: Leimert Park Art Walk, Bob Baker’s Days with Very Be Careful, PYCF’s 8th Annual Art For Hearts Fundraiser, Past, Present, Future: Black & Brown L.A., Barrio of Arts at Primera Taza, We Are Many Art Show at MCAU. It’s also Oscar weekend and film geeks like me can catch Oscar docs and shorts at IDA DocuDay and Egyptian Theatre. People of color and our stories are still invisible in Hollywood, so be sure to support independent films this week like Cry Now, The Other Barrio, Varsity Punks and Hollywood Black Film Festival. The free Italia Los Angeles film festival ends this week too.


Flowers RDM: Live w/ Aponte, Mark de Clive Lowe & more
Los Globos (Silverlake)
Thu. Feb. 23, 9pm-2am, $12, 21+
Flowers RDM : quality music, love and purpose. Celebrating Black History with Afro-Caribbean Vibes. With performances by Aponte, Mark de Clive Lowe ft. Nia Andrews, Cunya and more! Spinning on the 1’s and 2’s Dj Cee Brown and DJ Melaaza. #FlowersRDM #Bloom #BlackLatinxHistory #flowervibes

Gavin Turek
The Echo (Echo Park)
Thu. Feb. 23, 8:30pm, $8-$11.50, 21+
It’s impossible not to become infatuated with disco-pop princess Gavin Turek. The LA Native is always clad in a hand-made 70s fringe dress (she has one in every color) and armed with the best dance moves you’ve ever seen. It’s easy to draw comparisons anywhere from Tina Turner to Beyoncé but really, Gavin is her own force to be reckoned with.

Treehouse Rooftop Lounge (Chinatown)
Thu. Feb. 23, 9pm-2am, $10, 21+
Selenamos (LA’s Selena Premiere Tribute band)  is back with one more party in Chinatown L.A. with Dvj Charlie C. Cumbia-Merengue-Bachata-Salsa-Reggaeton
+Rock En Español-Top 40-MashUps & 80’s.  Presale tickets only $10.00! This event will sell out. See you there! Continue Reading →

Interview: Brazilian Carnaval’s 17 Year History and Celebrating 100 Years of Samba this Friday!

by Tom Nguyen

When I got a second chance to go back to college in OC at age 32, I joined the Pan American Latino Society, and some members took me to my first Brazilian Carnaval in 2007. Never had I experienced such an exuberant cultural affair. I was totally immersed and swept away by the sights, sounds and open hearts of the Brazilian community, and I’ve been trying to document cultural events throughout Los Angeles ever since.

I got a chance to interview Patricia Leao, founder of Brazilian Nites Productions, which has faithfully put on an authentic Brazilian Carnaval in Los Angeles the past 17 years and reminisce some more on its history, leading up to the latest edition this Friday, Feb. 24, at Teragram Ballroom, celebrating another milestone: 100 years of Samba!

EnClave.LA: Congratulations on 17 years! I’ve been going to your Carnaval for a decade now! My college friends in OC took me to my first Carnaval in 2007 when you had it on the Queen Mary. It was really my first introduction to not only the Brazilian community but ultimately to sparking my passion for covering LA’s diverse and rich cultural scene.

Brazilian Nites: Wow! This is nice to know Tom! A lot of times (most of them), the reward is exactly this…people like you becoming a follower of the culture of Brazil, as part of what we planted. And I agree, LA has an amazing diverse and rich cultural scene that is very authentic.

EnClave.LA: I know it’s a big labor of love each year for you and your team.

Brazilian Nites: Yes, it is! I take great pride in making it as authentic as possible.

EnClave.LA: What have been the highlights for you these past 17 years and why is it important to you to keep this tradition going in LA? Continue Reading →