Week’s Highlights: March 16-20

by Tom Nguyen

IMG_5626Wednesday, March 16, sister trio A-WA from Israel enthralled the packed crowd at The Echo with their Yemeni folk music. Tair, Liron & Tagel Haim (originally known as The Haim Sisters and not to be confused with another sister trio Haim) grew up in a small village Shaharut in the southern Israeli Arava Valley. Since childhood, the girls have been singing traditional songs passed down from their Yemeni grandmother. The love and protest songs of women in the Yemeni-Arabic dialect have been passed on as an oral tradition. Continue Reading →

Mario Garcia’s new book preserves Chicano Movement history with powerful testimonials by activist leaders

mario-garciaby Amanda Wang

Mario Garcia 2(1)

Photo by Sonia Fernandez

(PASADENA) — It’s a little after 7PM on August 4th, a Tuesday. In the second story of the Vroman’s Bookstore, overlooking Colorado Boulevard, the murmur of a crowd would distract from the selection of gifts and stationary, and the children’s classics and colorful toys.

Before a curtain in Vroman’s signature green is Professor Mario T. Garcia, praised as the “premier historian of the Chicano movement,” here to sign his latest book, and the turn-out is such that more chairs would be a legal fire hazard. Amongst the community are elders with heads of hair long turned white, and spirited little ones, giddy and restless throughout the proceedings. Latecomers lean against the shelves and the stairwell. A member of the crowd cries, “Viva Pachuco!”

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My Picks for Make Music Pasadena Sat Jun 1

Make Music Pasadena
is on Saturday, June 1, and is a great start to the first month of Summer! What I love about music festivals is also what I hate: too many choices!! Over 150 concerts will be featured there! Add to that conflicting set times and throngs of people to get through and my decision-making falls along 2 groups: great musicians I’ve seen before (and love to support) and new acts to be discovered. You can’t go wrong with any of the great bands playing this Saturday but here are my picks. It’s a free festival but please consider donating $5 to support your local music and festivals like this one! It’s forecast to be 92 in Pasadena, so drink lots of water, don’t forget your sunblock and like the song goes…don’t let the heat get you down!

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New Music Discovery: Dom La Nena. LA Shows June 1-2

(UPDATE: 5/31/13: Just saw my blog featured on Dom La Nena’s Facebook page where she says these shows are her very FIRST shows in the US, so you definitely don’t want to miss them!)
Thanks to KCRW, I just discovered Dom La Nena who was born in Brazil, lives in France and studied cello in Argentina. Her music is as intricate as her upbringing, spanning 3 countries, 3 languages and an early calling to the cello. Born Dominique Pinto in the southern Brazilian city of Porto Allegre, Dom started playing piano around age 5 but very soon fell in love with the cello and wanted to devote her life to it. She moved with her family to Paris, France when she was eight so her father could pursue his doctorate while she continued studying cello. Upon returning to Brazil 5 years later, Dom could not find a cello teacher and started writing letters to acclaimed American cellist Christine Walevska, known as “the goddess of the cello”. With Walevska’s encouragement and her parents’ support, Dom moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina at the age of 13 to study with Walevska until she returned to France at age 18. Her song “No Meu Pais” exquisitely captures her uprooted life without any one place to call home.

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The Record Company Tour, New Video and Free EP Download!

I love The Record Company. I first saw them at School Night at Bardot and they blew me away with their raw rock and blues. They just released a new video for their song This Crooked City and recently announced their 2013 tour which will start here in Los Angeles and take them through Canada. Catch them at one of their remaining shows in Southern California before they leave and download their EP Superdead for free here.

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Support Free Arts for our Children and Community! 3 Days Left to Vote for Levitt Pavilions for $100K Grant!


The Levitt Pavilion is vying for $100,000 in grant money in the LA2050 contest sponsored by the Goldhirsch Foundation. The Levitt Pavilion recognizes that drastic funding cuts to arts education in LA schools are hurting our children and want to use this funding to continue their nonprofit work in offering free hands-on interactive workshops for children to involve and inspire them in the arts. There’s only 3 days left to vote and Levitt Pavilion is now in the top 10…let’s help get them to Number one by noon Wednesday, April 17! Vote Now Here! Continue Reading →