KCRW’s World Music Festival at the Hollywood Bowl 2007

The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association partners with KCRW for the 9th consecutive year to present KCRW’s World Music Festival at the Hollywood Bowl. After a record-breaking 2006 season, the series continues to offer one-of-a-kind performances with renowned artists from across the musical globe. Held on Sunday evenings, each concert is hosted by a KCRW DJ: Nic Harcourt, Jason Bentley, Garth Trinidad, Anne Litt, Chris Douridas and Tom Schnabel.

The 2007 KCRW World Music Festival opens on Sunday, June 24 with DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist performing Brain Placement: 7 Inches of Fury, the next installment of the pair’s tag team DJ brilliance. DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist reunite for this debut performance of classic tracks and music from their legendary release Brainfreeze. The Brain Placement: 7 Inches of Fury set is a sampling showcase of lost yet cherished old school funk, soul, rock and jazz singles for both the old school fan and the uninitiated record spinner. This is the only U.S. performance among European tour dates planned for this summer.

After his electrifying debut performance in 1999, Carlinhos Brown returns to the Hollywood Bowl in support of his 2007 release, A Gente Ainda Não Sonhou . An invigorating performer, Brown mixes music from his native Bahia with pop, rock, Latin, soul and funk, producing carnival-inducing music for the masses. The show opens with West Africa’s reggae ensemble Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars. Living through unimaginable tragedy, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars’ triumph is an inspiration and symbol of the healing power of music. Their songs are told from the band’s personal experiences, but the messages delivered are universal. Their debut record, Living Like a Refugee, is comprised of songs written during their years in exile and serves as a musical document of the band’s incredible journey.

Remaining World Festival concerts include:

Hailing from Mexico, alternative rock en español pioneers Café Tacuba make their first return since 2003 on Sunday, July 15, along with London’s electronica duo Groove Armada. Café Tacuba performs in support of their sixth full-length studio album due out in September, and Groove Armada gives U.S. fans their first live taste of Soundboy Rock, the follow-up to 2003’s Lovebox.

On Sunday, July 29, Spirit of Armenia! brings together a large group of distinguished local and international Armenian artists. Acclaimed leaders of modern Armenian pop music, Adiss, Andy, Silva Hakobyan and Sako, make their Hollywood Bowl debuts. Musician and composer Jivan Gasparyan performs Armenian folk music playing the duduk, the traditional woodwind instrument of Armenia. Gasparyan is a master of the duduk, having dedicated over 50 years of his life to studying the instrument. Winds of Passion, comprised of some of the most accomplished duduk players in the world today, performs as a duduk quartet, the first of its kind.

Young tenor Hovhannes Shahbazyan sings Armenian traditional folk and gousan music, and classical pianist and composer Vatché Mankerian also performs a specially arranged composition of Armenian folk and classical repertoire. Los Angeles-based ensemble, Element Band, draws inspiration from widespread and multicultural sources, resulting in a unique Armenian “folk-fusion” sound. Conductor Roma Kanyan leads a special band created for this Spirit of Armenia! program, which backs the Armenian pop singers in the second half. Zvartnots Dance Ensemble and Vartan & Siranoush Gevorkian Dance Ensemble, dressed in rich, colorful costumes, perform high-energy choreography to both traditional and contemporary Armenian music.

Now in its sixth year, the annual Reggae Night returns on Sunday, August 12, welcoming back to the Hollywood Bowl one of the most respected roots artists in history, Burning Spear. Since his 1969 debut recording “Door Peep” for the legendary Studio One label, Burning Spear continues to produce records that evoke the struggle, passion and strength of Rastafarian culture. Also hailing from Jamaica, the prolific drum and bass duo Sly & Robbie and The Taxi Gang make their Bowl debut, accompanied by acclaimed vocalist Horace Andy, last heard at the Hollywood Bowl with Massive Attack, and dancehall songstress Cherine Anderson. The Wailing Souls, reuniting after a 22-year absence, open the show.

Macy Gray returns to the Hollywood Bowl on Sunday, August 26, in support of Big, her first release in nearly four years. Zap Mama, whose acclaimed signature sound blends soul, gospel, pygmy song and Afro-cuban rhythms, also performs for their only scheduled appearance in Southern California. Making their debut and opening the show is Brazilian Girls, an all-male ensemble with the exception of multilingual (but not Brazilian) front woman Sabina Scuibba.

Leading the dance world with their inspired mix of dub, techno, and classic house, the UK’s Underworld promise an epic evening on Sunday, September 9, as they showcase their new record at the Hollywood Bowl. Joining Underworld for this evening of electronica heavyweights is Paul Oakenfold, one of the most important DJ artists in modern club culture, and Carmen Rizzo, a Grammy-nominated producer, composer, and remixer who adds Persian influences to the DJ set.

One of the largest natural amphitheaters in the world, with a seating capacity of nearly 18,000, the Hollywood Bowl has been the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since its official opening in 1922, and in 1991 gave its name to the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, a resident ensemble that has filled a special niche in the musical life of Southern California.

The 2004 season introduced audiences to a revitalized Hollywood Bowl, featuring a newly-constructed shell and stage and the addition of four stadium screens enhancing stage views in the venue. To this day, $1 buys a seat at the top of the Bowl for many of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s concerts. While the Bowl is best known for its sizzling summer nights, during the day California’s youngest patrons enjoy "SummerSounds: Music for Kids at the Hollywood Bowl," the Southland’s most popular summer arts festival for children, now in its 39th season.

Attendance figures over the past several decades have soared: in 1980 the Bowl first topped the half-million mark and close to one million admissions have been recorded. In February 2007, the Hollywood Bowl was named Best Major Outdoor Concert Venue for the third year in a row at the 18th Annual Pollstar Concert Industry Awards.

Tickets ($7 – $95) are on sale now at HollywoodBowl.com, at the Hollywood Bowl Box Office (Tuesday – Saturday, 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.), or by calling Ticketmaster at 213.480.3232, and at all Ticketmaster outlets (Macy’s, Tower Records and Ritmo Latino locations). Groups of 10 or more may be eligible for a 20% discount, subject to availability; call 323.850.2050 for further details. For general information or to request a brochure, call 323.850.2000.

Photo credits: Carlinhos Brown by David Glaz. Jivan Gasparyan courtesy of Lian Records.