Rise Up! New Mexico Stands With Haiti, Benefit Concert

RiseUp-NewMexico-HaitiAvokado Artists, Albuquerque Little Theatre & world music festival ¡Globalquerque!  have put together a benefit concert titled Rise Up! New Mexico Stands With Haiti. The concert will take place Thursday, January 28th at 7:00 pm at Albuquerque Little Theater in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Tickets are $10.00 and all net proceeds will go directly to Direct Relief International’s efforts in Haiti. The multi-genre evening of music includes Rahim AlHaj, Soul Kitchen, Asper Kourt, Poema and Mariachi Mystery Tour.

Rahim AlHaj

Iraqi oud virtuoso and composer Rahim AlHaj is no stranger to hardship. A refugee from his home country where he was jailed and tortured over a two year period, Rahim has found a new home in Albuquerque even as his star has risen internationally. He has performed and recorded with master musicians from around the globe. Next month he will perform as part of the Cultural Olympiad at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.

This September Rahim AlHaj will release a project entitled Little Earth: Voices For Peace, a two-CD set which feature Rahim’s compositions performed in collaboration with the likes of Bill Frisell, Robert Mirabal, REM’s Peter Buck, Maria de Barros, Liu Fang, Guy Klucevsek, Yacouba Sissoko, Argentina’s Santa Fe Guitar Quartet and many others.

Soul Kitchen

Something of an Albuquerque super group, Soul Kitchen features vocalist extraordinaire Hillary Smith, winner of Albuquerque the Magazine’s 2009 Best Vocalist and whose latest CD No Easy Way walked away with five 2009 New Mexico Music Awards including Best of the Year), guitar hero Chris Dracup (Albuquerque the Magazine’s 2009 Best Musician and musical journeyman Tommy Elskes, who has done everything from perform with the likes of Lyle Lovett and B.B. King to writing songs for The Flintstones! Together they are much more than the sum of their parts. Soul Kitchen creates a dynamic blues-drenched soul that musically wanders somewhere between Saturday night revelry and Sunday morning redemption.

Asper Kourt

Even though he refers to Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, and John Mayer as musical favorites, Asper Kourt’s singer-songwriter Kevin Herig writes and plays music in a class all his own. While he does pull from his influences to gain inspiration, most of Herig’s songs and lyrics are wittingly and expressively written about his own personal experiences.

Still a very young group – Asper Kourt formed in 2007 with Mat Beston (Bass), Nate Boitano (Lead Guitar), Kurt Sorenson (Keyboard) and Heath Warren (Drums & Percussion) – the band was recently voted Best Local Band Headed for Stardom by Albuquerque the Magazine. Their fan base continues to grow throughout the southwest and beyond. In November 2008, Asper Kourt recorded their first EP, Changing Times which was released nationally February 23, 2009.


Although they didn’t necessarily know how it would play out in their future plans, music has always played a key role in the lives of Shealeen and Elle, two sisters (19 and 17 years old, respectively) who’ve discovered that songwriting is a pretty great vehicle for saying exactly what’s on their minds. Unlike many siblings who spar and fight at the drop of the hat, Shealeen and Elle’s don’t use their songs to vent their frustration against each other. Instead, the lilting melodies and memorable harmonies they’ve created only underscore the beauty of collaboration.

With song inspiration ranging from a Pride & Prejudice moment of hopeless romanticism (“Safe to Say”) to an ode to a shall-remained-nameless member of the opposite sex (“Blue Sweater”), Shealeen and Elle love serving up these melodic slices of life. Recently signed to indie label Tooth & Nail, look for Poema’s new CD later this year.

Mariachi Mystery Tour

Lorenzo and Rob Martinez grew up in a musical family headed by their father Roberto, the patriarch of New Mexico’s legendary Los Reyes de Albuquerque. They cut their teeth as part of their father’s band, with which they still perform. Along the way, Lorenzo became a National Endowment for The Arts Heritage Fellow.

What is maybe less known, is that while the Martinez hermanos are committed to their New Mexican music roots, they have an abiding love of pop and rock music, having performed and recorded such music collectively and separately over the years Their latest project brings together two parts of their musical worlds: the song canon of the Beatles done ala mariachi! It is a musical fusion that is flawlessly executed and a whole lot of fun!

Tickets available at Albuquerque Little Theater Box Office by phone: 505-242-4750 ext. 2, online at: www.albuquerquelittletheater.org or at the door

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Author: World Music Central News Department

World music news from the editors at World Music Central


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