The tenth anniversary season of KCRW's World Festival at the Hollywood Bowl continues on Sunday, June 29, at 7pm, with a compelling and rare double bill featuring Gilberto Gil and Devendra Banhart, who share the stage for the very first time. The Album Leaf featuring Mike Heron from The Incredible String Band opens the show. KCRW DJ Anne Litt hosts.
The inspiration for this pairing began with Banhart, a Texas-born, Venezuela-raised world-folk epicurean who exploded on the international music scene in 2002, quickly winning instantly devoted fans and hefty critical acclaim. He often identifies Tropicalismo pioneers as major influences, including Gilberto Gil, one of the most relevant contributors to the Tropicalia and bossa nova movements. The artistic match fit perfectly into the KCRW World Festival series, one that strives to present non-traditional, one-of-a-kind, concerts by pairing artists from different genres and locations from around the globe. Banhart performs in support of his fifth release, Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon.
Gil appeared on the very first year of the World Festival at the Hollywood Bowl in 1999, and returns for the tenth anniversary of the series' adventurous programming with a full band line-up, performing repertoire from his new release Banda Larga Cordel (June 2008/Warner Music Latina).
Mike Heron was added to the bill when he came up during research as a common link to both Banhart and Gil. Banhart often praises Incredible String Band as a major influence, and has already performed with cofounder Clive Palmer. During Gil's exile in London in 1969, he collaborated with the Incredible String Band, taking their influence back to Bahia upon his return. The Album Leaf collaborates with Mike Heron for this very special appearance at the Bowl. The Album Leaf is a mostly an instrumental project from San Diego, and they are eager to shape their malleable and ambient post-rock sound into a new form with the iconic founder of the Incredible String Band. Joining them is Mike Heron's daughter, vocalist Georgia Seddon.
GILBERTO GIL has developed one of the most renowned careers as a singer, composer and guitar-player in both world and pop music. In a career that has spanned four decades, with over 30 albums released, Gil has six gold records, four platinum singles and five million records sold. The Tropicalia genre he introduced, alongside Caetano Veloso, has secured his fame internationally as well as at home in Brazil. His extensive and prolific catalogue of work has been covered and recorded by Joao Gilberto, Elis Regina, Gal Costa, Sergio Mendes, Ernie Watts, and Toots Thielemans. Over the years, his political and environmental activism gained prominence alongside his musical career and reached a new height in 2002 when he was appointed minister of culture for Brazil. As a musician and as a diplomat, Gil possesses a key role in the constant modernization of Brazilian popular music and culture throughout the world. Gil's Broadband Band Tour for June and July 2008 follow his unprecedented 2007 solo tour. Banda Larga (Broad Band), the album and the tour, reaffirm Gil's irreversible engagement with the new rules and compasses of the universe of bits and bytes, embracing all of the risks and challenges. This theme that has fascinated him for more than 30 years characterized a previous tour outside of North America, also called Banda Larga, in which Gil made available as much of his work as possible for webcasts, podcasts, cellcasts, etc. The great novelty of the Broadband Band Summer Tour 2008 is really the set list. Whereas the previous tour was created around the greatest hits, this time Gilberto Gil will play a new collection of songs such as Banda Larga Cordel", Nao grude nao" and other more recent compositions.
DEVENDRA BANHART has emerged as one of the most fascinating, unpredictable and inspiring artists of his generation, and with Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon, his fifth studio release, he continues to surprise and delight an ever-increasing audience of fans and critics alike. Since Devendra Banhart released his 2002 debut Oh Me Oh My The Way The Day Goes By The Sun Is Setting Dogs Are Dreaming Lovesongs Of The Christmas Spirit, he has garnered both a devoted fan following and hefty critical kudos from around the world. 2004's Rejoicing In The Hands, Nino Rojo and 2005's Cripple Crow continued the upward trajectory. For the writing and recording of Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon, Banhart set up a home recording studio in a second floor recreation room with a panoramic view of Topanga Canyon. The new album has a nocturnal feel with performances that evoke hushed twilight atmospherics or boisterous late night partying. There's wide but natural stylistic breadth evident, running the gamut of gently crooned ballads like Bad Girl, the loping blues of Saved, epic rockers such as Seahorse, sprightly reggae tunes, sultry South American stunners like Cristobal, and a few fun surprises mixed in for good measure.
LaValle has released critically-acclaimed solo work as THE ALBUM LEAF (the name comes from a Chopin piece) since 1999's mellow An Orchestrated Rise to Fall (Linkwork). The releases that followed bubble with moody, contemplative slow builds and Brian Eno-inspired compositional atmospherics. Structural drum and bass undertones ground and direct dreamscapes that are painted with varieties of organic instruments, making for sonic journeys that are as whimsical as they are epic. During the realization of 2003's Lifetime or More (Arena Rock) and Seal Beach (Acuarela) EPs, he prepared himself to take on a new direction by founding his rich, textural documents on minimalist beats. After constant touring, LaValle used time bought by the success of his Sub Pop debut, 2004's In a Safe Place (which saw songs as the soundtrack to six episodes of The OC, and stints with CBS, NBC and Showtime). He sequestered himself for six months in his San Diego house solely to write. This upswing of downtime resulted in his fourth full-length, 2006's Into the Blue Again, a return to The Album Leaf's conception with LaValle handling virtually all of the instrumental duties. Indeed, personal focus has been LaValle's primary objective with Into the Blue Again. The album's 10 tracks exhibit an elegant, ascendant assurance.
MIKE HERON, together with Robin Williamson and Clive Palmer, was a founder member of Edinburgh's Incredible String Band. Formed in 1965, they soon broke from folk club beginnings and pioneered an eclectic, world music approach on such Witchseason albums as 5000 Spirits or The Layers of the Onion and The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter, which propelled them into the Top 5 of the British charts behind the Beatles, Cream and the Rolling Stones. They produced over 14 seminal albums and appeared at the famous 1969 Woodstock Festival. Mike's 1971 solo album Smiling Men With Bad Reputations featured a stellar cast from the aristocracy of folk-pop-rock musicians, including Pete Townshend, Richard Thompson, Elton John, Jimmy Page, Steve Winwood, Keith Moon, Dave Pegg and Ronnie Lane. The ISB, together with a dance troupe called Stone Monkey, went on to form a late-Sixties artistic community at Glen Row in the Scottish Borders and took in enthusiastic experiments with theater, film and a wide variety of musical approaches until their final incarnation as a six-piece folk-rock band. Mike's solo album Where the Mystics Swim revealed a songwriter pushing the boundaries, but retaining his originality, creativity and musical integrity.
GEORGIA SEDDON is a pianist, vocalist, songwriter and percussionist who trained from an early age at the world renowned City of Edinburgh Music School. She is currently pursuing her Masters degree in piano performance with a specialist interest in the work of Argentinian composer Alberto Ginastera. Georgia has frequently joined her father, Mike Heron, in concert where their instinctive musical connection has created a compelling interpretation of songs old and new.
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 40th 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 2008, the Hollywood Bowl was named Best Major Outdoor Concert Venue for the fourth year in a row at the 19th Annual Pollstar Concert Industry Awards. The Bowl's summer music festival has become as much a part of a Southern California summer as beaches and barbecues, the Dodgers, and Disneyland.
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