Evening Concerts at the 45th Annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival

June 28, 2011
News Release

The 45th annual Folklife Festival will feature a series of evening concerts. All performances are free to the public. The 10-day Festival will be held Thursday, June 30, through Monday, July 4, and Thursday, July 7, through Monday, July 11, outdoors on the National Mall between 7th and 14th streets. Festival hours are from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day, with special evening events such as concerts and dance parties beginning at 5:30 p.m. The Festival is co-sponsored by the National Park Service.

Colombia: The Nature of Culture

“Recorrido musical por Colombia: Expresiones Citadinas y Ritmos Caribeños” will take visitors on a “Musical Journey Through Colombia: City Expressions and Caribbean Rhythms.” The concert will feature Circo Ciudad, a theater and circus troupe for young adults, and a Medellín-style tango performance. Don Abundio y sus Traviesos will demonstrate traditional dance moves and rhythms from the Momposino Depression in Colombia’s Caribbean region. The concert will take place Friday, July 1, at 6 p.m. on the Al son que me toquen stage.

“Recorrido musical por Colombia: Bailando Salsa, Carranga y Joropo,” will take visitors on a “Musical Journey Through Colombia: Dancing Salsa, Carranga and Joropo.” El Pueblo Canta will perform carranguera music from the Andean Highlands accompanied by dancers. Grupo Cabrestero will perform joropo music from Colombia’s Southeastern Plains. They also will be accompanied by dancers who will demonstrate a dance called joropo. Dancers performing Salsa de Cali, a form of salsa originating in Colombia, will also perform. The concert will take place Friday, July 8, at 6 p.m. on the Al son que me toquen stage.

Colombia Program/Folkways Concerts

On Saturday, July 2, Chirimía la Contundencia will perform chirimía music from Colombia’s Pacific coast. The concert also will feature Grammy-nominated Cimarrón who will perform música llanera (plains music) from its new Smithsonian Folkways album Full-Throttle Cimarron.  The concert will begin at 6 p.m. on the Al son que me toquen stage.

On Saturday, July 9, Aires del Campo will perform traditional music from the coffee region of Colombia, and Ayombe will play accordion-driven vallenato from the Independent Music
Award-winning Smithsonian Folkways album and Smithsonian Channel documentary The Accordion Kings. The concert will begin at 6 p.m. on the Al son que me toquen stage.

The Peace Corps: Fifty Years of Promoting World Peace and Friendship

On Sunday, July 3, the Garifuna Collective featuring Umalali will perform a concert highlighting the music of African-Amerindian Garifuna communities located on the Caribbean coasts of Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. The group’s member use their music and energetic performances to preserve their culture and share it with the world. This concert will begin at 6 p.m. on the program’s World Stage.

On Sunday, July 10, Peru Gozando, a five-piece band consisting of bass, bongo, cajón, piano and a vocalist, will perform a concert of traditional Peruvian music and dance. The concert will begin at 5:30 p.m. on the program’s World Stage.  

Rhythm and Blues: Tell It Like It Is

The Festival’s evening concert series will begin Thursday, June 30, with an evening of Soul Train and a dance party. Soul Train was a popular influential television program of the 1970s and 1980s. The evening will feature a conversation with past and current Soul Train personalities, followed by music and dancing reminiscent of the program. The party will begin at 6 p.m. on the Motor City stage.

On Friday, July 1, the Motor City stage will come alive with the sounds of Motown legend Martha Reeves (of Martha and the Vandellas). During the concert, Reeves will share conversation and perform some of her greatest hits from her more than 40-year career. The concert will begin at 6 p.m.

On Saturday, July 2, Jerry “Swamp Dogg” Williams will perform a concert of soul music on the Motor City stage. The concert will begin at 6 p.m.

On Sunday, July 3, the Motor City stage will come alive with the sounds of The Funk Brothers, with guest Kim Weston, a former Motown recording artist. “The Funk Brothers” was a nickname given to a group of session musicians who performed the backing music on most Motown records from 1959 to 1972. The concert will begin at 6 p.m.

Fred Wesley, a jazz and funk trombonist, and his band, The New JB’s, will perform an evening of funk music Thursday, July 7, on the Motor City stage. Wesley was the arranger, music director and composer for James Brown, and he later arranged for and performed with Parliament-Funkadelic. The performance will begin at 6 p.m.

On Friday, July 8, the Rhythm and Blues program pays tribute to the legendary girl groups of the 1960s with a concert by The Dixie Cups. The concert begins at 6 p.m. on the Motor City stage.

On Sunday, July 10, the Motor City stage will feature “An Evening with Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff and a Tribute to Philadelphia International Records.” During their careers, Gamble and Huff wrote and produced more than 170 gold and platinum records for artists such as the O’Jays, Billy Paul, Lou Rawls and Patti LaBelle. In 1971, the pair formed Philadelphia International Records and released some of the most popular soul music of the 1970s. The concert will begin at 6 p.m.

Rinzler Memorial Concert

This year’s Ralph Rinzler Memorial Concert will take place Saturday, July 9, at 5:30 p.m. on the Peace Corps program’s World Stage. Each year, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival holds a special evening concert in honor of the Festival’s co-founder, Ralph Rinzler (1934-1994) and a key collaborator. This year’s concert pays tribute to his wife, Kate Rinzler, and her involvement in children’s education, using art and folklore to teach social issues. Rinzler’s legacy will be celebrated with a program dedicated to children’s music and games. This year’s concert will feature Elizabeth Mitchell, who recorded two critically acclaimed albums for Smithsonian Folkways: You Are My Little Bird, which was voted Best Children’s Album in 2006 by Amazon.com, and Sunny Day, which earned a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. She will be joined on stage by Suni Paz, a well-known folk singer and songwriter who will be performing songs in English and Spanish. Chip Taylor and the Grandkids will perform songs from the upcoming Smithsonian Folkways album, Golden Kids Rules.

Online Highlights

Can’t make it to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival this year? Video highlights from many of the concerts will be posted at www.festival.si.edu. Music can be previewed and CDs and digital downloads from many of the performers may be purchased at the Smithsonian Folkways website (www.folkways.si.edu).

About the Festival

The Folklife Festival, inaugurated in 1967, honors people from across the United States and around the world. With approximately 1 million visitors each year, the Festival unites presenters and performers in the nation’s capital to celebrate the diversity of cultural traditions. It is produced by the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. The Festival’s website is www.festival.si.edu.

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