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Goapele
Thursday 07/09
Goapele @ The Howard Theatre
$29.50 / $35
Goapele (pronounced gwa-puh-lay), which means “to move forward” in Setswana has been doing just that, moving forward and making her presence felt in the music industry since 2001 as an American soul and R&B singer/songwriter. She is currently gearing up for the release of her new album “Strong As Glass” on October 21st, 2014 featuring her single Hey Boy. Produced by Keith Harris, known for hits like “Meet Me Halfway” (Black Eyed Peas) and “American Boy” (Estelle) and a collaborative songwriting process, which included Estelle, Hey Boy is a fun, summer track with an up-tempo, flirty retro vibe that makes you want to dance. The new album Strong As Glass is being released on BMG Primary Wave / Skyblaze Recordings, and will be Goapele’s fourth studio album. She worked closely with executive producer Keith Harris, who helped push the songstress creatively, which you hear throughout the dynamic project. She also worked with R&B veteran Eric Benet and producer Demonte Posey to finish this genre-bending record. There are upbeat tracks mixed with powerful ballads, hard-hitting drums, classic Goapele vocals and even a duet with one of R&B’s top artists. Goapele’s upbringing in her hometown of Oakland, California combined with ethnic influences from her South African father and New York-born Israeli Jewish mother have created a unique artist with a passion for her music and her community. Once called the “spiritual love child of Sade and D’Angelo” by Rolling Stone magazine, Goapele has both a sensuous and serious voice that is making a difference in the music world by blending genres including jazz, soul, and hip-hop, infused with her own poetry. Following her time getting an education at Berklee College of Music, Goapele debuted her musical talent with a self-released album Closer in 2001. At its peak, Closer was #63 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart. This would not be her only taste of the Billboard ranks. In 2004, her first nationally distributed album, Even Closer, reached #24 on the Billboard Charts for Top Independent Albums. Her other Billboard accolades include her 2006 album, Change it All, which was both #32 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Album chart and #2 on the Top Heatseekers, while the single “First Love” reached #18 on the Hot Adult R&B Airplay. Goapele’s last album release in 2011, Break of Dawn, is her most diverse and exciting project to date. The music includes sophisticated songs revolving around love, loss, and all of life in between. “I came into this business as a young woman who wanted to be taken seriously for my music, but, now I’m more willing to share my sexiness as well. I realize that it’s possible to be both complex and provocative,” Goapele says. By collaborating with an array of creative folks including Kerry “Krucial” Brothers, Bobby Ozuma, Malay and Bedrock, this is also the first project Goapele has worked with other songwriters. Break of Dawn reveals many experiences that define Goapele, from the birth of her daughter, to tragic losses. Throughout her career Goapele has appeared on several well-known shows like Soul Train, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and has been praised in many prestigious magazines such as Rolling Stone, Nylon, Billboard, Essence and Vibe. Goapele has also proven to be a savvy businesswoman. She is a UNIQLO ambassador and is part of the UNIQLO campaign, which is a clothing company designed for people of all ages, genders, ethnicities, etc., as well as members of all communities and social groups. Perhaps, her most endearing quality is her constant work with the community to give back to people in need. She has performed at rallies, demonstrations, and various political events around the world. In 2006 the California-based Ella Baker Center for Human Rights honored her with its first ever Human Rights Cultural Hero Award. Goapele’s love and passion for the world pours out into her music and her “smoky and sensual” voice, as described by Billboard magazine, is sure to make your day.
Strunz & Farah
Sunday 08/16
Strunz & Farah @ The Howard Theatre
$25 / $30
Strunz & Farah, performing together since 1980, have created an entirely new expression for the acoustic guitar. From Costa Rica and Iran respectively, Jorge Strunz and Ardeshir Farah have brought the cultural riches of their native lands to their highly virtuosic, rhythmic, and improvisation-rich original instrumental compositions, profoundly influencing guitarists everywhere. The duo's music is perhaps best described as original international acoustic improvisational guitar music, world guitar, or ethnojazz. Their style is saturated with their cultural roots, which include Afro-Caribbean, Latin American folk, flamenco, and Middle Eastern music, and it draws heavily from the jazz concept of improvisation. The first meeting between these two musicians in 1979 marked the first time that Latin American and Middle Eastern music came together on the guitar. The travels of his diplomat father brought Strunz to the United States, while Farah arrived as a student of architecture. Farah came to see Strunz perform with his Latin jazz group Caldera and decided to meet him. Upon meeting, it was instantly obvious that the two were brothers of the guitar from opposite ends of the earth. They quickly prepared a repertoire, began performing, and recorded their first project, Mosaico, in 1980. Although record companies at that time were not ready for this exotic new music, jazz radio embraced it, and world/jazz industry pioneer Richard Bock got the duo signed to the prestigious jazz label Milestone, on which Strunz & Farah cut the records Frontera (1983) and Guitarras (1984). These records defined world music on guitar years before the world music category even existed. Since their genre-defining beginning, the duo has continued releasing complex and beautiful albums, most of which have been on Selva, the duo's own artist-friendly label. Notable efforts included Primal Magic (1990), which won Billboard's World Music Album of the Year award, and Americas (1992), which won a Grammy nomination. Both albums spent months on the top of Billboard's World Music chart. In addition to their own recordings, Struntz & Farah have collaborated with dozens of renowned world, jazz, and classical musicians, including Dr. L. Subramaniam, Ashish Khan, Heyadeh, Manoochehr Sadeghi, Bijan Mortazavi, Jihad Racy, Edwin Colon Zayas, Stanley Clarke, Hubert Laws, Liona Boyd, Joan Baez, and Jackson Browne. Their latest album, Journey Around the Sun, came out in 2011.
Bomba Estereo
Saturday 07/25
Bomba Estereo @ The Howard Theatre
$20 / $23
Bomba Estéreo started in Bogotá Colombia in 2005, as a project led by Simón Mejía, musician and visual artist, in collaboration with other musicians, DJs and video artists. A year later, the band released their first album called Vol. 1, which included the participation of Li Saumet singing in some of the tracks. One of the tracks included in this album was Corinto, which later would become one of the biggest hits of Bomba Estéreo, Fuego. In 2007 after recognition for the innovative concept of the band, Simón and Li decided to integrate two new musicians in the band: Kike Egurrola on drums and percussion, and Julián Salazar on guitar and machines. Together, they came to build a band of a unique musical genre, that would later be baptized by the media as Psychedelic Cumbia. Estalla / Blow Up, the second Bomba Estéreo album, is released in 2008, which led them to win international recognition through their extensive touring. Its live show and eclectic music took the group to perform a tour of over 100 dates across Europe, Latin America and USA, in addition to arriving for the first time to Asia (China and Japan) and Africa. In 2010 Bomba Estéreo is named “Best New Band in the World” by MTV’s Iggy and its single Fuego was used as soundtrack for TV commercials, TV shows, movies and video games across the United States and Latin America. Elegancia Tropical, not only was the third Bomba Estéreo album, but also the point on which Bomba consolidates as one of the most eye-catching live bands in the world. The album was released with impressive media reviews at sold out shows through Colombia, Argentina and Mexico in performances which included large-scale video projections and jungle scenery. Moreover, the album led the band to win recognition as Best Artist of 2012 by iTunes Latin Editor’s Choice and a Latin GRAMMY nomination in 2013 for Best Alternative Music Album. As part of the global promotion for the album, Bomba Estéreo embarked on a two years tour, playing over 200 shows, reaching fours continents (North and South America, Europe, Africa) and participating in the main music festivals in the world including Coachella (USA), Austin City Limits (USA), SXSW (USA), Lollapalooza (USA & CHL), Roskilde (DEN), Outside Lands (USA), Pop Montréal (CAN), Stereo Picnic (COL), Rock al Parque (COL), Vive Latino (MEX) and Glastonbury (UK), amongst others. The innovative approach to live shows was enhanced with Bosque (an audio visual experience around the idea of playing Bomba’s party music in a classic theater with people sitting down) presented at a sold out Teatro Mayor Julio Mario Santo Domingo in Bogota and a “Cultural Exchange Tour” around African countries (Swaziland, Mozambique and South Africa), where they collaborated with local musicians and artists, supported by the Colombian Government and local Authorities. Bomba Estéreo is now working on its fourth album (Sony Music Latin) , which is expected for mid 2015.