Spotlight_Series_Kinky

Hailing from their hometown of Monterrey, Mexico, members of electronic rock band Kinky have consistently pushed the boundaries of the Mexican pop music scene, earning worldwide acclaim and a devoted fan base. Emerging from the underground Monterrey scene of the 1990s, Kinky members Gilberto Cerezo, Ulises Lozano, and Carlos Chairez brought their diverse musical backgrounds together to create their own eclectic sound, distinguishing themselves from mainstream pop, which at the time was dominated mostly by Mexican folk music. Drummer Omar Gongora and bassist Cesar Pliego later joined the band, turning the trio into a five-piece group. Kinky gained international recognition after performing at Latin Alternative Music Conference’s (LAMC) Battle of Bands in New York City in 2000. The musicians’ vibrant energy caught the attention of British producer Chris Allison (Coldplay, the Beta Band, Fila Brazilia), who went on to release the band’s self-titled debut album, Kinky (2002), on his Sonic360 label. The album received rave reviews and a Nissan Altima commercial spot, breaking them out of their underground desert music scene to reach international success.

Today, Kinky has continued to build its global following, and its music has been featured widely from commercials to the FIFA 2006 video game to TV shows such as Nip/Tuck, Gossip Girl and Dexter, to name a few. True to their experimental spirit, Kinky’s follow up albums reveal a thoughtful progression in the band’s style, as its members sought out fresh surroundings to nurture their ideas. For the production of its second release, Atlas (2003), Kinky traveled to an isolated ranch in Quitana Roo, Mexico, surrounded by nothing but wildlife and nature. The band finished up the rest of the album in the more urban environment of Los Angeles, cutting back on electronics and focusing on a more raw rock sound. Kinky recorded their third album, Reina (2006) in a Southern Californian mountain cabin. Their fourth and most recent album, Barracuda, was released in 2008 – lead singer Gil Cerezos describes it as “the dark side of Kinky.”

In almost 20 years since Kinky’s conception, the once underground group has infiltrated and challenged mainstream pop music; they’ve appeared on NPR’s Studio 4A, earned several MTV Music Award nominations and have worked with music greats such as producers Howie Weinberg (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana, U2), Dust Brother John King (Beck, Rolling Stones, Beastie Boys) and Money Mark (Beastie Boys). Kinky’s palpable dynamism and drive attract fans to festivals and shows worldwide. Kinky’s innovative and evolving sound is difficult to label, and it’s clear the band intends to keep it that way.

 

Yesterday, more than 750 cities (and 120 countries!) filled the air with free, live music, in celebration of Make Music Day. This one-of-a-kind free annual festival is open to all people—regardless of their age, background or musical ability. As passionate supporters of free outdoor concerts across the country, many of which are happening now, we’re sharing a few of our favorite pics from yesterday’s global music-making event.

The festival can be traced back to 1982, when it was launched in France as the Fête de la Musique. Fun fact: In French, “Fête de la Musique” means both “festival of music” and “make music.” To date, almost 8 percent of France’s population (approximately 5 million people) have reportedly played an instrument or sang in public as part of Fête de la Musique.

Now an international phenomenon, amateur and professional musicians across the globe spend the first day of the annual summer solstice making free, live music with and for their communities.

Didn’t get a chance to celebrate yesterday? You’re in luck—making music is free and joyous activity we can enjoy all year ‘round!

  • West African Percussion group Umoja celebrating MakeMusicDay in Rochester, NY. Image courtesy of @makemusicroc.

Welcome to the first installment in a series of blog posts that delve into our recently published impact study, examining how creative placemaking builds social capital in communities, using permanent outdoor Levitt venues as case studies. This multi-year study and resulting white paper was led by Slover Linett Audience Research, and this afternoon President Sarah Lee is presenting the study’s key findings at the Americans for the Arts’ 2017 Annual Convention in San Francisco!

With next Tuesday marking the official first day of summer—a season when many people spend more time outside than other times of year—today we‘re focusing on the study’s findings in relation to being outside and in an open lawn setting. Based on hundreds of audience surveys and interviews in Memphis and Pasadena, each home to a permanent Levitt venue, a majority of people find being outdoors and in an open lawn setting “extremely satisfying” (see graph below). Continue reading

2017_Spotlight Series_Fuchs_header.jpg

Powerhouse vocalist Dana Fuchs brings her raspy blues-rock vocals to Levitt AMP Ocala tomorrow night. The edgy singer/songwriter is known and beloved for her electric stage presence and heartfelt, compelling albums, many of which are dedicated to late loved ones. Born in New Jersey and raised in Wildwood, Fla.—where she performed as a child in a Baptist Choir—Fuchs always knew she wanted to broaden her horizons and make the leap to The Big Apple. She made her dream a reality when she packed her bags and moved to New York City at 19 to pursue a singing career. It was there that she formed and fronted the soulful, rocking Dana Fuchs Band, which gained a reputation as one of the best blues acts in the city’s music scene.

Today, audiences might recognize this multitalented artist’s strong and distinctive voice from her leading roles in the off-Broadway tribute musical, Love, Janis, and the Golden Globe-nominated film, Across the Universe (2007). Continue reading

The 2017 Levitt concert season is finally upon us!

Concert season is by far our favorite time of the year here at Levitt. What better way to welcome in the summer season than by enjoying an evening of free, live music under the stars?

The sound of free Levitt concerts is already filling the air in nine communities across the country: Arlington, Texas; Bethlehem, Pa.; Denison, Texas, where veteran Levitt performer Brave Combo (the GRAMMY-winning mosh-pit polka band pictured above) delighted Levitt AMP Denison audiences last weekend; Greensboro, N.C.; Jacksonville, Ill.; Memphis, Tenn.Ocala, Fla.; Santa Fe, NM; and Stevens Point, Wis.

Get ready for the 2017 concert season at Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles, which begins next Saturday, and stay tuned for more lineup announcements!

  • West African Percussion group Umoja celebrating MakeMusicDay in Rochester, NY. Image courtesy of @makemusicroc.

Check out these recently released photos from the Levitt Pavilion Denver construction site—it’s coming to life!

Next month, Levitt Pavilion Denver will open to the public, making it the seventh permanent outdoor music venue in the Levitt network. Levitt Pavilion Denver is being heralded as the centerpiece to Ruby Hill Park’s revitalization, an expansive yet underused 83-acre park located in Southwest Denver. Next month, this formerly underused public space will become a communal hub where Denverites can come together on lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy free, live music under the stars.

Find out which artists will be performing as part of Levitt Pavilion Denver’s inaugural concert season.

Here at Levitt, we envision free outdoor concerts across America making an impact that goes beyond ensuring access to high-caliber music and award-winning artists. They inspire communities to come together, creating vibrant public spaces while forging new connections with fellow concertgoers and neighbors. As Gedeon Luke sings in the video, “We got to live together—live free and love!”

BlogLevittPlaylistimage

The Levitt AMP Music Series has officially kicked off! Whether it’s classic, down-home blues, big band cumbia, singer-songwriter folk or electro-funk, the 2017 Levitt Amp Music Series has a culturally diverse range of genres featuring emerging and established talent

With Levitt AMP concerts having begun in Denison and Santa Fe, and just around the corner for the 13 other AMP towns and cities, enjoy this specially curated Spotify playlist of Levitt AMP artists taking the stage this summer and fall! You’ll hear something from each town and city – the vintage roots music of Guitar Shorty, the frenetic rockabilly of The Trip Daddys and the hit ballad “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” by Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes, among many more. Here’s to a great season of free music under the stars!

Check out each city’s artist lineup and schedule here. And be sure to tag your Instagram and Twitter posts with #musicmoves for a chance to win an iTunes Gift Card! 

We’re thrilled to announce that The Suffers, an 8-member band hailing from Houston who blend musical influences as diverse as rock, R&B, country and reggae into a dynamic sound they’ve coined “Gulf Coast Soul,” will headline the 2017 Levitt National Tour. Now in its third year and created to celebrate the collective impact of the Levitt network of music venues in communities across the country, the 2017 Levitt National Tour will stop in six Levitt cities this July and August—Los Angeles; Memphis; Arlington, Texas; Denver; Bethlehem, Pa.; and Dayton, Ohio (home to a future Levitt Pavilion). This summer’s tour will invite Levitt audiences to experience these rising stars and critical darlings, hailed for their infectious rhythm and horns section mixing seamlessly with the sultry vocals of singer Kam Franklin. Continue reading

Summer has long been synonymous with outdoor concerts across the country. A simple search for “free outdoor concerts” yields hundreds of thousands of results coast to coast. Each year brings an increasing number of opportunities to experience free, live music in outdoor settings—from single concerts centered around a specific celebration like the annual Memorial Day Concert on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.; to coordinated events like Make Music Day, when dozens of U.S. cities celebrate the summer solstice through free music performances; to weekly concert series like Summerstage in parks throughout New York City and free Levitt concerts in towns and cities across America.

Continue reading