Category Archives: Spotlight Series

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Tomorrow night, reggae, soul and jazz singer Marla Brown will be taking the Levitt AMP Carson City stage, inspiring attendees with her empowering and uplifting songs about global issues. This multitalented artist has delighted audiences across continents with her graceful dance moves and powerful vocals. Levitt AMP Carson City concertgoers get to experience this rising star first-hand!

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This weekend, the internationally renowned and virtuosic Malian musician, Cheick Hamala Diabate, brings his danceable and richly textured West African songs to two — yes, two — Levitt AMP stages! He graces Levitt AMP Berea tonight at 6pm, and Levitt AMP Greensboro tomorrow evening at 6pm. Considered a master of the ngoni, a traditional, lute-like stringed instrument, Diabate’s music started in his motherland and migrated to Washington, D.C., where he has worked with acclaimed producers, created a GRAMMY-winning World music album and toured relentlessly.

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Spotlight_Series_loshacheros_updated_readySaturday night, Brooklyn’s Los Hacheros will have Levitt AMP Santa Fe swaying to their fun, warm and infectious Latin beats. Their deep Afro-Caribbean groove weaves in elements of folkloric styles like son montuno, guaracha and salsa, often combining them with Bomba—a fiery rhythm from the mountains of Puerto Rico.

Los Hacheros is a five-piece band created in 2012, and have brought new heights to the golden era of Latin music with their unique versatility, explosive energy and instruments ranging from flute, trombone, violin, congas and tres—a guitar-like instrument that changed the course of the New York salsa scene.

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The first four minutes of Ben Sollee’s 2013 Tedx Talk is a spontaneous, collaborative jam session with just him and a drummer. What you see Sollee playing is indeed a conventional cello, but the sounds coming out of it are anything but. While singing about modern society, he stretches the instrument to its limits, creating a soundscape of languid strings and futuristic, percussive notes. Whatever shape or form the music takes, it is undeniably dazzling, virtuosic and intriguing. It gives one a glimpse of the innovative spirit of Ben Sollee, a multi-instrumentalist and composer who takes the Levitt AMP Berea stage in Kentucky tonight at 7:30pm.

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Singer-songwriter Daphne Willis’ sincere and eclectic blend of soul, rock, electronic and pop has delighted music lovers across the nation—including the legendary John Oates, of Hall and Oates. This evening, this rising star will take the Levitt AMP Denison stage and treat audiences to the honest and infectious melodies that inspired Oates to approach her about co-writing a song together.

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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.

 

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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

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Fan of the blues? Punk? Jazz? Gospel? Then you’ve got to check out Seratones, closing out the Levitt AMP North Adams Music Series this coming Sunday. This genre-bending band formed in 2013, and just two years later, Seratones signed to indie label Fat Possum, which boasts an impressive roster of blues and rock artists, including The Black Keys and Al Green. Continue reading