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.
Calling all small to mid-sized towns and cities across America: show us how you’ll transform an underused public space through the power of free, live music! Now in its fourth year, the Levitt AMP [Your City] Grant Awards is an exciting matching grant opportunity that supports impactful creative placemaking projects around the country.
Up to 15 nonprofits serving small to mid-sized towns and cities will receive $25K each in matching funds to produce their own Levitt AMP [Your City] Music Series—an outdoor, free concert series featuring a diverse lineup of high caliber entertainment. And just like in previous years, the public will decide the Top 25 finalists through an online voting process taking place this November. So get ready to rally your family, friends, colleagues and neighbors to vote and bring free, live music to your community!
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.
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 →
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 →
West African Percussion group Umoja celebrating MakeMusicDay in Rochester, NY. Image courtesy of @makemusicroc.
Local musicians bringing music to a local storefront in celebration of Make Music Day in Edmonton, Canada. Image courtesy of @jamaracing.
Celebrating Make Music Day in the great outdoors of Madison, WI. Image courtesy of @jpchip.
Celebrating Make Music Day in front of the breathtaking Niagara Falls. Image courtesy of @FQH_official.
Enjoying a multi-generational celebration of Make Music Day from the comfort of home. Image courtesy of @KFBLaw.
Young musicians from Farlington, Slinfold CofE and St. John’s Cof E Schools celebrating Make Music Day in the United Kingdom.
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 theseventh 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.
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!”