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Acoustic Africa @ The Boulder Theater | 3/16/11

The second installment of Acoustic Africa's exhilarating musical journey focuses on the richness of the African guitar tradition. The Acoustic Africa tour features Habib Koite, the Malian superstar whose exciting concerts have endeared him to audiences worldwide, Oliver Mtukudzi, the best-selling artist in his home country of Zimbabwe, and, a guitarist, singer, and composer from Mali whose songs evoke the Afel Bocoum evolution of traditional Malian society. The three artists, backed by a traditional African band, unite in song in a collaborative performance that honors their African heritage while simultaneously pushes contemporary musical boundaries.

One of Africa's most exciting performers, Habib Koite plays music that reflects the diverse musical traditions of his Malian homeland. Accompanied by his band Bamada, Koite has released a number of successful and critically acclaimed albums and has appeared on the The Late Show with David Letterman and in major magazines such as People and Rolling Stone. Over the past 10 years, Habib and his band have performed over 600 concerts for adoring audiences in far-flung locations such as Japan, Australia, Brazil and Kazakhstan. With their engaging stage presence and expert musicianship, Habib Koite and Bamada always put on a show to remember.

Lovingly called "Tuku" for short, Oliver Mtukudzi began recording in the mid-1970s as a member of Wagon Wheels, a band that also featured Thomas Mapfumo. After Wagon Wheels rolled to fame in Southern Africa, Tuku formed Black Spirits, the band that has backed him throughout his career. Mtukudzi has been heavily influenced by chimurenga, the genre pioneered by Mapfumo that is inspired by the hypnotic rhythms of the mbira (thumb piano). His music also incorporates pop influences, South African mbaqanga, the energetic Zimbabwean pop style JIT, and the traditional kateke drumming of his clan, the Korekore. While Tuku's music is undeniably contagious, it is his lyrics that have captured the hearts of his people. The words to his songs invariably deal with social and economic issues. One of Tuku's biggest fans is Bonnie Raitt, who has not only called Oliver "a treasure", but has also used his music as inspiration for the song "One Belief Away" on her album Fundamental.

Afel Bocoum began his music career with his uncle Ali Farka Toure, in his group Asco, a collaboration which lasted some thirty years. In the 1980s, he founded his own group, which he named Alkibar, in which he plays the guitar, composes, and sings. Bocoum sings mainly in Sonrai, his mother tongue, but also in Tamashek, the language of the Tuareg, and in Bambara. In spite of his growing success, Bocoum remains gentle and unassuming, modestly directing the energy this recognition brings him towards the welfare of his people and the inspiration they give to his music. In the dancing melodies of the river and the palpitating rhythm of the hard desert wind, there is no doubt that the heritage of Ali Farka Toure is in good hands. With remarkable subtlety and a sure talent, Afel Bocoum has proved that he is a true "Messenger of the great river", and it's certain he will actively contribute to keeping Malian music at the forefront of the international scene.

More Info / Buy Tickets

Michael Franti Receives the 2010 Ralph J. Gleason Award

The Rex Foundation is pleased to award the 2010 Ralph J. Gleason Award to Michael Franti. The $10,000 award is in memory of music journalist Ralph J. Gleason, a major figure in the advancement of music in America in the 1960s, including his being a long-time contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle, a founding editor of Rolling Stone Magazine and cofounder of the Monterey Jazz Festival.   Mr. Gleason's openness to new music and ideas transcended differences between generations and styles.

A Bay Area native, Michael Franti has been bringing our world exceptionally powerful, deeply felt music under a variety of names and in a wide range of genres for twenty years, from the intense punk rock of the Beatnigs, to the deeply political rap he made with the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, to his joyful and meaningful modern soul music with Spearhead, and now as Michael Franti & Spearhead.

As Rosalie Howarth, Rex Board member and KFOG Show Host and Director of Special Programming, explains, "The Ralph J. Gleason award honors people who strive to bring fresh cultural ideas and music to the mainstream public. Through his positive, inclusive lyrics, and his personal visits to strife-ridden areas such as Iraq, Palestine and Israel, Michael has seen first-hand the effects of war. He has taken his music to the people on the street, and absorbed their cultural influences in return, bringing them back to share at his annual free 'Power to the Peaceful' festival in Golden Gate Park, and on the silver screen with his powerful documentary 'I Know I'm Not Alone'.  Michael's unfailing optimism toward the human spirit and his tireless effort to spread peace and multiculturalism make him a world citizen and highly deserving recipient of the Rex Foundation Ralph Gleason Award."

Learn more about Michael Franti and his contributions from the following links:

Michael Franti CARE Soles4Souls Power to the Peaceful Stay Human

Franti states, "It's a huge honor to be recognized by the Rex Foundation for this award.  Being a fan of the Grateful Dead I know the diversity of its community and share the vision of creating togetherness and acceptance through music.  My musical message is much the same: If we can bring people together through the one-ness of music, it gives a starting point to address the larger needs of our communities and the world.  I am excited that music plays a greater role in the lives of all of us than ever before and the encouragement of this award reaffirms my faith that my journey has been worth every precious step!"

Furthering what the Grateful Dead started 27 years ago, the Rex Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization, endeavors to fund grassroots programs that are often under the radar of larger funding entities, yet work in bold, innovative ways to carry out essential work toward a healthy environment, promotion of the arts, protection of indigenous cultures, assisting others less fortunate, building strong communities, and educating children and adults.  The Rex Foundation has distributed $8.6 million in grants to over 1,000 programs across the U.S. and internationally, while also carrying out fundraising initiatives that foster creativity and positive community connections.  Visit www.rexfoundation.org for a complete list of grantees and information about current initiatives.

Great American Taxi Shows canceled this weekend

Hey Folks-

We're sorry to inform the Colorado folks that our three shows in Fort Collins, Breckenridge and Durango are canceled.  Vince's father has been extremely ill and he needs to be there with him right now.  We are all supporting Vince through this difficult time.  We are planning to pick up the tour in Park City on Feb 16th.  We are bummed to be missing these home state shows and plan on rescheduling all of them in the next month or two, we hope you all understand and please keep Vince and his family in your thoughts and prayers.  There's tons of Taxi rides coming up so check the calendar and find out where we'll be.  We hope this finds you all happy and healthy, let all those people in your life know that you love them.  We'll see you soon, best wishes.

Great American Taxi

“Dear Nola: A Concert for New Orleans”

New Orleans brass-fueled sensations Bonerama team up with Cody ChesnuTT, DJ Spooky/That Subliminal Kid, Grammy Nominated Helen Bruner + Terry Jones, Jenny Toomey & Kristin Thomson of Tsunami, M1 of Dead Prez, Mirah, Sage Francis, Shawn King of Devotchka, Sunpie Barnes and Zach Rogue to celebrate New Orleans, her community and its musical ambassadors for “Dear NOLA: a Concert for New Orleans,” at Blue Nile (532 Frenchmen Street) on Thursday, February 17th.

Doors are at 9:00 pm and admission is $10 in advance and can be purchased online at the Blue Nile website; $15 at the door.

Proceeds from the concert — the seventh since Hurricane Katrina — benefit Sweet Home New Orleans and Gulf Restoration Network, two New Orleans-based nonprofits working to support and sustain the region’s unique musical and cultural traditions and to protect and restore vital environment and community resources for future generations. The show serves as the celebratory finale of the seventh three-day activist retreat hosted by Air Traffic Control and Future of Music Coalition.

Over the years, these shows have become a tradition and bring visiting musicians together with local musicians to present these talented artists both on their own and in unique combinations. Past shows have included performances with J. Tillman and Nicole Atkins backing Will Oldham, R.E.M.’s Mike Mills and Bonerama joining Corin Tucker on a Depeche Mode cover, and Wayne Kramer and Saul Williams partnering to perform “Kick Out The Jams.” The camaraderie established continues well after participants have left the city, as evidenced by the critically-acclaimed compilation, Dear New Orleans. The album was produced by Air Traffic Control to mark the 5-year anniversary of the floods and features 31 New Orleans-inspired tracks from retreat alumni. The compilation can be purchased at http://www.dearno.la.

Air Traffic Control and Future of Music Coalition have been co-hosting a series of artist activism retreats in New Orleans since 2006. Artists are given the rare opportunity to connect directly with the people of New Orleans, the tradition bearers and community leaders who are on the frontlines of rebuilding and sustaining this vital city. After the three-day retreat, artists leave feeling that their lives have been changed by what they have experienced in New Orleans and with a sense of empowerment for what they can accomplish through their music and activism.

“New Orleans is one of the most unique cities on the planet and a place where I have had the good fortune to spend time both as a musician and an activist. The artist-activist retreat provided valuable perspective and insight into a post-Katrina New Orleans. My experiences with local musicians and the people working for the recovery and betterment of the city have been some of the most important experiences of my career." -- Tom Morello.

Past retreat and concert participants include Steve Earle, Tom Morello, Mike Mills (R.E.M.), Boots Riley (The Coup) Nicole Atkins, Damian Kulash (OK Go), Erin McKeown, Nick Harmer (Death Cab for Cutie), Wayne Kramer (MC5), Martín Perna (Antibalas, Ocote Soul Sounds), Jim James and Patrick Hallahan (My Morning Jacket), Jon Langford (Mekons, Waco Brothers), Vijay Iyer, and many, many more.

The efforts of many groups and individuals — including Sweet Home New Orleans, Future of Music Coalition and Air Traffic Control — have had a major impact on Big Easy musicians like Mardis Gras legend Al “Carnival Time” Johnson. Funds raised by retreat participants helped Al buy a new Habitat for Humanity home after having lost his property and belongings in Hurricane Katrina. The concerts and the retreats are part of an ongoing commitment to helping musicians like Al get back to their communities where they will help sustain New Orleans music and culture for generations to come.

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About Sweet Home New Orleans

Sweet Home New Orleans is a nonprofit agency that offers social services and financial assistance to the city’s musicians, Mardi Gras Indians, and Social Aid and Pleasure Club members.

About Gulf Restoration Network

Gulf Restoration Network is a 16 year-old environmental group committed to uniting and empowering people to protect and restore the natural resources of the Gulf of Mexico. Since the storms of 2005, they have worked for a national commitment to the restoration of the coastal wetlands of Louisiana, the region’s natural storm protection, which are disappearing at the rate of an acre an hour. The BP drilling disaster has greatly increased threats to this ecosystem, and GRN has provided independent monitoring and advocacy since the first days of the disaster.

About Future of Music Coalition

Future of Music Coalition is a national non-profit education, research and advocacy organization that seeks a bright future for creators and listeners. FMC works towards this goal through continuous interaction with its primary constituency — musicians — and in collaboration with other creator/public interest groups.

About Air Traffic Control

Air Traffic Control (ATC) exists to help musicians play an effective, unique and vital role in the promotion of social justice. Musicians and managers established ATC five years ago to assemble an experienced and trusted team of leaders, resources and tools that would help them to create more effective social change collaborations with each other and with social justice organizations. As a result, ATC became an artists’ air traffic control—one that develops capacity, efficiency, and coordination to produce stronger and more creative social change partnerships.

The Saw Doctors at the Boulder Theater - 03.21.11

KGNU & The Boulder Weekly are proud to present The Further Adventures of The Saw Doctors at the Boulder Theater on Monday, March 21st, 2011.


The Saw Doctors are known in Ireland for ridiculously catchy songs and for rocking the road week after week from Galway to Melbourne—and, come March 2011, from New York to Las Vegas. They’ve hopped up countless crowds, including at two inaugurations of Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, with upbeat anthems to everyday people.

A fun-loving reputation precedes the band thanks to their zany hit “I Useta Lover” or the recent sneak Irish radio chart-topper, “Red Cortina A Cappella.” But it belies a more reflective side with deep roots, a side sometimes forgotten even by the group’s biggest fans.

“That one-sided perception of the band haunts us, even in our hometown here in Western Ireland,” chuckles Saw Doctors singer and guitarist Leo Moran. “A few months ago, in a pub here, I sang one of my favorite songs, 'Same Oul Town', the title track of our third album.  It's about a small town in winter, where everyone knows everyone else's business. Another local singer, who has known us forever, came up and told me, 'That's a lovely song; you should record that!'"

Bittersweet portraits of everyday people and the landscape that surrounds them are what the band does best. The Saw Doctors have a Springsteen-like ability to get at the poignant perspectives of ordinary folks: the lovesick pub regular, the guys on the corner, the wise old woman who greeted all comers with a slice of bread and butter.

This ability flows from the roving group’s strong ties to Tuam—and to the lives and stories of the people in it. It’s a town of wits and eccentrics, folks like cartoon artist Squigley McHugh, who humorously sketched the Saw Doctors as superheroes for their stage backdrop. Tuam is known for its gregarious, sometimes overly curious conversationalists. It’s a place where people still pop down to the pub in the afternoon, looking for a pint and a good gossip.

But don’t be surprised if you can’t make out a word: Tuam, explains Moran, has its own secret code, a slang and a love of peculiar turns of phrase incomprehensible to outsiders. “In Tuam, there’s a great interest in language and words. A lot of the Travellers, itinerant Irish traders and tin-smiths, settled around Tuam and had their own language they used while trading. We’ve adopted it as core citizens of the town.”

Tuam’s citizens relish slang and constantly invent new words. Expressions like “Well-Byes,” the greeting of choice among young guys in jogging suits, speak volumes: “you know where you are and you’re from Tuam,” Moran says. Soccer players use local slang when playing against other towns to keep their next moves under wraps (as the band recounts in “All the Way from Tuam”).

Yet words, like the band itself, have a far more winsome side, connecting people with their history and the land. In “Friday Town,” the Anglicized place-names in the chorus hint at a lost Irish past, as Moran sings of people long gone, either overseas to America or to their graves. “When you study the names in Irish, they carry meanings, some feature in the landscape or the memory of something that happened there,” Moran notes. “But all these lovely meanings have been lost. We’re trying to celebrate them, as well as the people who left forever for the States, on an epic, courageous journey.”

More introspective moments still ring with bright guitars, catchy melodies, and upbeat energy, which make The Saw Doctors shows fun, even at their deepest. Sometimes when playing live around Ireland, the exuberant singing from the audience has nearly drowned out the band. The group loves to drop their vocals out altogether, providing only instrumental accompaniment for the chorus of enthusiastic fans, who seem to know every song by heart.

The down-to-earth feel—and the Tuam wit—have universal appeal. “People sometimes say that a song about Tuam or Galway or Ireland won’t matter to people abroad. That’s like telling Bruce Springsteen that he is wasting his time writing about the Jersey Shore,” Moran reflects. “Songs are about sharing feelings and emotions and ideas. If you have ideas and emotions that people can relate to, then it works no matter where you play.”

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Tickets are on sale at Boulder Theater Box Office. Call (303) 786-7030 for tickets by phone.

Tickets are also available through our website @ www.bouldertheater.com.

Tickets are On Sale Now!

$20 GA

+ $2 for under 21 ticket buyers

Swallow Hill Music Announces 5th Annual Rootsfest

Swallow Hill Music’s Rootsfest returns for its 5th annual celebration of roots music featuring quintessential folk musicians David Crosby & Graham Nash on Saturday, April 9th at Denver’s historic Paramount Theatre.

Presented by 97.3 KBCO, this year’s Rootsfest will also feature performances by local legends Mollie O’Brien & Rich Moore, as well Anaïs Mitchell.

For over thirty years, Swallow Hill Music has provided a place to celebrate music that is rarely heard elsewhere in the Rocky Mountain Region. The Denver-based organization, serving as a unique source for roots, folk and acoustic music, is one of the largest nonprofit institutions of its kind in the United States. In 2010, the organization served more than 100,000 people through its concert, school and outreach programming. In addition to the annual Rootsfest and a slew of events year-round at Swallow Hill Music’s three onsite venues, it also books the highly regarded summer music series at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Look for the 2011 Botanic Gardens summer schedule to be announced soon.

But first up, singer-songwriters David Crosby and Graham Nash will headline the 5th annual Rootsfest. On tour this spring throughout the U.S. but only in Colorado for this one show, their legendary harmonies will be accompanied on the road by an ace-backing band featuring James Raymond (keyboards), Dean Parks (guitar), Kevin McCormick (bass), and Steve DiStanislao (drums).

The show will mix acoustic and plugged-in performances. "Touring with a full band gives us the opportunity to do selections from our catalogue that Graham and I haven't performed live together before," says Crosby. "We will also be introducing some brand new songs we've written, that have never been heard onstage or on record."

Crosby and Nash are also launching their own record label, Blue Castle Records, with the first-ever digital and vinyl editions of the live album Another Stoney Evening, recorded forty years ago, in 1971 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles. "This album represents the very beginning of our musical relationship as a duo," says Nash. "Whatever David and I do well together, it's wonderful that we're still doing it well. For the upcoming tour, with a rock 'n roll band, we've gotten fantastic advance response. It's exciting to be bringing this great new show to people."

Mollie O’Brien & Rich Moore met at the legendary Denver Folklore Center, married, had some kids, played in some bands and now have released their first studio cd as a duo, Saints & Sinners. Released in September, five-star reviews are starting to come in calling this a “landmark recording of Americana music” (Driftwood Magazine) and “a high water mark for the pair” (thebluegrassspecial.com). Acoustic Music says this about the cd : “Miss it at your peril.”

Anaïs Mitchell, a rare musician who is equally comfortable wielding an acoustic guitar alone onstage, sharing a disc’s worth of alt-country duets, or scripting a vast operatic journey into the underworld, rounds out the 2011 Rootsfest celebration. Praised as “a songwriter of startling clarity and depth,” by Acoustic Guitar Magazine, Mitchell “weaves her stories into an effortlessly beautiful and cohesive tapestry with the skill of an artisan’s carpenter, showing no seams.”

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WHAT: Swallow Hill Music’s 5th Annual Rootsfest featuring David Crosby & Graham Nash and presented by 97.3 KBCO

WHEN: Saturday, April 9th, 7:00pm

WHERE: Paramount Theatre, 1621 Glenarm Place, Denver, 80202

TICKETS: $35-$100 + $4 per ticket fee for online, phone, & ticket kiosk purchases.

INFO & BOX OFFICE
: – General public on-sale starts Friday, January 21st, 10:00am at http://swallowhillrootsfest.org/, (866) 461-6556, or in person at The Paramount Theatre box office, The Pepsi Center box office (1000 Chopper Circle, Denver 80204), Dick’s Sporting Goods Park box office (6000 Victory Way, Commerce City, 80022), or any Dick’s Sporting Goods in store ticket kiosk.

About Rootsfest
:
Started in 2007, Swallow Hill Music's Rootsfest has showcased both seasoned and up and coming artists in the celebration of roots music. Previous Rootsfest artists have included Judy Collins, Neko Case, Taj Mahal, Nancy Griffith, Rickie Lee Jones, Bruce Cockburn, Hot Rize, Paper Bird, Trace Bundy, Jim Lauderdale, Tallest Man on Earth, Joe Pug, Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams, and Boulder Acoustic Society.

About Swallow Hill Music
:
Helping people make and enjoy music since 1979, Swallow Hill Music recently celebrated its 31st anniversary as one of the largest nonprofit institutions of its kind in the United States as a source for roots, folk and acoustic music. In 2010, Swallow Hill Music served more than 100,000 people through its concert, school and outreach programming. With more than 2,000 members, Swallow Hill Music provides a place to celebrate music that is rarely heard elsewhere in the Rocky Mountain Region. Three concert venues house more than 200 performances a year, featuring some of the world's great artists as well as up-and-coming new talent. In addition, in 2010 Swallow Hill Music began producing the long running and esteemed Denver Botanic Gardens Summer Concert Series. Swallow Hill's Julie Davis School of Music offers classes for every interest, skill level and member of the family. A faculty of 60 instructors provides training to more than 4,000 students annually. A Tier II member of the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, Swallow Hill Music has been named one of the Top 25 Movers & Shakers in Arts & Culture by the Rocky Mountain News, has won both the Mayor's and Governor's Awards for Excellence in the Arts and countless "Best of Denver" awards, has been recognized by the North American Folk Alliance, and is one of the most sought-after venues by roots, folk and acoustic performers in the country.

Todd Snider & Great American Taxi @ Boulder Theater

Mark Vann's spirit parted company with his body on March 4, 2002. Mark consistently lived by the motto of "Go Big!". He applied this motto to both playing music and his unending willingness to offer his time and knowledge to teach anybody who wanted to learn. He encouraged others to "Dream Big", "Go Big", and "Pick Big", and personally supported their efforts to do so. The sun rose on March 5th to the task of shining light into a newly empty space in our many worlds.

The Mark Vann Foundation was created to continue the spirit of joy, gratitude, and generosity that Mark brought to our collective communities through his life and music.

Our primary mission is to serve community based non-profit organizations bringing light, love and laughter into the lives of those in need through nature, music and the arts; and to provide a conduit for kindhearted people with similar values to nurture impactful positive change within their own communities.

The Mark Vann Foundation is supported entirely by volunteer efforts and has no paid employees. It is managed in such a way as to maximize our ability to support beneficiaries by keeping operating costs to a minimum. We warmly welcome all who would like to participate, volunteer, or contribute, and kindly thank the many of you throughout the music community who already have.

Marching forth to help dreams "Go Big!"

More Info / Buy Tickets

Acoustic Africa @ the Boulder Theater | 03.16

Boulder Weekly & Z2 Entertainment are proud to present Acoustic Africa ft. Habib Koite, Oliver Mtukudzi & Afel Bocoum at the Boulder Theater on Wednesday, March 16th, 2011.

The second installment of IMN’s exhilarating musical journey focuses on the richness of the African guitar tradition. The Acoustic Africa tour includes Habib Koité, the Malian superstar whose exciting concerts have endeared him to audiences worldwide, Oliver Mtukudzi, the best-selling artist in his home country of Zimbabwe, and Afel Bocoum, a guitarist, singer, and composer from Mali whose songs evoke the evolution of traditional Malian society.

One of Africa’s most exciting performers, Habib Koite plays music that reflects the diverse musical traditions of his Malian homeland. Accompanied by his band Bamada, Koite has released a number of successful and critically acclaimed albums and has appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman and in major magazines such as People and Rolling Stone. Over the past 10 years, Habib and his band have performed over 600 concerts for adoring audiences in far-flung locations such as Japan, Australia, Brazil and Kazakhstan. With their engaging stage presence and expert musicianship, Habib Koite and Bamada always put on a show to remember.

Lovingly called “Tuku”, Oliver Mtukudzi began recording in the mid-1970s as a member of Wagon Wheels, a band that also featured Thomas Mapfumo. After Wagon Wheels rolled to fame in Southern Africa, Tuku formed Black Spirits, the band that has backed him throughout his career. Mtukudzi has been heavily influenced by chimurenga, the genre pioneered by Mapfumo that is inspired by the hypnotic rhythms of the mbira (thumb piano). His music also incorporates pop influences, South Africa mbaqanga, the energetic Zimbabwean pop style JIT, and the traditional kateke drumming of his clan, the Korekore. While Tuku’s music is undeniably contagious, it is his lyrics that have captured the hearts of his people as his songs invariably deal with social and economic issues. One of Tuku’s biggest fans is Bonnie Raitt, who has not only called Tuku “a treasure,” but has also used his music as inspiration for the song “One Belief Away” on her album Fundamental.

Afel Bocoum began his music career with his uncle Ali Farka Toure in the group Asco, a collaboration which lasted some thirty years. In the 1980s, he founded his own group named Alkibar, in which he plays the guitar, sings, and composes. Bocoum sings mainly in Sonrai, his mother tongue, but also in Tamashek, the language of the Tuareg, and in Bambara. In spite of his growing success, Bocoum remains gentle and unassuming, modestly directing the energy this recognition brings him towards the welfare of his people and the inspiration they give to his music. In 2002, Afel collaborated with the lead singer of Blur, Damon Albarn, on the extremely popular album Mali Music. The gigs they played together were well received, especially the concert at the Barbican in London in June 2003. Damon also made a guest appearance beside Afel on a larger stage at Roskilde in Denmark in front of 65,000 people. With remarkable subtlety and a sure talent, Bocoum has proved that he is a true “messenger of the great river,” and it’s certain he will actively contribute to keeping Malian music at the forefront of the international scene.

Tickets are on sale at Boulder Theater Box Office. Call (303) 786-7030 for tickets by phone.

Tickets are also available through our website @ www.bouldertheater.com.

Tickets are On Sale Saturday December 4th!

GA $34.50  /  Reserved $42.25 / All Ages

Ladysmith Black Mambazo Keep the Music of their Childhood Alive

The centuries-old story of their country and culture has been the foundation of the a cappella singing group Ladysmith Black Mambazo since its beginnings, almost fifty years ago. On 'Songs From A Zulu Farm,' out January 25, 2011 (Listen 2 Entertainment Group), the nine-man group returns to their origins in the open fields of Zulu country to recreate the idyllic world in which they once lived by singing traditional folk tunes sung by mothers and fathers to children throughout the generations.

"These are songs from the earliest time in our lives," says Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder and frontman Joseph Shabalala. "When we sing these songs, we're singing from our personal history. It is such a joy for us to put these stories and songs together for our fans to enjoy too."

'Songs From A Zulu Farm' speaks to the universal joys of childhood. "Whether you are in Ladysmith, Virginia, or Ladysmith, South Africa, children are hearing songs they will carry with them for the rest of their lives and share with their own children," Shabalala says. "We hope that these songs sung to South African children can be enjoyed by families in many other places in the world."

Among the 16 tracks on 'Songs From A Zulu Farm' is "Old McDonald… Zulu Style," the classic children's song reworked in ways never before imagined as it's piped through the language and culture of the Zulu people.

Listen to "Old MacDonald" here.

Shabalala professes his love and longing for the times and places of his youth in “Thalaza,” a song he composed to encourage Zulus – and people of every nation and culture – to reconnect to the innocence of their younger years. “Your roots are who you are,” says Shabalala, who revisits the farmland of his youth every month. “I go home to see the sights I’ve known since I was a baby. When I see a field there, I see my father and mother standing with me as a little boy. I love going home because it is just that…home.”

Check out some Grateful Web coverage of Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Omara Portuondo - of Buena Vista Social Club- 80th Birthday Celebration @ Boulder Theater

Omara Portuondo, the world-renowned vocalist who began her career in the music scene of her native Cuba in the 1940s, will celebrate her 80th Birthday with performances in the U.S. this fall. Portuondo on the heels of a GRAMMY win for her 2008 release Gracias will entertain audiences with her rich, soulful brand of jazz and balladry. Portuondo, is an original member of the internationally critically acclaimed Buena Vista Social Club a group whose roots date back to the Cuban club scene of the 1940s before it took the world by storm in the late 90s. She was the first Cuban artist in six years to be granted a visa to perform in the United States and the first Cuban citizen to appear on television as a presenter at The Latin Grammy Awards.

Jose Marte, our great Cuban poet, once said that music is the soul of the people, says Omara. "Music is at the heart of every culture, something to be shared among all people, regardless of borders and politics. It has always been a universal language for people who might not otherwise understand each other. Perhaps, through these performances, I could be a goodwill ambassador between these two countries."

Portuondo's recent appearances in the U.S. in the fall of 2009 and spring of 2010 had critics saying the following:

The Cuban singer Omara Portuondo, is still impulsive onstage. ... She sang high and low, whispering and declaiming, hinting at tears and pride... -New York Times March 2010

"Her performance here of two classic boleros was enough to transport us to another time and place" - Tiny Desk Concert March 2010

More Info / Buy Tickets