It’s Thursday at the Skirball, and you know what that means…Sunset Conc…– Oh, wait…The usual hum of set-up didn’t greet me when I arrived at work this morning. There’s no stage over the lily pond, and not a peep from the courtyard. You mean there won’t be a sound check?!
Sadly, summer is gone, and with it went Sunset Concerts 2012. But what a summer it was! And you know what they say: time flies when you’re having fun. On this first post–Sunset Concerts Thursday, here is a look back at all six shows of the season, highlighting the joy they brought, and will always bring, to our community.
Samba Mapangala & Orchestra Virunga kicked off the season in late July. Visitors danced from the very first note until the band left the stage. Here, Samba and a bandmate start their own synchronized dance. Everywhere one looked, one could see people learning the steps and joining in. Photo by Bonnie Perkinson.
Probably one of the most memorable moments of the night: What began as Samba and three ensemble dancers grooving… turned into a party onstage! The concert vibe was incredibly upbeat all night long! Photo by Bonnie Perkinson.
Engaging and animated as ever, Samba engages visitors in a call and response, welcoming us to be part of this musical experience. Photo by Bonnie Perkinson.
The Alaev Family took the stage for the second show of the season. Within the first few songs played by the Alaevs, the area in front of the stage was full of concertgoers dancing, clapping, and waving their arms in time to the music. Photo by Timothy Norris.
A father and son from the multigenerational family band play together. Their matching traditional Tajikistan clothing brought an authentic flair to the performance. It was a joy to see such unity among the musicians. After all, they’re family! Photo by Timothy Norris.
A majestic finale: three generations of the Alaev Family hold up their doyras. Allo Aleav, the eighty-year-old patriarch of the family, is at the very center. Photo by Timothy Norris.
Next, Orquesta Sarabia under the direction of Roberto Rodriguez. Their mesmerizing blend of Cuban, Jewish, and Arabic musical styles brought visitors to their feet. The women pictured here are fully entranced by the music. Photo by Jared Steven.
I love this gorgeous shot of the ten-piece ensemble, who made their West Coast premiere at the Skirball. Many a visitor hoped to buy an Orquesta Sarabia CD, only to find out that the band hasn’t recorded yet. They’re that new! Photo by Jared Steven.
A packed house enjoys Orquesta Sarabia across the Taper Courtyard: from the seats on the mezzanine, to the seats on the floor, to the dance area at the foot of the stage. One can only imagine how great it must feel for the musicians to be embraced by such positive energy from our Sunset Concerts visitors. Photo by Jared Steven.
A charming and easygoing trio from the get-go, the members of De Temps Antan took the stage in t-shirts and jeans, with borrowed guitars. They explained to the audience that due to a last-minute flight change, their concert wardrobe and a couple of instruments (including their foot percussion blocks, so integral to their signature sound) didn’t make it on time. While waiting for their luggage to arrive from LAX, they entertained the audience anyway! Photo by Bonnie Perkinson.
Seen here fully equipped with their stage attire and all of their instruments, De Temps Antan took the courtyard by storm. Despite the initial setbacks of the evening, this was a joyous event and the band’s charm and positivity never wavered throughout their entire set. Photo by Bonnie Perkinson.
There was a festive atmosphere during the entire concert: visitors joined De Temps Antan in foot-stomping rhythms and folk-like dance steps. As one can see, hand clapping was a major part of the evening. Photo by Bonnie Perkinson.
De Temps Antan’s music was so captivating that the Skirball’s President and CEO, Uri Herscher, and his wife, Myna, joined in the revelry, dancing, clapping, and having a ball together, much like most every couple and family who attended the concert that evening. Photo by Bonnie Perkinson.
On the fifth night of the series, we presented hometown band La Santa Cecilia. From the minute she stepped onto the stage, all eyes were on lead singer La Marisoul. Not only was her skirt a traffic-stopping neon green petticoat, but her voice was strong, soulful, and effortlessly on key. Photo by Bonnie Perkinson.
From the undeniably up-tempo, cumbia and bolero-infused music to the string of hanging lights bordering the stage, the Skirball’s Taper Courtyard was transformed into a festive dance party. Here, La Marisoul, guitarist Gloria Estrada, and percussionist Miguel Ramirez perform to a crowd of adoring fans and Sunset Concerts regulars, whom I have no doubt became instant La Santa Cecilia converts. Photo by Bonnie Perkinson.
A shot of the whole band playing for the audience: what a night full of color and energy! Here, La Marisoul dances across the stage while visitors groove along below. It was no surprise that after their set was complete, they sang two encores: a cover of The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields” and a repeat of “La Negra” from earlier in the evening. Photo by Bonnie Perkinson.
It was a beautiful night, complete with a clear night sky and a full moon, for Eric Bibb’s String Band featuring Dirk Powell, Cedric Watson, and Grant Dermody. Making their world premiere at the Skirball, the band transported the audience to a grand front porch of sorts (our Taper Courtyard!) along a Louisiana bayou (our lily pond!). Photo by Timothy Norris.
In this shot taken from the back of the courtyard, there’s not an empty seat in sight. The warm glow of the strings of lights wrapped around each tree added to the communal, cozy feeling of the night.
Here, visitors enthusiastically dance below the stage while Grant Dermody, Eric Bibb, Cedric Watson, and Dirk Powell play folk blues and American roots music. The musicians took turns doing solos, much to the delight of the crowd, while Eric Bibb dominated with his rich, soothing baritone. It was the perfect evening to close out the 2012 Sunset Concerts.