Is It Any Good?

The Skirball Cultural Center is not something you might naturally associate with free Summer Concerts, but they are happening through August. Where LACMA has concerts that are either Jazz or Latin influenced, what’s happening at Skirball can be called more World Music. If that’s your thing, then hey…

It’s just one more venue to hang out with friends on a hot Summer’s night. So, give it a thought. Here’s the schedule:

July 25, 2013, 8pm:
The Belle Brigade

Kick off Sunset Concerts with L.A.’s The Belle Brigade, who blend a myriad of classic Americana influences—from country twang and folk to breezy California melodies à la Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles—into infectious harmonies fueled by driving drum rhythms.


Led by brother-and-sister duo Barbara and Ethan Gruska, The Belle Brigade come from a long line of talented musicians, including film score composer John Williams. Barbara has also drummed with L.A. indie stars Jenny Lewis (Rilo Kiley) and Inara George (The Bird and the Bee).


August 1, 2013, 8pm:
Shye Ben-Tzur

Don’t miss the West Coast premiere of acclaimed Israeli composer, producer, and performer Shye Ben-Tzur, who blends devotional qawwali music with Hebrew poetry, Indian classical vocals, rocking bass, and Spanish guitar.


Ben-Tzur’s quirky juxtapositions flow from his decade-long love affair with India and his unique life experience. A published poet in his native Israel, he grew up studying music and playing in rock bands until he attended a concert of Indian master musicians Zakir Hussain and Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia. He fell in love with the music and decided to establish North India as his creative base.


He will be accompanied here by prominent musicians from the Rajasthani “gypsy” tradition.


August 8, 2013, 8pm:
Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars

Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars have inflamed the passions of fans everywhere with their uplifting songs of hope, faith, and joy.


From humble beginnings in West African refugee camps, the band has gone on to perform their danceable fusion of vintage reggae, Congolese soukous, American soul, funky African grooves, and deep tribal chants on some of the world’s most prestigious stages.


August 15, 2013, 8pm:
Mamak Khadem and Ensemble

Influenced by the ancient poetry and music of Persia, Mamak Khadem creates emotional and spiritual work that inspires deeper appreciation of cultural diversity.


The former lead singer of acclaimed cross-cultural ensemble Axiom of Choice is here accompanied by world-class musicians from Greek, Persian, and Syrian traditions playing the oud, tonbak, setar, kanun, and more.


Don’t miss the informal Kurdish and Azeri dance instruction before the show at 7:15 p.m.!


August 22, 2013, 8pm:
Maria Muldaur and The Campbell Brothers

Catch the world-premiere collaboration between Grammy-winning vocalist Maria Muldaur (best-known for her recording of “Midnight at the Oasis”) and The Campbell Brothers.


The collaboration is a perfect meeting of Muldaur’s own brand of New Orleans–flavored blues, R&B, and “swamp funk” and The Campbell Brothers’ gospel-inspired music. The high-energy ensemble features the swinging voice of pedal and lap steel guitars played by two of the finest in the tradition, Chuck and Darick Campbell, as well as a dynamic rhythm section led by Phil and Carlton Campbell.


August 29, 2013, 8pm:

Dendê & Band

Afro-Brazilian Dendê & Band combine Brazil’s rhythm-heavy music with the grooves of Afrobeat, reggae, and merengue. Led by master percussionist and singer Dendê, the band’s joyous, upbeat live shows exude sizzling showmanship and versatility.


Dendê has been a professional musician since the age of fourteen, when he appeared in the frontline of Timbalada, Carlinhos Brown’s superstar percussion ensemble. Since 2001, he has played with Mongo Santamaria, David Byrne, and Vinicius Cantuária. His own bands include the folkloric music and dance troupe Ologundê, the acoustic Samba de Três, and Arrastão do Dendê.


Skirball Cultural Center
2701 North Sepulveda Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90049