“Extra large what?” Well, this isn’t a “what”, it’s a “who”. Local favorites Extra Large have been called “uniquely Santa Cruz” by serving up their supersized sound of reggae, Latin, hip-hop, funk, and rock for years. Voted “Best Band” for many years by Santa Cruz Weekly and Good Times readers, Extra Large blends original material with creative takes on covers that are so funky you just gotta dance. Find out in person when Extra Large plays at Don Quixote’s International Music Hall in Felton Saturday, March 15th. Showtime is 7 pm. Check out this selection from their first album “Dance to the Spin” https://soundcloud.com/vlealxl/dance-to-the-spin
The weekend-long Spring Brookdale Bluegrass Festival has moved 25 miles up the coast from Santa Cruz to Pescadero, CA, north of Año Nuevo State Park on Highway 1 to the Costanoa Lodge. Concerts start at 5:00pm on Friday evening March 7, 2014 followed by all-night jamming. Pete Wernick and Jean Butterfield will lead workshops Saturday morning, followed by more concerts and non-stop jamming. The festival will conclude with an open mic on Sunday morning. Performers include Pete & Joan Wernick, David Thom and Jim Lewin, the Naked Bootleggers, Bill Evans, Cactus Bob & Prairie Flower, Regina Bartlett and Friends, The Stoney Mountain Ramblers, The Tuttles with A.J. Lee (sans Molly Tuttle who is away at college), and many others. Tickets are available for all or part of the weekend, as is lodging. No worries about the weather, as performances will be indoors as needed.
If you haven’t seen The White Album Ensemble, you should. They reproduce music that The Beatles recorded but did not perform (“Rubber Soul” through “Abbey Road” albums). The Kuumbwa Jazz Center, with its great acoustics and grand piano, provide a perfect setting for an intimate concert of Beatles songs “unplugged” – acoustic instruments with an accent on vocals and harmonies. Special guests include vocalists Tammi Brown and Alysha Antonino along with percussionist Steve Robertson. The White Album Ensemble’s “Beatles Unplugged” show comes to the Kuumbwa in downtown Santa Cruz Friday, March 14th at 8 pm.
Singer/songwriter Ani DiFranco was considered a “folk punk” artist when she recorded her first albums in 1997 and ’98. Her style and message got her nominated for “Best Female Rock Vocal Performance” at the Grammys both years. Driven by social activism and a restless creativity, she continually leads herself and her listeners into ever more exciting territory. Touring with a five-piece band, Ani DiFranco comes to the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz Wednesday, March 5th. Showtime is 8 pm.
Lúnasa, one of the outstanding traditional bands from Ireland, will be performing at Don Quixote’s in Felton, CA on Monday, February 24, 2014 at 7:30pm. Presented by the Celtic Society of the Monterey Bay, the band includes Seán Smyth (fiddle and low whistles), Kevin Crawford (flute, low whistles and tin whistles), Cillian Vallely (uilleann pipes and low whistles), Trevor Hutchinson (double bass) and the group’s newest member Ed Boyd (guitar). As an all-instrumental band, they play a diverse array of their own compositions, as well as traditional melodies from Ireland and other Celtic regions including Brittany, Galicia, Asturias, and Scotland, often weaving tunes in medleys that build in rhythmic excitement with intricate harmonies. Nominees and winners of numerous awards including Best Traditional Album of the Year in Ireland, and Folk Album of the Year in the BBC Radio 2 Awards, they have also performed for President Obama in the White House and collaborated with Billy Bragg, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and Roseanne Cash in concert to much acclaim.
Master of the gaita (Spanish bagpipe), flute, and recorder, Galician multi-instrumentalist Carlos Núñez will be appearing with his band on Thursday, February 20, 2014, 7:30pm at Don Quixote’s in Felton, CA. Carlos blends the music of his native Galicia (the Celtic Northwest region of Spain) with the traditional music of Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, and other areas of the world including Cuba, Brazil and Argentina. His most recent double-album features numerous guest artists including Jackson Browne, Los Lobos, Sinéad O’Connor, Laurie Anderson, the Chieftains, the Buena Vista Social Club and many more, as examples of the diversity in his interests. Presented by the Celtic Society of the Monterey Bay.
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