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The Wild Beast Concert Series at CalArts Presents African Beats: From Ghana to L.A., a Tribute to Steven Lavine

The Wild Beast Concert Series at CalArts Presents African Beats: From Ghana to L.A., a Tribute to Steven Lavine
Nani Agbeli, faculty in the African Music and Dance program | Photo credit: Steven A. Gunther.

An evening of African music and dance celebrates CalArts’ President Steven Lavine’s 29 years of exceptional leadership. The concert is free; the evening also includes a multicultural-themed cuisine under the stars for $50.

Held at the Wild Beast music pavilion on the CalArts campus, African Beats: From Ghana to L.A., a Tribute to Steven Lavine begins at 7:00 pm on Saturday, October 15.

Valencia, CA, September 16— The African Music and Dance Programhas been a hallmark of California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) since the Institute first opened in 1970, inspiring both generations of musicmakers and the community as a whole. The concert African Beats: From Ghana to L.A., a Tribute to Steven Lavine offers a journey through the history of African music and the influence it has had on CalArts musicians. This special evening pays tribute to the program’s most ardent champion, outgoing President Steven Lavine, through the artistry of three CalArts African groups—Kidi BandAzoli Highlife Band, and Aza. CalArts trustee and alumnus Dave Bossert will be the master of ceremonies for the gala tribute.

Hosted by the Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts, the concert will take place on Saturday, October 15, 2016 at 7 p.m. at the Wild Beast music pavilion on the CalArts campus. Lawn seating for the outdoor concert is free with reservations. The concert is part of Celebration of the Arts: A Tribute to Steven D. Lavine, a dinner and arts showcase celebrating President Lavine’s historic leadership. Tickets are $50. This includes access to special seating with views of all performances, a multi-cultural themed dinner, and a private bar. Click here to reserve tickets for the global-cuisine dinner or contact 661 253-7727.

Featuring faculty, students and alumni, the concert highlights a range of interpretations from contemporary hybrid sounds to traditional expressions. Alumni quartet Kidi Band opens the show with polyrhythmic dance grooves and tight harmonies, before a second alumni ensemble, Azoli, offers a contemporary take on a popular Ghanaian crossover genre called Highlife. The evening concludes with what is sure to be a rousing performance by Aza, the Institute’s resident African music and dance ensemble, as it salutes President Lavine, who is stepping down this spring after a 29-year tenure.
Aza director Nani Agbeli, who is also Director of CalArts’ West African Music, Dance, and Arts Program, described the ensemble’s origins and ethos. “West African dance-drum music is among the most complex and beautiful polyrhythmic musical forms in the world. Developed over centuries, the compositions and accompanying dances and songs are intricate and powerful artistic masterpieces. With the intensity and the power that Aza brings to Ghanaian music and dance, all you have to do is try and sit still.” 

The acclaimed African Music and Dance program at The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts has informed generations of musicians. Since the beginning of the program in the early 1970s, CalArts alumni have taken African influences out into the world and created an extended musical community in Los Angeles and beyond. The open and inclusive nature of the program has allowed students of all musical disciplines—and from all other Schools—to immerse themselves in the music and dance of West Africa. 

Calendar Editors Please Note:
Concert: African Beats: From L.A. to Ghana, a Tribute to Steven Lavine, part of the Wild Beast Concert Series 
Dinner event: Celebration of the Arts: A Tribute to Steven Lavine 

Saturday, October 15, 2016 at 7:00 pm
Concert and tribute dinner both begin at 7 pm.
The Wild Beast Music Pavilion on the campus of California Institute of the Arts (CalArts)
24700 McBean Parkway, Valencia CA 91355
Concert admission is free Reservations suggested

Tickets for the global-cuisine dinner and arts showcase are $50
This includes exclusive access to: 
Special seating with views of all performances showcasing the best of CalArts across the métiers
Al Fresco Dinner Party with a multicultural-themed cuisine
Private bar for ticket buyers only (non-hosted bar) 
For tickets, click here or contact 661 253-7727

Click here for directions 
For information call 661 253 7825
One of the first schools in the United States to offer degree programs in World Music performance, CalArts has a history of nurturing traditional and new forms of music from a variety of cultures. Students in the World Music Program closely study music and dance practices from around the globe, while simultaneously acquiring solid grounding in music theory, musicianship skills, and music history and literature.
Ranked as America’s top college for students in the arts by Newsweek/The Daily BeastCalifornia Institute of the Arts has set the pace for educating professional artists since 1970. Offering rigorous undergraduate and graduate degree programs through six schools—Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music, and Theater—CalArts has championed creative excellence, critical reflection, and the development of new forms and expressions. As successive generations of faculty and alumni have helped shape the landscape of contemporary arts, the Institute first envisioned by Walt Disney encompasses a vibrant, eclectic community with global reach, inviting experimentation, independent inquiry, and active collaboration and exchange among artists, artistic disciplines and cultural traditions.