Friday, March 15, 2013

Festival En El Barrio

Get ready for a great day of music at Festival En El Barrio, taking place on Sunday, March 24 near the Tucson Museum of Art.  Local crowd-pleasers, Calexico, headline the event, but this blogger is most excited about the two preceding bands, Rebirth Brass Band and Y La Orkesta.  Read on to hear more about this exciting outdoor music event, coming to a Barrio near you!

Most Tucsonans are well aware of Calexico, and they have been written about in this blog on numerous occasions, as recently as last week.  The Festival En El Barrio set will undoubtedly feature many guests.  Probably a full horn section, and likely a full mariachi accompaniment.  This expanded line-up is definitely my favorite way to see Calexico perform.  To see Pima County Public Library's collection of Calexico CDs, click here.

I have already written a review of Y La Orkesta's compelling performance at the outdoor stage of Hotel Congress last September.  This wonderful and wonderfully giant band (think, like, a dozen horns, three percussionists in addition to the usual suspects) is a pleasure to see live.  They get you moving and really keep a party going.  To checkout their most recent CD, Mambo Mexicano! and their live CD, click here.

Most exciting of the performers at Festival En El Barrio is Rebirth Brass Band.  As readers of this blog probably already know, I have a great love for New Orleans music (horns in general), and Rebirth Brass Band is really at or near the top of the list as far as representing New Orleans music to the world.  According to Wikipedia, "The Rebirth Brass Band is a New Orleans brass band. The group was founded in 1983 by tuba/sousaphone player Philip Frazier, his brother, bass drummer Keith Frazier, and trumpeter Kermit Ruffins,along with other school marching band members from Joseph S. Clark Senior High School in New Orleans’ Trem√© neighborhood. The band released its first studio album in 1984 on Arhoolie Records, and in 1989 gained wider notice with a series of releases on Rounder Records. Rebirth is known for combining traditional New Orleans brass band music, including the New Orleans tradition of second line with funk, jazz, soul and hip hop."

Trust me, these guys are great, and seeing them outdoors, playing in the street, is really the most ideal way to experience their performance.  In fact, they are so good that I am going to San Diego the following weekend to hear them play again.  I hope they lead a second line (a mobile pedestrian brass/dance party) through the streets of downtown Tucson, though, unfortunately, that seems unlikely.  No matter what, Tucson will be lucky to have these quality representatives of New Orleans music performing among the other great bands next Sunday.  Our CD collection does have one song by Rebirth, which can be found on the soundtrack for HBO's show Treme.  Click here to reserve a copy (the whole CD is awesome).  Rebirth Brass Band is also well represented on freegal.

The Festival begins at 1:00 on Sunday, March 24 near The Tucson Museum of Art.  Performers also include Heartless Bastards, The Cordials, and B-Side Players.  The show is a benefit for KXCI Community Radio, tickets are $24 in advance and $27 at the gate.  See you at the Festival, wear your dancing shoes!

Cheers, Brian

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