Downtown Los Angeles, California is in the midst of a large downtown revitalization program that started well before the real estate implosion of 2008. As part of this program, the city of Los Angeles sponsors Grand Performances, a series of free concerts held at the California Plaza on top of Bunker Hill.

image via GrandPerformances.org

“Grand Performances brings in an interesting mix of musicians, dancers and storytellers every year, from Brazilian Samba to Rock en Español to Hip Hop to Afro-Cuban sounds and modern dance. Concerts are commonly scheduled Friday at noon, Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons. There are sometimes concerts on other nights as well. Some groups have multiple performances.” Read more . . . 

California Plaza – before the show

It is not uncommon for concert goers to arrive 2 hours before curtain call to picnic and hang out with other concert goers.  On this specific night, all seats and seating areas were packed by 6:30 p.m. The show did not start until 8:00 p.m.

California Plaza – in full swing

The show was headlined by Stones Throw Records super-group Breakestra, and, international recording artists Bibi Tanga & The Selenites.  The night was hosted by Garth Trinidad of KRCW.

Overlooking dance floor #1

Breakestra

Breakestra is a legendary Los Angeles funk collective headed by Miles “music man” Tackett’s. Breakestra was first formed in the 90’s as a live band playing “covers” of funk, soul and jazz breaks. They’ve since evolved into mainstays on the Los Angeles live music circuit. Click here to watch them perform “Hector”. Their latest album, Dusk Till Dawn, is available now through iTunes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breakestra led by Miles “Music Man” Tackett

 

Bibi Tanga & The Selenites

As the son of a Central African diplomat, Bibi Tanga’s exposure to different countries and cultures can be heard in his music. Combining 70’s funk,  Afrobeat and a myriad of Latin and European influences, he’s built a strong fan base through Europe, Russia and Africa. His latest album with  his band The Selenites, 40 Degrees of Sunshine, is available through iTunes.

 

 

 

 

Bibi Tanga & The Selenites

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This coming weekend, hosted by Aaron Byrd of KRCW, Strunz & Farah will be headlining with Niyaz.

“Niyaz, which means “yearning” in both Persian and Urdu, blends the folk traditions of India and Iran with trance-inducing electronic beats from L.A.’s own Carmen Rizzo – all fueled by the haunting and evocative voice of Azam Ali. Dive into the hypnotic sounds of Sufi mysticism and electronica as this trio steps outside the recording studio and reunites for a rare live performance.

Latin America meets the Middle East via acoustic guitar with Costa Rican Jorge Strunz and Iranian Ardeshir Farah return to our stage for the first time since enthralling our audience in the early 1990s. As the Grammy-nominated, internationally touring Strunz & Farah, these two virtuosos deliver passages of Middle-Eastern influenced Flamenco over a foundation of Afro-Cuban percussion.” Grand Performances LA

To see an overview of Grand Performances LA 2012 season, click here.

Grand Performances LA is an non-profit organization and relies on grants and donations.  To show your support, click here.