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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Mondavi Center to present, host summer music events

SummerMusic 2008 – Free on the Quad at 7:30 p.m.

July 15: Tcheka

July 28: De Castillo

Aug. 25: Phoebe Snow

SummerFest ’08 – Mondavi Center, tickets $18 to $37

July 18 to 20: American Bach Soloists

The sun won’t be the only thing heating up the Quad and Mondavi Center this summer.

Cape Verdean guitarist Tcheka, Latin rockers Del Castillo and celebrated singer Phoebe Snow will headline the SummerMusic 2008 series, presented by Mondavi Center and UC Davis Summer Sessions. The event is free and will take place on the Quad beginning Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

“It is a pleasure to once again present the SummerMusic series of free concerts, and especially exciting to be hosting such outstanding artists,” said Mondavi Center executive director Don Roth in a press release.

Beginning Friday, the American Bach Soloists will present SummerFest ’08 – a special three-night summer event at the Mondavi Center.

“Summer is a time when we’re supposed to do special things,” said Jeffrey Thomas, ABS music director and UC Davis music professor. “And this is a real wonderful, pleasant way to do it.”

Tcheka (Quad, July 15)

Right off of the northwest coast of Africa, a traditional percussive style known as batuque resonates throughout the islands of Cape Verde.

“It’s probably the oldest Cape Verdean music style from a local adaptation of African heritage,” Tcheka said in an e-mail interview. “I try to give my own approach of the style, adding my personal influences like acoustic guitar with jazz touches.”

Tcheka, whose style combines batuque with folk, jazz, funk and world music, has become the ambassador of Cape Verdean music with his storytelling-based songwriting.

“Most artists get inspiration from their surroundings, and it’s [no] different with me,” said Tcheka, who still lives in the Cape Verde countryside. “I describe what I see and I am just trying to share my world.”

Visit myspace.com/tchekacaboverde for a sampling of his music.

American Bach Soloists (Mondavi Center, July 18 to 20)

For three nights, a “multi-faceted adventure into old music” will sweep through the Mondavi Center with the American Bach Soloists’ SummerFest ’08.

“This is a very easy way to experience a wonderful music festival with a real summer music feeling to it,” Thomas said. “In the summertime, we program more popular music – it’s very light and accessible.”

The three nights are an all-encompassing experience with a series of events each evening.

The Artist Spotlight performances begin the program with an interactive journey through three musical periods (Baroque, Early Classical, Romantic) including demonstrations and an audience question-and-answer session.

“Bach’s Suppers” follow with a variety of delicious dinner choices and leads into the Twilight Serenade and Main Event, which showcase each night’s genre with pieces from composers such as Bach, Mozart and Beethoven.

“It’s only three days, which is short enough for people to actually get to do everything,” Thomas said.

Tickets range from $18 to $37 and can be purchased at the Mondavi Center box office.

Del Castillo (Quad, July 28)

The Austin music scene is as prolific as they come, and Del Castillo – led by brothers Rick and Mark del Castillo – stands as one of its most popular bands.

The sextet has been a regular winner at the Austin Music Awards with its eclectic blend of flamenco, rock, Latin, blues and world music styles.

“We listen to all different types of music,” said guitarist and vocalist Rick del Castillo, who has had his band’s guitar work compared to that of Eddie Van Halen. “My brother was into heavy metal and blues, [drummer] Mike [Zeoli] is into Afro-Cuban drum beats and [bassist] Alberto [Besteiro] listens to everything from Bob Dylan to Bob Wills.”

Among Del Castillo’s biggest fans is film director Robert Rodriguez: The “Sin City” director began taking guitar lessons from the older del Castillo brother in 2002.

“The next thing you know, he’s asking us to play in this scene and that scene,” Rick del Castillo said.

Since then, Del Castillo has contributed music to some of Rodriguez’s biggest films, including Once Upon A Time In Mexico and Spy Kids 3D: Game Over. The band also lent its talents to the soundtrack for Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill Vol. 2.

Phoebe Snow (Quad, Aug. 25)

She’s sold millions of albums, delivered a top-five hit single, received prestigious music awards and is one of former President Bill Clinton’s favorite vocalists.

And still, 34 years after the release of her debut album, Phoebe Snow isn’t quite done yet.

“This is kind of a comeback,” said manager John Boylan of Snow’s string of shows that includes her upcoming performance at UC Davis. “It’s sort of like baby steps right now, but college kids are great because they’re receptive and open-minded.”

Snow is a “very eclectic performer,” Boylan said, with musical roots in old R&B, blues and folk with “a tiny bit of jazz.”

Her best-known song is the 1974 top-five hit “Poetry Man,” which was recently covered by Queen Latifah on her last album. Boylan calls the track “one of those timeless songs that is standard at this point.”

When Snow fills the Quad with her incredible four-octave voice, the audience will see that even at 56, she can still bring it.

“She’s still a hellacious singer with amazing chops,” Boylan said.

For more information on SummerMusic 2008 and SummerFest ’08, visit mondaviarts.org.

RAY LIN can be reached at arts@californiaaggie.com.


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