Watts Towers Cultural Festivals ~ This Weekend

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This weekend, an all-star line-up of world class musicians, singers, and dancers will come together to celebrate Watts Towers Arts Center: The First 54 Years 1961-2015 – Where Truth & Art Connect through the 34th Annual Watts Towers Day of the Drum Festival and the 39th Annual Simon Rodia Watts Towers Jazz Festival on Saturday, September 26, 2015, and Sunday, September 27, 2015. In celebration of the Watts Tower’s Arts Center’s first 54 years, this fall’s line up will take you on a musical journey around the world and takes place from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on both days, the two festivals are presented by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) and the Friends of Watts Towers Arts Center and are free for the entire family.

Garifuna Cultural Group Image

SEPT 26th: Saturday’s Day of the Drum Festival is led by Masters of Ceremonies James Janisse and Ndugu Chancler and the line-up will take the audience on a musical journey around the world beginning with a Yoruba ground blessing ceremony  by Alaadun, uniting all cultures based on common themes and principles. Balinese music and dance will follow with a metallic percussion ensemble by Gamelan Burat Wangi as well as music by Afro Cuban Folkloric group, Nclave. Brought up in Watts and East L.A., Poet Laureate Luis Rodriguez, best known for his memoir “Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A.,” will bring his spoken word to the stage. Healing music from West Africa by Farfina and Michael White’s dynamic rhythms & conversations drum ensemble concludes the opening day’s program.

Michael White image

Sunday’s Jazz Festival is overseen by Masters of Ceremonies Kamau Daáood and James Janisse and opens with the Yoruba traditional drum ensemble Alaadun. Jasmine Tommaso Quartet follows with a “Father-Daughter” collaboration of a lifetime. The day’s festival also features Big Llou Jackson and the Chicago Blue Band; Phil Ranelin Ensemble, straight ahead jazz with an Afro Cuban tinge and the spoken words of Poet Laureate Luis Rodriguez. Among the day’s highlights are Art Webb’s tribute to Johnny Polanco, Tai Chi Chuan School of Martial Arts Healing with instructor Daniel Hoover and Carmen Lundy, jazz vocalist and composer. The JMP All Stars featuring Patrice Rushun, Ndugu Chancler, Dr. Bobby Rodriquez, Munyungo Jackson, Nedra Wheeler and Justo Almario, close the weekend celebration.