November-December 2015

A Trio of Musical Treats to Try

By Audrey Coleman

Kimo Christmastime album

The holidays come and ho-ho-hum

Do we do what we always do?

Maybe you haven’t tried

Or can’t quite decide

How to make the holidays new.

To answer your questions, I’ve got three suggestions

To help make the holidays gleam.

Three events that inspire,

That deep inner fire

Of joy and good will you can beam!

Las Posadas Folk Tradition

As the Christmas story goes, Joseph and Mary went from inn to inn, but were turned away repeatedly. Every year from December 16 to 24, the merchant families of Olvera Street re-enact that journey for the nine nights of Advent in a candlelit procession, singing hymns and holiday songs in Spanish and English. The couple representing Mary and Joseph leads the group every night, stopping at shops to request shelter. At the final stop, the doors swing open and volunteers distribute pan dulce and champurrado, a Mexican hot chocolate. The procession starts on Olvera Street at 7:00pm, but between 5:30 and 7:00pm you can enjoy an outdoor presentation of folksongs and dances. Part of El Pueblo Historic Monument, Olvera Street is located between Main and Alameda Streets in downtown L.A. Parking is available at nearby lots on Main, Los Angeles and Alameda Streets. Public transportation is also available via the Metrolink, MTA rail, and bus service to Union Station’

Candle-lighting to Music

The first night of Hanukkah is Sunday, December 6 this year and Sinai Temple in Westwood is celebrating with a free community concert that culminates in an actual lighting of the menorah at 5:30pm. Between 4:00pm and 5:30pm, three groups representing the broad spectrum of Jewish music will entertain the audience. The synagogue’s youth choir will sing a variety of Hanukkah songs in Hebrew and English; song sheets with English transliterations of Hebrew lyrics will be provided to the audience. The orchestra of the Akiva Academy, Sinai’s day school, will perform instrumental selections from the liturgical and folk music traditions. The American Jewish University Choir will perform arrangements more in the realm of Jewish art music. Sinai Temple welcomes everyone to share this event located at 10400 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90024. Parking is available off Holmby Street. Use the Beverly Glen entrance to access the concert hall.

Adding Aloha to Your Holidays

Kimo’s Aloha Christmas Special Concert has become a tradition at Alva’s Showroom in San Pedro, an intimate ambience with superior acoustics. On December 19, acclaimed slack key guitarist James “Kimo” West will in motion a relaxed, party atmosphere filled with Hawaiian music and dance. He will play new original compositions from his November 20 release Guitar Stories as well as favorites from his popular CDs Slack Key Christmas and Ki’Ho Alu Christmastime with backup from guest musicians on steel guitar, ukulele, and ipu heke (large Hawaiian gourd drum). Vocalists Diana Tanaka and Kapo Ku will deliver songs of the season, Hawaiian-style and dancers Amanda Taketa and Kevin Tsusui will add enlivening hula to the mix. Alva’s Showroom is located at 1417 W. Eighth Street, San Pedro, CA 90732. For ticket information and reservations, call 800-403-3447 .

Audrey Coleman is a journalist, educator, and ethnomusicologist exploring traditional and world musics in Southern California and beyond.


All Columns by Audrey Coleman