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Santa Monica Kicks Off Americana in the Park Concert Series

Bob Kronovetrealty
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By Lookout Staff

September 14, 2021 -- The City and Santa Monica's iconic McCabe's Guitar Shop will be testing a new partnership model with the launch of a new roots music series Sunday in Gandara Park.

The Americana in the Park series -- which runs every Sunday through October 10 -- is a pilot project that provides City funding and support to local organizations for community events.

The series kicks off with the nine-member Masanga Marimba Ensemble, which performs traditional and popular "high-energy" music from Zimbabwe and Latin America on a variety of instruments, concert organizers said.

Opening the show is West African folklorist Baba the Storyteller, a practitioner of the ancient West African bardic craft known as Jaliyaa. (for the series schedule click here)

“Our hope is that this new model of partnership will engage and support local community organizations, and will strengthen our communities’ connectedness," said Shannon Daut, the City's Cultural Affairs manager.

"We’re looking forward to this new approach to continue to bring free family-friendly events to public spaces across Santa Monica,” Daut said.

The new series picks up where Jazz on the Lawn left off after 14 years when the cornonavirus emergency shut down the summer series in Gandara Park, City officials said.

The Americana in the Park series "will explore the arc of Americana music from its roots in traditional African, Appalachian, roots, blues, bluegrass and folk music, to its modern forms of folk and country music," event organizers said.

"Showcasing a diverse group of Southern California artists and Americana styles, each concert will feature two family-friendly groups, with the opener geared towards children."

Each concert also feature food trucks and a Pop-Up Shop for McCabe’s, the musical instrument store, concert venue, repair shop and music school that opened in the Pico Neighborhood in 1958.

"We've been a beloved concert venue in the Pico neighborhood for over 60 years" said Kora Peterson, McCabe’s concert and event producer.
"During the pandemic, we were forced to temporarily discontinue our concerts.

"We are so excited to host shows again and for the opportunity to reimagine the Jazz on the Lawn series and give some context and history to the Americana music genre,” Peterson said.

Americana in the Park is made possible by Art of Recovery, an initiative of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs that "harnesses the arts to play a major role in the City’s recovery efforts," organizers said.

The concerts will be held in accordance with the most current guidance from state and local health agencies.

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