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'Americana in the Park' Concert Series Returns

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By Lookout Staff

August 9, 2022 -- Santa Monica kicks off the second-annual Americana in the Park concert series next month in Gandara Park with a native Tongva blessing and kora music from West Africa.

The series -- staged in partnership with McCabe’s Guitar Shop -- takes place every Sunday in September from 4 to 7 p.m. and features everything from bluegrass to East L.A. brass-infused Chicano soul music.

The free series "explores the arc of Americana music from its roots to modern forms, showcasing a diverse group of Southern California artists and styles," concert organizers said.

The series opens September 4 with a Tongva land acknowledgment and blessing by singer-songwriter, poet, author and "culture bearer" Tina Orduno Calderon.

The cncert kicks off with a performance by nine-time world champion Native hoop dancer Eric Hernandez, followed by Prince Diabaté and Friends.

"Considered to be one of the leading kora players of his generation, Prince Diabaté and Friends brings not only total mastery over his ancestral tradition, but a commitment to renew it through fresh ideas and exchanges with musicians from many cultures," concert organizers said.

On September 11, McCabe’s Hootenanny Collective -- comprised of teachers and staff from the iconic guitar shop -- "invites attendees to bring their instrument of choice and to join a sing-along free-for-all."

The opening sing-along will be followed by the bluegrass group AJ Lee and Blue Summit, which will perform a blend of "country, soul, swing, rock and jam musical influences."

he following Sunday, September 18, "folk rockin’" children’s music group Earthworm Ensemble will open for I See Hawks in L.A., "a leading Southern California alternative country, Americana and folk rock band."

The series concludes September 25 with the "soul and jazz-inspired" music of Jacob G. and the Score, followed by Little Willie G.

Nicknamed “The Godfather of Brown-Eyed Soul,” vocalist Little Willie G. "gained fame with Thee Midniters in the 1960s and continues to thrill audiences with his local East L.A. brass-infused Chicano soul music."

Americana in the Park is made possible by Art of Recovery, an initiative of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs "to expand access to the arts throughout the city through community partnerships."

In addition to a family-friendly headliner and opener, each concert will feature rotating food trucks and a McCabe’s Guitar Pop-Up Shop. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and blankets.

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