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The Audacity of Sound takes place outdoors on Grand Avenue this Saturday July 6th from 3-10pm

A free, audacious, and exciting festival that only Grand Performances can produce
Leigh Anne Hahn and Mari Riddle - Grand Performances
El Güido
Foto: María Madrigal Jul 05, 2019

Grand Performances has been producing a free summer concert series for over 30 years, delivering the best of global music and creating community among the many lucky enough to attend their quality programming.

Grand Performances are the pioneers of the format – long before so many other organizations and areas of Downtown L.A. began following their lead. On Saturday, Grand Performances will demonstrate why they’re the bold leaders as they invite you to celebrate to partake in joy, art and music (J.A.M.) at their day long festival.

At the helm of the concert series is the opportunity to connect across cultural barriers through the magic and power of music. This year, Grand Performances has adapted to how they present as their home venue at the California Plaza is being renovated and revamped to make space for a larger capacity.

But this isn’t holding back GP from still presenting exciting artists and are using this as an opportunity to create “Audacity of Sound” a concept that will take over Grand Avenue in DTLA on Saturday from 3-10pm.

I sat down with Leigh Anne Hahn, Director of Programming and Mari Riddle, Executive Director to get the inside scoop on this free festival that only Grand Performances can be audacious to deliver that will feature tributes to cannabis-related songs to tributes to the musical muses of past performers of the series.

“The name for the festival “The Audacity of Sound” came about after a series of discussions on what would capture what Grand Performances does well” explained Riddle about their venture and opportunity to take what they do on to the streets. Podcaster Jay Conner helped create the name of the festival.

Hahn explained that “this is the equivalent of looking through a kaleidoscope where you can pick out the gems and when it’s all mirrored together it becomes this gorgeous, beautiful mosaic of colors and things – that’s what I think we’re doing. We’re talking all the components that you’d see throughout the summer and we’re putting them all into beautiful kaleidoscopic view. It’s a lot of things you’d experience with us in one beautiful little tidy package. It’s the festival experience that’s bigger than a block party and it’s got more heart than huge festivals.”

For the festival, the artist I’ve dubbed as the “Chicano Beck” aka David Garza, a singer songwriter who’s a powerhouse performer who recently did the soundtrack to the HBO documentary “Beto” will be taking the audience on quite a trip through his set, “Normalize, Harmonize” which will feature a century of songs about cannabis, one decade at a time. The set will feature a very special appearance by Margaret Cho. You'll definitely have to check out this unique performance and witness what an amazing performer David Garza is.

David Garza | Tiny Desk Concert

Grand Performances alumnae performers, Gaby Moreno and La Marisoul (La Santa Cecilia) along with Marta Gonzalez (Quetzal) and Dorian Wood are putting together a super group that will pay tribute to their muses: Chavela Vargas, Joni Mitchell, Nina Simone and Violeta Parra. The sheer talent of these amazing artists performing iconic songs is sure to be an unforgettable experience you don’t want to miss. Each of theses artists on their own are incredible and combine them all with an all-female band and you’re bound to witness something so special that you’ll be talking about it for days and even years. There are many performances I still talk about many years later and you don’t want to miss this one.

La Marisoul | Violeta Parra Tribute

Grand Performances doesn’t just present artists, but they create special presentations that highlight the work and legacy of people and communities in Los Angeles. Dexter Story is creating a special performance that is honoring the legacy of a very important Angeleno that many people don’t know about. Biddy Mason was a former slave that became a prominent member of the African American community who was a real estate entrepreneur, a medical practitioner, and a midwife who put together clinics for low income communities. Biddy and her brother founded the First A.M.E Church in L.A.

The Gospel of Madame Biddy” honors Biddy’s long lasting legacy and historic contributions to our city. Dexter Story pays tribute to this notable figure that many will learn more about through music.

Grand Performances is known for presenting some of the best world music and with “Audacity of Sound” they are not shying away from bringing talent and representing cultures from all over the globe. Self-touted “Afro-peans”, DjeuhDjoah & Lieutenant Nicholson will be making their L.A. debut bringing their electronic-laden Afro dance music to Bunker Hill on Grand Avenue.

Djeuhdjoah & Lieutenant Nicholson | El Niño

Toronto-based, two-spirit, tenor, composer and First Nation artist, Jeremy Dutcher will offer one of the most exhilarating and awe-inducing sets mixing his traditional Maliseet roots with jazz and operatic sensibilities that will blow your mind. Their album “Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa” was awarded the 2018 Polaris Music Prize and the Juno Award for Indigenous Album of the Year in 2019. This will be yet another performance you will not want to miss.

Audacity of Sound” will not only feature a myriad of artists and cultures from sitar player, Masoud Rezai who will be performing unique songs in traditional instrumentation to the incredible Iranian singer Sara Naeni who has quite some treats for your ears to the Afro-Cuban funky grooves of Cimafunk, but the free family-friendly festival will also feature a reading room in partnership with First5LA and the Los Angeles Public Library.

Cimafunk | Me Voy

At the top of each quarter hour there will be someone reading a book. “The Audacity of Sound doesn’t have to be just music, it can also be a human voice telling the story, reading to children and the importance of just the sonic waves, the soothing ways of lullabies or the repetitive learning from reading that help children learn the basics of language” explained Hahn. A great way to introduce a key element that serves as the foundation for songwriting.

The Audacity of Sound takes place outdoors on Grand Avenue this Saturday July 6th from 3-10pm. It’s free and will feature lots of great interactive components as well that will make this festival experience unlike any other you’ve been to before. A free, audacious, and exciting festival that only Grand Performances can produce effortlessly.

Click on the image for more information!

Audacity of Sound - Grand Performances

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