Search International Institute website.

World Festival of Sacred Music - September 13 - 28, 2008 -- 1,000 Artists in 16 Days at 41 Events

The World Festival of Sacred Music kicks off with a Gala Concert featuring music from Angola, India, Indonesia, Tuva (Russia), and the US.

Saturday, September 13, 2008
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Royce Hall
UCLA campus
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Below is information about the opening concert and a partial listing of some of the events.  Full calendar can be found at

Please check website to verify ticket availability and for any schedule/artist/venue changes.
Opening Gala Concert - Saturday, September 13 - performers scheduled to appear:
Waldemar Bastos - ANGOLA

  • The great voice of contemporary Angola creates indelibly beautiful songs using a blend of soukous, zouk, fado and samba.  He draws from a wealth of influences, local and global—uses his shimmering guitar and golden, yearning voice to create infectious and passionate songs and styles from Angola, the Congo, Brazil, Portugal, and beyond.

Rupayan - INDIA

  • Traveling from the high deserts of Rajasthan India, the eight-member ensemble of hereditary musicians, poets, and singers tell stories of epic heroism.

Emiko Susilo - INDONESIA /Rob Levit - USA

  • Asmarandana - the collaboration of a Balinese singer and American jazz guitarist - interprets songs from the traditional Javanese poetic form.

Chirgilchin - TUVA (Russia)

  • From the small Russian province of Tuva, the master throat singers create harmonic resonances that result in multiple pitches at a given time.

Lian Ensemble - USA

  • The Los Angeles based ensemble performs classical Persian music driven by a synthesis of stylistic sources and influences.

 For more info, contact World Festival of Sacred Music - 120 Westwood Plaza, Suite 188, Los Angeles, CA 90095 -
“If Not Now, When?  A Concert for Peace in Darfur” --  Featuring Michael Fitzpatrick and special guest Cantor Caren Glasser
Sunday, September 14 at 2 PM
Temple Kol Tikvah, 20400 Ventura Blvd,  Woodland Hills, CA 91364
$18.00 - proceeds to benefit Darfur  --  Tickets & info:  818-348-0670 x 214 --  --
Hailed by Rome’s Il Tempo as “the destiny of the cello,” Michael Fitzpatrick’s refined yet passionate style on the acoustic and electric cellos has connected with audiences from all walks of life around the world. His intensely emotional artistry is joined with the exquisite voice of Cantor Caren Glasser at Temple Kol Tikvah, creating a meditative canvas of music from diverse traditions. “So powerful it seems almost verbalized,” the Dalai Lama said of Fitzpatrick’s music, which played a signal role in an extraordinary happening called the Compassion Rising project, in which musicians and monks from East and West descended together into Mammoth Cave in a musical dialogue commemorating the meeting of the Dalai Lama and the Catholic monk Thomas Merton three decades earlier. The meeting of the two young monks marked the beginning of an ongoing interfaith dialogue in search of a common language of wisdom and compassion.
Masar Wa Nisae – the Woman's Path  --  The music of Northern Morocco's Arab, Jewish and Berber women 
Monday, September 15 at 8 PM
Barnsdall Gallery Theatre, 4800 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90027
$26 - Tickets & Info: (Purchase tickets at door 1 hour before show, or anytime via web, no phone orders)
Whether gathered in the interior courtyards of the houses in the Jewish quarter kneading the dough for Passover matzah, or in the Rif mountains, where Berber women gather the grains at harvest time, women accompany their quotidian tasks with song.  They share the joys and sorrows of their lives in the richly varied traditional repertoire explored in this joint concert by Vanessa Paloma (voice, medieval harp) and Samira Kadiri (voice), accompanied by Nabil Akbib (violin, oud, percussion), David Martinelli (percussion) and Romeo Guzman (nay).
Paloma grew up in Colombia, tracing her Jewish roots to the Sephardic community of Spain generations earlier.  Kadiri, a classically trained soprano, is a Moroccan Muslim.  Together they reflect on the shared pleasures and pains of women’s lives, celebrating the sisterhood that emerges as voices gather in the diverse soundscape of the Maghreb region:  Gharnati, Berber, Andalusian, Algerian, and Jaquetía (Moroccan Judeo-Spanish)—a gorgeous array of idioms, expressing everything from the pangs of romantic love to the ache of spiritual yearning.

Sounds of the Mediterranean and Beyond - The Stefani Valadez Ensemble, Ist West Ensemble and The Ava Nahas Percussion Trio
Thursday, September 18 at 8 PM
Murphy Recital Hall at Loyola Marymount University
One LMU Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90045 -
Ticket price(s): $20 Pre-sale and $25 at the Door (Seating is limited, so might want to get them pre-sale) - - -
The deep, haunting voice and lyrical guitar of Stefani Valadez highlights an evening that will carry the audience on a musical journey from Spain through North Africa, Turkey, and the Near East.  The Stefani Valadez Ensemble, comprises a select number of the best players from Los Angeles's world music scene. Joined by guest dancer Melanie Kareem, they will essay a deep exploration of the roots and branches of the Sephardic music, associated with the Jews of medieval and Renaissance Spain, where Jews coexisted closely and amicably with Muslims—with some excursions into Sufi repertoire as well.
The Ist-West Ensemble, led by Nyofu Tyson, master of the saz (Turkish long-necked lute), and flamenco guitarist Bobby Sokolov, meld these kindred traditions in a musical setting showcasing the dazzling vocal artistry of Cristobal Osorio hailing from Seville, Spain.  Egyptian/Lebanese percussionist and singer Ava Nahas leads the Ava Nahas Percussion Trio, presenting an excerpt from their full-length program "Telos:  Rhythms of Passage."

Sacred Waters, Waters of Life - Workshop led by Viver Brasil

Saturday, September 20 from 1 - 5 PM
18th Street Arts Center Gallery, 1639 18th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404
$10 - Tickets purchased at the door - Tickets & info: (323) 465-4762 -
The Festival will be graced once again by the commanding and vivifying presence of Dona Cici, a living vessel of the sacred tale.  Viver Brasil Dance Company will host our beloved Dona Cici as she guides a one-day community workshop to deepen our understanding of the Afro-Brazilian goddesses of water, both salty and sweet.  Dona Cici will impart her deep knowledge of the sacred tales, songs, and dances of Salvador, Bahia, Brazil and by extension, the ancestral traditions of the Yoruba of West Africa from which they derive.  Viver Brasil initiates the proceedings with a dance performance of Yemanjá (salty waters) and Oxum (sweet waters) as related by Dona Cici. The workshop will provide participants context for the songs and dances they have been witnessing. 
The Rhythm of Axe - Celebrating the Music, Dance of West Africa, Brazil, Cuba with Shaman’s Dream World Groove Ensemble & Master Guest Performers

Saturday, September 20 at 8:30 PM – 1 AM
Blankenship Ballet of Venice, 132 Brooks Avenue, Venice, CA  90291
Tickets:  $25 in advance / $35 at the door - Tickets & info: or call 310-281-7738
From lilting bossa nova to explosive batucada, "The Rhythm of Axe" celebrates the infectious rhythms, movement, and art of Brazil and Cuba, in both their ancestral African roots forms and contemporary fusion expressions.  Enjoy an evening of West African, Afro-Brazilian and Afro-Cuban percussion, music, dance, multimedia art and transformational ritual in a passionate celebration of Axé---A Yoruban ritual salutation honoring “the creative life force” and “good vibration” that permeates all things.
The evening presents a kaleidoscope of master artists including: The Shaman’s Dream World Groove Ensemble, directed by world-beat percussionist Craig Kohland and dancer Micheline Berry; West African percussion ensemble Djelia Kadi directed by Dramane from Burkina Faso; Afro-Cuban percussion and dance Ensemble Malaika; Afro-Brazilian Batucada & Caipoeira ensemble Mestre Amen & The Batuqueiros; “Sarava” a dance performance honoring the elemental forces, the Orixa by Swing Brazil Dance Company, directed by Vida Vierra and Dani Lunn; also featuring DJ Drez spinning World beats and enlightening hoop dance ecstasy with Rayna McInturf & Hoopnotica Dance Company. Multimedia art, photo and video installations by Jorge Vismara, Alejandro Gedeon, Franklin London, Antoine Bonsorte and Wendell Wiggins.
The Rhythm of Axe is a participatory, dance-driven event, wear comfortable shoes and come prepared to move.  Axé!
Every Time I Feel the Spirit  --  Gospel Music at the Historic First A.M.E. Church of Los Angeles, Reverend Dr. John J. Hunter, Senior Minister

Sunday, September 21 at 8:00 AM; 10:00 AM and 12:00 Noon
First African Methodist Episcopal Church, 2270 S. Harvard Blvd, Los Angeles, CA  90018
Cost:  Freewill Offering  --  Info: 323-730-7750;
As we celebrate multicultural sacred music, Pastor John, Lady Denise, the Brookinaires Gospel Choir, and the FAME family invites you to worship in the oldest church in the city of Los Angeles, founded in 1872 by Ms. Biddy Mason. Ms. Mason received a vision from God to establish a church that would minister to the mind, body and soul of all who would join that small band of believers. 135 years later, First A.M.E. Church has grown to a faith community of over 19,000 members committed to being first to serve through several dozen ministries with thirteen organizations that reach thousands of seekers in Los Angeles. As we celebrate our history, we are ever committed to a covenant with Christ: to worship God, to walk in faith and to sing in harmony.
Clap your hands, tap your feet, and enjoy gospel music performed by the Brookinaires Gospel Choir, under the direction of composer Henry Jackson and Assistant Director Time Peterson.  Hear the word of God from Pastor John Hunter.

ALOUD at Central Library presents:  "The Vision Songs" of the Shakers  --  Performed by The Shakers n’ Bakers
Sunday, September 21 at 3 PM
Mark Taper Auditorium - Los Angeles Central Library, 630 W. 5th Street (corner 5th/Flower), Los Angeles, CA 90071
Tickets: $7.00 general admission, cash only payable at the door.  Free to Library Associates; RSVP preferred - Reservations:

The Shakers n’ Bakers is New York-based ensemble that performs reinterpretations of Shaker “vision” songs (also known as “gift” songs). Received in states of ecstatic inspiration by young women of the Shaker religious community during the years 1837 to 1850, the Shakers attributed the songs to divine sources, ranging from African and Native American spirits to historical figures such as Mother Ann Lee (founder of the movement), Christopher Columbus and George Washington. Some of the songs are in English; others are in unique languages of trance inspiration. The group--featuring the vocalists Mary LaRose and Miles Griffith - is led by the saxophonist Jeff Lederer, who transcribed many of the songs from manuscripts found in Shaker archives and re-imagined them in forms transcending the boundaries of free jazz, minimalism, calypso and pop. The musicians are leading lights in New York’s improvisation scene and the genre-defying results will, as Emily Dickinson said of true poetry, “take the top of your head off.”
We Sing Together: Sowing Seeds of Peace with Harmony Songs of the African American and Balkan traditions

Sunday, September 21 at 4 PM
Wilshire United Methodist Church, 4350 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90010
$20/$15 students  --  Tickets & info:  --  call 323.292.9227
An intersection of devotional and traditional music, WE SING TOGETHER brings two culturally diverse and outstanding vocal choirs to one of LA’s historic cultural monuments. The Gwen Wyatt Chorale, a 40-strong multiethnic, multigenerational vocal ensemble, will make a joyful noise in the spirit-lifting tradition of African-American sacred song.  Performing a cappella, in the time-honored fashion as coached by the late Dr. Jester Hairston, the Chorale will offer folk spirituals and gospel with accompaniment on djembe, brass quintet, keyboards, and percussion. Discover why the Chorale was honored with this year’s Los Angeles Treasure Award.
The accomplished Los Angeles-based women’s folk chorus Nevenka has been performing traditional songs from the Balkans and Eastern Europe for nearly three decades. Their repertoire includes songs from Bulgaria, Macedonia, Greece, Albania, Croatia, and from the Sephardic and Roma traditions, which they render with “exquisite harmonies and lilting rhythms that intoxicate” (Los Angeles Daily News) and “irresistible charm” (Los Angeles Times).
Soulular Memory…the Reconnect  --  Urban Musical Mysticism

Monday, September 22 at 8 PM
Temple Bar, 1026 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401
$10  --  Tickets & info: - call 310-393-6611 for info
d. Sabela grimes. “This choreographer and performer may be LA dance world’s best kept secret,” said the LA Times.
Mark the Autumn Equinox with “Soulular Memory...the Reconnect,” a kaleidoscopic, multisensory theatrical fusion of Eastern mysticism with urban Spirit movement, song, hip-hop, and the spoken word.
Bridging the gap between hip hop and mysticism, Essential MC raises consciousness using the power of the spoken word over hypnotic rhythms from diverse sources, imparting the teachings of the Sufi poet Rumi to help remind souls of their true essence.  Singer, songwriter, rapper, healer, and teacher, Gina Rene taps into the energy of the divine feminine through her music, inspiring her audiences to discover and manifest their own inmost gifts and truth.  d. Sabela grimes (aka OvaSoul7) is a dancer and choreographer of stellar talent--a master storyteller who rivets the audience with his poetic monologues and uncanny capacity to be physically possessed by a dizzying succession of vividly realized characters.
Faith Across the City & Across Generations - A Celebration of Gospel Music

Friday, September 26 at 7 PM
Mayfield Senior School, 500 Bellefontaine Street, Pasadena, CA  91105
$10.00 Tickets & info: (626) 799-9121 ext. 0  --  Tickets on sale since August 25 - Info:
Gospel music bridges worlds—connecting worshipers to God and to one another in deep and heartfelt fellowship—and it bridges communities as well:  It’s irresistible spirit powers a joyous meeting of two generations of choirs, joining together for the first time in a celebration of the music of sacred praise and jubilation in the intimate Pike Auditorium on the historic campus of Pasadena’s Mayfield Senior School. The Second Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church Choir from South Central Los Angeles will raise their voices in harmony with the Mayfield Senior School Choir in this rousing concert under the direction of Dan Ostermann.  Accompanying the choir are musicians Richard Turner, Jr., and Rodena Preston, both on piano and organ; Takura Tanaka on guitar, Ron Roseboro on bass; and Ron Kaufman on percussion.  Say Amen!
Guardians of Sound and Spirit - Lesa Terry and the Women’s Jazz Orchestra

Friday, September 26 at 7:30 PM
First United Methodist Church of Santa Monica, 1008 11th Street, Santa Monica, CA  90403
Free admission, donation appreciated; Info:  310-393-8258 -
Honoring and continuing the tradition created by the great all-female jazz bands of the 1940s, Lesa Terry and the Women’s Jazz Orchestra (WJO) celebrate diversity in spirituality, ethnicity, and gender.  The WJO offers a unique interpretation of symphonic and vocal sacred music. Compositions by Mary Lou Williams, Margaret Bonds, Lesa Terry, and Kimberly Diaz draw on African, African American, and Afro-Latin genres, highlighting the importance of these cultural roots, and demonstrating the intimate connection between sacred music and jazz.  The WJO’s innovative instrumentation-comprised of Nedra Wheeler on bass, Maria Martinez on drums, Lori Andrews on jazz harp, and a big-band string section-fulfills a dual role, supplying both a rhythmic foundation and improvisational expression. Gospel singers Elaine, Francine and Janine Martin add tasty vocals to this fine blend of delectable distaff musicianship.
Mystical Music Ancient and New - Suzanne Teng and Prince Diabate

Saturday, September 27 at 8 PM
Madrid Theatre, 21622 Sherman Way, Canoga Park, CA  91303
$15 / $10 students and seniors  --  Tickets & info: 818-347-9938 -- -
Blending exotic melodies with global grooves on instruments from around the world, the Suzanne Teng & Mystic Journey is an award-winning contemporary world music ensemble with an original style that is “sensual and serene” (Billboard magazine). Led by Suzanne Teng, a “brilliant flutist who plays music for the soul” (Los Angeles Times) on ethnic wind instruments (nay, dizi, ocarina, alto flute, suling) and Gilbert Levy on world drums, Mystic Journey also includes Dann Torres (oud, guitar, electric sitar); Jon Ossman (bass, dilruba); Andrew Werderitsch (didgeridoo); Peter Walden (cello) and Dov (violin).
Hailing from the ancestral line of Guinean griots (professional community storytellers) in West Africa, Prince Diabate closes the evening with the melodies of the kora (West African gourd lute/harp), which he learned from his father. Nicknamed the “Jimi Hendrix of the kora,” his sources of inspiration include reggae, rap, blues, and funk.  The result is entirely his own: a fresh, powerful brand of 21st century kora music, that remains strongly rooted in traditional codes and spiritual references. The evening will culminate in a grand celebratory musical collaboration between the two artists.
Honoring the Sea -- Festival Closing Ceremony

Sunday, September 28 from 3pm - sundown (6:41pm)
Santa Monica Beach at the end of Ocean Park Boulevard, Santa Monica
FREE and outdoors -- Info: 310-825-0507  --
Three hundred artists will present sacred traditions from seven lineages of world cultures. The opening procession will resound with the festive sounds of the brass Banda Juvenil Solaga from Oaxaca and the Pasadena Scottish Pipes and Drums ensemble. One hundred dancers led by Keali’i Ceballos and Sissy Kaio will chant and dance on the sands in reverence of Kanaloa, the Hawaiian deity of the ocean.  Swing Brazil welcomes their guests Viver Brasil, Capoeira Batuque, Seara de Caridade do Cabolo Tupinamba and the Elders of the Diaspora and will lead us in celebration of Yemanja, the Afro-Brazilian sea goddess. Drummers and dancers from Burkina Faso led by Olivier Tarpaga and DAFRA will pay homage to the Yuroba Orisha. Playing a central role is Cindi Alvitre and Ti’at Society. The traditional canoe of the Tongva, will be paddled beyond the breakwaters, carrying the offerings to the sea and sacred blessings to the four corners of the Earth, guided by energy of the Agape Choir and the rhythms of Remo Drum Circle facilitated by Christine Stevens.
For more information about the festival, see the article "World Festival of Sacred Music Showcases 1,000 Artists in 16 Days," by Cynthia Lee, UCLA Today Online, at

Tickets:  $55, $45, $35, $20 (students) - To order tickets/for info call 310-825-2101 or visit

Some pay-by-space parking and all-day ($9) available.

Cost : Tickets: $55, $45, $35, $20 (students) - To order tickets/for info call 310-825-2101 or visit

World Festival of Sacred

Sponsor(s): , World Festival of Sacred Music. Information about non-ASC events is forwarded for informational purposes and does not necessarily reflect opinions of or endorsements by African Studies personnel.

Search International Institute website.