The Santa Monica Pier's Twilight Concert Series is a Southern California summertime institution that will be 30 years old in 2014. Drawing tens of thousands of people each Thursday for free weekly concerts from July through September, performers range from indie rock to reggae to international world music.
SummerStage, a program of City Parks Foundation, is New York's largest free performing arts festival. SummerStage annually presents over 100 performances in eighteen parks throughout the five boroughs. With performances ranging from American pop, Latin and world music to dance, spoken word and theater, SummerStage fills a vital niche in New York City's summer arts festival landscape. Since its inception twenty-eight years ago, more than six million people from New York City and around the world have enjoyed SummerStage.
In a remarkably short period of time, Yuna has risen from regional D.I.Y. notoriety to full-on international stardom. In the process, the charismatic young singer-songwriter from Malaysia—who makes her Verve Records debut with Nocturnal—has become the first artist from her homeland to conquer the American market. The ease with which Yuna has transitioned to border-defying mainstream success shouldn’t be surprising, considering the effortlessly universal appeal of her organic blend of contemporary pop, acoustic folk and soulful R&B. The artist’s personally charged songs are deeply felt yet melodically irresistible, combining her engaging voice and expressive songcraft with imaginative production to create wholly distinctive music that’s won her comparisons with the likes of Feist, Adele and Norah Jones. Recorded in Los Angeles, Nocturnal marks a major step forward for Yuna, expanding upon the achievements of her self-titled 2012 debut album and its Pharrell Williams-produced breakthrough hit “Live Your Life.” Nocturnal‘s 11 sparkling new originals include the warmly intoxicating first single “Falling,” produced by Robin Hannibal of Quadron and the soul-pop group Rhye; the effervescent, uplifting “Rescue,” produced by English pop auteur Chris Braide; the breezy, upbeat “I Wanna Go,” produced by Michael Einziger of Incubus; and the hauntingly bittersweet “Someone Who Can,” produced by Chad Hugo of the Neptunes. “I feel like I get to show a more mature side of myself on these songs,” Yuna states, adding, “I’m a different person than I was when I made the last album. I’ve seen and experienced a lot of new and exciting things, and I was inspired to write about those things. “I also got to explore a lot of different genres and different sounds on these songs,” continues. “We did a lot of experimenting, doing things like working with traditional Malaysian instruments and making them work in the context of a pop song that sounds current. Because I come from a folkie-singer-songwriter background, in the beginning I was really stubborn about trying new things. But I learned to enjoy the beauty of what can happen when creative people get together and come up with something new. I love mixing all these genres together, and I was fortunate to have all of these really talented producers to help bring these ideas to life.” Yuna’s North American breakthrough in 2012 saw the artist winning widespread acclaim while achieving several significant career milestones. Rolling Stone praised her combination of “certified indie cred and massive pop potential,” while The New York Times described her music as “gorgeous.” She performed high-profile sets at the Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo festivals, and appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Yuna’s music was also featured in several films, including her stellar cover of The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” in Oliver Stone’s Savages and her collaboration with Owl City on “Shine Your Way” for the hit animated feature The Croods. Growing up in Malaysia’s capital city of Kuala Lumpur, Yuna was exposed to a wide variety of homegrown and western music, thanks in large part to her father’s wide-ranging tastes in American rock, pop, blues and jazz. She began writing her own confessional songs, most of them in English, at the age of 14. She was still in her teens when she began performing her compositions in public, initially accompanying herself on acoustic guitar and later forming a full band. Yuna experienced success early on, with a quartet of popular indie releases in Malaysia, beginning with her self-titled 2008 EP. That debut disc became a major seller at home, producing the hit single “Deeper Conversation.” The following year, Yuna won the first of several Anugerah Industri Muzik awards, Malaysia’s equivalent of the Grammy. During the same period, the artist also found time to attend law school and open IAMJETFUEL, a successful women’s clothing boutique. Thanks to a powerful online fan base and international word-of-mouth, news of Yuna’s talents reached the United States, where she signed with the American management firm Indie Pop. She also took her first steps into the American marketplace, releasing the five-song sampler EP Decorate on the Fader label in 2011. “Live Your Life” and the Yuna album arrived on the American scene the early months of 2012, establishing her as a popular stateside presence. She performed “Live Your Life” on the late-night TV shows Conan and Last Call with Carson Daly. She was also featured on NPR and the CBS Evening News, and in such notable print outlets as The New York Times, Billboard, Elle, Vibe, Allure, Seventeen, Marie Claire and even National Geographic, which described as being “as fresh, honest and deeply personal as anything by Bon Iver or tUnEyArDs.” Having traveled extensively and absorbed a wide array of English-language music early in life, Yuna was able to make a comfortable transition to creating music in America. “Coming to America was a lot of fun for me, because it’s an amazing working atmosphere for musicians and artists,” she says. “I had fun when I recorded in Malaysia, but America is so big and so inspiring, and there are so many talented people to work with. “I don’t really like the idea of putting myself in any category now,” she concludes. “But as a pop artist, I feel like it’s easy for me to maneuver from one thing to another and try different things. To me, it’s all just music, and if you have good lyrics and good melodies and good production, people won’t care what you call it. I think that people are looking for music that’s real and honest and that they can relate to emotionally. I think we’ve created that with Nocturnal. The whole project was a challenge for me, but I’m very happy with the way it turned out.”
Hurray for the Riff Raff
Hurray for the Riff Raff is Alynda lee Segarra, a 25 year old Puerto Rican from the Bronx. After leaving home at an early age to travel the country, she eventually settled in New Orleans where she began to perform and record with a revolving cast of musicians. She released two records (2008’s It Don’t Mean I Don’t Love You and 2010’s Young Blood Blues) mostly consisting of delicate folk and country songs. In 2011, the UK record label Loose Music (Felice Brothers, Dawes, Deer Tick), released Hurray for the Riff Raff, an album that collected the best songs from those records. The Times of London named Hurray for the Riff Raff one of the Top Ten Albums of 2011. Phil Alexander, the Editor-in-Chief of Mojo Magazine, raved that they “have immense potential and seductive power” and named them second best band at SXSW 2011.
Back in the States, Alynda and her longtime gunslinger on fiddle, Yosi Perlstein, met up with a young honky-tonk band called the Tumbleweeds, just as Alynda began to expand her musical palette to include rock n roll, pop, and soul. In the tradition of Bob Dylan with Band and Neil Young with Crazy Horse, Alynda and Yosi recruited the Tumbleweeds to be their touring band, drastically altering the sound of Hurray for the Riff Raff.
Look Out Mama is the result of almost two years of Alynda and the Tumbleweeds criss-crossing the USA, playing over 100 shows in small bars and clubs. Recorded in Nashville by producer Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes), Look Out Mama is an exploration of classic American music as interpreted by Alynda lee Segarra. From the Swamp Pop of “Little Black Star” to the Classic Country of “Look Out Mama”, to the Psychedelia of “Ode to John and Yoko” and even the Surf-Rock of “Lake of Fire”, Look Out Mama covers a wide array of musical ground, with every song unified by Alynda’s soulful vocals and expert songwriting.
Rebel Tumbao (Rebel “Groove”) is a family of like minded musician’s deeply committed to creating and performing music packed with groove, consciousness, spirituality, resistance, and positive vibrations with an authentic sound they call “AfroLatinRootsReggae”.
This funky fresh earthly sound is the uncompromising fusion of two of the most celebrated musical genres on the planet; Roots Reggae and contemporary Cuban Son - with deep influences of 70’s Soul, Gospel, the Blues, Jazz and African folkloric idioms. At the epicenter of this soundscape are pianist, singer, composer and educator, Matt Jenson and world-renowned percussionist and composer, José Claussell. These partners in musical justice share a profound artistic vision of hope and truth expressed with poetic insights into today’s globalized culture. Their mind-scope is based on combining Bob Marley’s gospel of love, truth, justice, and economic equality with their mission to inspire all people to be more conscious of the social, economic and ecological impact of their actions. Rebel Tumbao, with their original compositions, awesome arrangements of Marley songs and progressive lyrics, will transport your mind, body and spirit to the healthier world we all know is possible.