Free Concerts At The 17th Annual Concert Of Colors
Don Was Reprises All-Star Revue of Detroit Music Luminaries
Enlightening Community Forum Now Free & Open to the Public
Free Kickoff Performance June 25 at Campus Martius
The 2009 Concert of Colors – metro Detroit’s beloved free diversity-themed music festival – will present rising and established acts, bring back past favorites, and offer more free and outdoor activities while forging ahead in its mission to shed light on and celebrate cultural diversity through music.
Headliners for the 17th annual festival – Saturday, July 18 and Sunday, July 19 at the Max M. Fisher Music Center, 3711 Woodward Avenue in Detroit – are West African bluesman Vieux Farka Toure, whose brand new CD Fondo (Six Degrees) got a strong review in the New York Times; hot Hoboken-based alternative rockers Yo La Tengo, making their Concert of Colors debut; and Concert of Colors favorite, the American soul legend Aaron Neville, this time with his Quintet featuring Charles Neville.
The resounding success of 2008’s Don Was Detroit Super Session, a high-wattage showcase of notable area rockers, has led the mega-producer to reprise the event with an all-new once-in-a-lifetime lineup including: Sir Mack Rice (Mustang Sally); Amp Fiddler; Scott Morgan’s Powertrane; Question Mark (96 Tears); Thornetta Davis; Teegarden & Van Winkle (God, Love and Rock & Roll); Blanche; Gorevette (Amy Gore and Nikki Corvette); The Go; The Upscale; The Layabouts; and Mick Bassett and the Marthas.
The electric Detroit Super Session II house band will be comprised of Terry “Thunder” Hughley on drums; Academy Award-winning songwriter Luis Resto (Eminem’s Lose Yourself) on keyboards; Brian “Roscoe” White on guitar and Don Was – a founding member of the Detroit funk outfit Was (Not Was) and a multiple Grammy Award-winning producer – on bass. And once again, Was will be videotaping the Super Session for his Wasmopolitan Cavalcade of Recorded Music on the website www.mydamnchannel.com, where a series of videos from the 2008 Super Session may still be viewed.
Rounding out the glowing 2009 Concert of Colors lineup are: Native American singer/songwriter Joe Reilly; folkmeister Dick Siegel; the steaming Latin strains of Orquesta La Inspiracion; Latin funksters Grupo Fantasma; Mazaj (Arabic folk-blues); family-friendly punk rockers Candy Band; Galitcha (East Indian traditional w/ jazz and folk); reggae/dancehall experts Roots Vibration; and Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas (accordion-driven dance music).
All Concert of Colors performances are free and open to the public. Call 313.624.0215 or visit www.concertofcolors.com for complete schedule information, breaking festival news and a free download of the 2009 Concert of Colors poster.
Meanwhile, fest fans can get the party started early by attending a free outdoor kickoff performance by 2009 Concert of Colors artists Mazaj and Roots Vibration from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Friday, June 26, 2009 at Campus Martius, the pocket park at Woodward and Michigan avenues in downtown Detroit, as part of the 4th Fridays with Ford Concert Series.
Previously a fee-based, invitation-only event, the Concert of Colors’ annual Forum on Community, Race and Culture is now free and open to the public. This year’s discussion revolves around Freedom Songs: Music That Empowers and Breaks Down Barriers, with panelists Mark Stone, an ethnomusicologist at Oakland University; and singer/songwriters Joe Reilly, Rev. Robert B. Jones and Ismael Duran. The Forum is set for 2 p.m. Saturday, July 18 in the Music Box at the Max M. Fisher Music Center. No advance registration is necessary; all ages are welcome.
In a nod to the Concert of Colors original home at Detroit’s Chene Park, this year festival goers are being encouraged to pack their own picnic baskets – or let Concert of Colors food vendors do the work – and then dine al fresco amid the dramatic Louise Nevelson sculptures on the Orchestra Place lawn along Parsons Street. This area will also host music and dance performances and hands-on activities for both children and adults, including a “Bring Your Own” Drum Circle; the Children’s Area with free craft activities; and an old-fashioned ice cream social.
All Concert of Colors performances are indeed free and open to the public; however, those willing to pay for reserved prime Main Stage seating throughout the festival may opt to become a Concert of Colors “Groupie,” an exclusive opportunity that also includes a private “meet the artists” reception and a limited-edition Groupie tee shirt. This year, due to economic conditions, Groupie rates have been rolled back. Individual Groupies pay $60; a Couple of Groupies is $100. Groupie registration information is available at 313.624.0205 or www.concertofcolors.com.
This event is made possible by generous corporate partners, including major sponsors Meijer and Comerica. Vital support is also provided by AT&T, HAP, Ford Motor Company, yelp.com and New Detroit’s Cultural Exchange Network. Media sponsors for 2009 are Metro Times, WDET 101.9 FM and WHFR-FM 89.3.
Designed to celebrate the many ethnic and cultural groups that comprise metro Detroit, the Concert of Colors is produced in partnership by the Arab American National Museum, New Detroit, Detroit Symphony Orchestra and ACCESS (Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services). New Detroit’s Cultural Exchange Network, a consortium of 69 community-based organizations representing metro Detroit’s communities of color also plays an active role. New Detroit, Inc. and ACCESS established the event in 1993 at Chene Park on Detroit’s riverfront. The Detroit Symphony Orchestra hosted the 2005 opening night program and came on board fully in 2006 when its Max M. Fisher Music Center became the host venue.