Small world Palo Alto style

Nothing says “world music” like 20 white people singing doo-wop

I agree with @Watson that the Palo Alto music scene, including events co-sponsored by or produced by The City of Palo Alto and using City facilities, featured more music from Africa, Brazil, sung in Spanish or Portuguese, using interesting poly-rhythyms or broadening our world view, but in this case, as @MA Midtown points out, we use “World Music” only in the sense that we are loosely following a model of a French event “Make Music Day” which in many countries is doing something similar, especially on The Solstice.


It would be nice if the ‘world music’ of Africa could also be performed and heard throughout the weekend festival.

The primitive tribal dances and rhythms of the Mandinka and Bantu tribes are intoxicating and send out the haunting global message that we all originally came from the saharas and jungles of Africa. 

Cecilia Watson, of Stanford


@CatherineMcMillan, Palo Alto World Music Day has been in existence for over a decade, started by Claude Ezran, you can read all about this history and larger context here (link)

Due to COVID this year we had to re-imagine how we could still bring 40+ performances to Palo Alto. Spreading it out over a month and situating musicians close to dining and shopping is what we decide to go with this year! Hope you’ll come enjoy the music sometime this month!

(Karla Kane article in Weekly about music series on Sat and Sun downtown and Cali Ave, from 5 to 7 and 12-2 replacing World Music Day, comments — and mine was automatically deleted)


I took some vines of the chorus singing “Sh-Boom” and then my dog barking at other dogs as I strolled looking for the second stage.


and1: It is sort of on my schedule that a young woman named Ryann Barnes from Menlo Park will perform under this banner at Cali Ave, tommorow aft. She is the daughter of a former UCLA football hero and quarterback named John Barnes. Maybe someday he will be known as Ryann Barnes’ father. 


andand: In a related matter, Delbert Anderson a Navajo trumpet player in New Mexico, wrote to say he will be in the Festival of New Trumpet, curated by Dave Douglas — he and Dave are both part of my Lions With Wings online new music project. Here is a partial list of FONT 2021 players:

Rounding out the exciting program is a workshop with British-Bahraini trumpet player Yazz Ahmed, which will be shared with Seattle JazzEd, El Paso Jazz Girls, Jazz St. Louis and other educational institutions from around the nation.

The final program will be announced on July 1st, 2021 and includes Axel Doerner (Germany), Verneri Pohjola (Finland), Suzan Veneman (Netherlands), Lukas Frei (Switzerland), Sheila Maurice-Grey (UK), Balkan Paradise Orchestra (Spain), Hermon Mehari (France/USA), Delbert Anderson and Indigenous Contemporary Arts Group (New Mexico), Lina Allemano (Canada), Mary Elizabeth Bowden (USA), Adam Cuthbert (USA), Emily Kuhn (USA)


andandand: A story on Delbert Anderson on Grammy Dot Com juxtaposes a story on Stanford grad Jen Shyu who is a singer, bandleader, composer and musician. Jen would fit in a world music series. I also just read that in lieu of the canceled Chili Cook off, city of Palo Alto is producing a free concert featuring a cover band called Radio City All Stars — they are people of color, if that figured into the booking, but it is far from inspired. “World Music Day” in Palo Alto, especially this years model, is a hackneyed attempt to use music to help the local economy, but it also exploits the musicians – -who are unpaid — and it potentially displaces Palo Alto’s actual buskers. It’s hard to tell if lack of a draw was a reason, a twisted type of “split-the-baby” thinking, which follows from the whole “Make Fake Fate World Wide Music Day Series Festival” saga. If we taxed Tesla we could earmark $100,000 per year for music in the parks, on the stages, that people would like. In 2022, after Covid goes away. At least some of the Peninsual Harmony Chorus were wearing masks. 

About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player, and blogger; he also sang in local choir, fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32 Reads 'Howl' and owns a couple musical instruments he cannot play
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