World music calls you to CSUN’s Valley Performing Arts Center this month

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By John K. Adams

The sun is out. Spring is nigh! Music is calling. “VPAC” is calling.

This month California State University, Northridge-Valley Performing Arts Center presents many notable concerts that you don’t want to miss. These concerts and others are sponsored under the creative umbrella of Music Knows No Borders.

La Santa Cecilia, the Grammy-winning, L.A.-based band is playing at VPAC on February 18th. Named for the patron saint of music, La Santa Cecilia has created its own distinct L.A. sound. They exemplify the modern day creative fusion hybrid of Latin culture, rock and world music. Their inspiration comes from Pan-American rhythms like Cumbia, Bossa Nova, Rumba, Bolero, Tango, jazz, rock and Klezmer music.

Thor Steingraber, Executive Director of VPAC describes lead singer La Marisoul’s performance at last November’s Culture Clash event: “She came to the edge of the stage, without a microphone. Her voice was so strong and clear it resonated through the entire building.”

He went on to say that “When I hear them play in their ‘El Norte fusion’ style, I feel like I’m listening to the entire world play.”

An all-day, outdoor music festival happens the following Saturday, also at CSUN–VPAC, here in the San Fernando Valley.

That’s no stretch when you know that CSUN-VPAC is sponsoring a Global Currents Festival on campus, 1pm-6pm, Saturday, February 25th, on the VPAC lawn and courtyard.

The Global Currents Festival brings six Los Angeles ensembles together to celebrate how music and dance honors and evokes water. Online it states: “Water is life. It sustains us, and everything around us. It’s the original ‘highway,’ linking us together. And it inspires us as the subject of poems, songs and dances.” These local musical groups play traditional and contemporary music from Japan, West Africa, Brazil, Hawaii, Mexico and the Middle East.

Next at 7pm, that same day, move inside the VPAC Great Hall for a memorable concert by The Nile Project. They share a message of cultural unity and global sustainability. It brings together 12 artists from seven nations, all who share the Nile River, described as “a night of infectious rhythms and joyous melodies that have brought audiences to their feet worldwide.”

Steingraber loves this music. “Music that creates unity out of diversity is better than anything!,” he says.

La Santa Cecilia performs Saturday, February 18th at 8pm.

The Global Currents Festival and The Nile Project are happening Saturday, February 25th, 1pm and 7pm, respectively.

Tickets and information is available for these and other concerts through “Music Knows No Borders” at ValleyPerformingArtsCenter.org or by calling (818) 677-3000. CSUN’s Valley Performing Arts Center is located at 18111 Nordhoff St. in Northridge.

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