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Skirball Cultural Center Announces Its Twenty-Third Annual FREE Summertime Outdoor Concert Series SUNSET CONCERTS

Skirball Cultural Center Photo by Lindsey Best


Skirball Cultural Center announces its

twenty-third annual FREE summertime outdoor concert series


Sponsored by the Bilger Family

Thursday evenings, July 18–August 22, 8:00 pm

International lineup features established and emerging artists who explore cultural connections through their globe-spanning music

LOS ANGELES, CA—The Skirball Cultural Center proudly presents the twenty-third annual season of its free summertime live music series, Sunset Concerts. This year’s lineup of boundary-pushing artists draws influences from a variety of styles—from Afro-Latin folklore, bilingual soul, and traditional klezmer to New Orleans brass, flamenco fusion, and cosmic jazz. DJs representing the diverse communities of greater Los Angeles will open each of the Thursday night shows. Presented every summer since 1997 in the Skirball’s idyllic hillside setting, the Sunset Concerts series—now sponsored by the Bilger Family—draws music fans from across greater Los Angeles.

The 2019 Sunset Concerts schedule is as follows: Gaby Moreno (July 18); Río Mira (July 25) in their California debut; The Klezmatics (August 1); Cha Wa (August 8); Tamar Ilana & Ventanas (August 15) in their Los Angeles debut; and Josef Leimberg (August 22).

“2019 promises to bring another exciting lineup to Sunset Concerts,” remarks Adele Lander Burke, Skirball Vice President of Public Programs. “This year we present both veteran artists and rising stars, all of whom explore cultural connections through their music. The music will span the globe—from New Orleans to South America to Eastern Europe, providing opportunities to hear traditional favorites and experience new interpretations through jazz, funk, flamenco, and R&B. The Santa Monica Mountains make for a one-of-a-kind concert backdrop, adding to the welcoming environment we create for young and old to celebrate rich musical traditions together. Those who attend the entire series will experience the music and meaning of twenty-first century LA and the world.”

The six Thursday night concerts are presented free of charge. Audiences of all ages are invited to arrive early to enjoy food and drink under the stars and also explore the museum galleries. The Skirball’s latest exhibitions Fearless Fashion: Rudi Gernreich and Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite are currently on view through September 1. They will be free and open late to all concertgoers until 10:00 pm.


About the Artists:

Thursday, July 18, 8:00 pm (Doors and DJ set by Mamabear of dublab at 6:30 pm)


Photo courtesy of the artist

Since moving to LA from her native Guatemala, singer-songwriter Gaby Morenohas achieved remarkable success for music that she has described as “Spanglish folk soul”—Spanish and English–language songs that blend blues, jazz, soul, R&B, pop, and Latin folk. She has won a Latin Grammy Award for Best New Artist and was nominated for an Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Song for the theme song to NBC’s Parks and Recreation. Moreno has released five acclaimed albums, toured with such artists as Tracy Chapman, Ani DiFranco, Punch Brothers, Hugh Laurie, and Calexico, and has shared the international stage with pop music luminaries Bono, Andrea Bocelli, and Van Dyke Parks. Her latest album, Ilusión—which was released in 2016 and received a Grammy nomination for Best Latin Pop Album—features thirteen songs that capture the spirit of an aspiring immigrant artist who has made her way in a new country with just her guitar, her gifted voice, and a pocketful of songs she is eager to share with the world.

This has already been a big year for Moreno. She has toured in Australia and the United States as a solo artist and with A Bowie Celebration – The David Bowie Alumni Tour, and she will be opening for the internationally renowned artist David Gray on twenty-seven tour dates at the beginning of summer. She also has a new album coming out this fall. To kick off this year’s Sunset Concerts series, Moreno will take the stage with three musicians for a full-band performance of songs from both her upcoming album and her past releases.


Thursday, July 25, 8:00 pm (Doors and DJ set by REYES of Trópico de Nopal at 6:30 pm)

RÍO MIRA (California debut)


Photo by Miguel Alvear

Named for the river that separates Ecuador and Colombia, supergroup Río Mirabrings together marimba masters Esteban Copete and Larry Preciado and Ecuadorian singer Karla Kanora, plus a talented group of Afro-Latin folkloric musicians from the cities of Cali, Colombia and Esmeraldas, Ecuador. The ensemble’s cultural identity is rooted in the Pacific coast of Ecuador and Colombia, a musical habitat of East African diaspora traditions, with the marimba playing a unifying role in both the local culture and Río Mira’s unique sound.

Río Mira’s debut album, Marimba del Pacífico, is guided by the distinctive percussive tones of the marimba, an all-important ingredient of this socially conscious project and a symbol of the border-spanning, Afro-Pacific identity. The marimba music of Colombia and Ecuador was declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 2015, and this group aims to preserve this cultural treasure. The story of this instrument is closely intertwined with that of escaped slaves who made the region their home from the early sixteenth century onward. Channeling that history of self-realized liberation, Río Mira performs music that is tangibly celebratory.

For their California debut at the Skirball, Río Mira will perform as a seven-member ensemble.

An additional grant for Rio Mira’s performance was awarded by the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles, as part of its International Spirit Concert Program in preparation for the 2028 Summer Olympic Games.


Thursday, August 1, 8:00 pm (Doors and DJ set by Maral of dublab at 6:30 pm)



Photo by Adrian Buckmaster

Since forming more than thirty years ago, The Klezmatics have raised the bar for Eastern European Jewish music. Often called a “Jewish roots band,” the New York–based ensemble has led a popular revival of the age-old, nearly forgotten art form of klezmer. Making aesthetically and politically interesting music that has inspired future generations, The Klezmatics have helped change the face of contemporary Yiddish culture.

The Klezmatics have performed in more than twenty countries and released eleven albums to date. On their Grammy-winning 2006 album, Wonder Wheel, The Klezmatics set a dozen previously unsung Woody Guthrie lyrics to music, widening their stylistic base by largely diverging from klezmer. Their most recent album, Apikorsim (Heretics), was released in 2016. They have also served as the subject of a feature-length documentary film, The Klezmatics: On Holy Ground.

Today, with three original members still on board—Lorin Sklamberg (lead vocals, accordion, guitar, piano), Frank London (trumpet, keyboards, vocals), and Paul Morrissett (bass, tsimbl, vocals)—alongside members Matt Darriau (kaval, clarinet, saxophone, vocals), Lisa Gutkin (violin, vocals), and Richie Barshay (drums, percussion), The Klezmatics are without a doubt the most successful proponents of klezmer music in the world.


Thursday, August 8, 8:00 pm (Doors and DJ set by Dr. Fuzzy at 6:30 pm)



Photo courtesy of the artist

From their funk-laced beats and bass-heavy sousaphone blasts to the gritty warmth of singer J’Wan Boudreaux’s voice, New Orleans brass band–meets–Mardi Gras Indian outfit Cha Wa radiates the fiery energy of New Orleans’s street culture. Their 2018 sophomore album, Spyboy, which was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Regional Roots Music Album, was produced by Galactic’s Ben Ellman and features special guests Big Chief Monk Boudreaux (2016 NEA National Heritage Fellow, The Wild Magnolias, HBO’s Treme, and singer J’Wan Boudreaux’s grandfather), Nigel Hall (Lettuce, The Nth Power), and Danica Hart. For their Skirball performance, which is part of a summer tour, Cha Wa will feature an eight-member band.



Thursday, August 15, 8:00 pm (Doors and DJ set by Glenn Red of Afro Funké and La Junta at 6:30 pm)


TAMAR ILANA & VENTANAS (Los Angeles debut)


Photo courtesy of the artist

Tamar Ilana & Ventanas is a six-member Toronto-based world music ensemble fronted by powerhouse vocalist and dancer Tamar Ilana and featuring the city’s finest world musicians. Drawing inspiration from legendary artists such as the Silk Road Ensemble, Paco de Lucía, and Yasmin Levy, they reimagine Mediterranean melodies and flamenco grooves, and mix contemporary interpretations of ancient ballads with original compositions. With songs in Spanish, Ladino, Bulgarian, Hebrew, French, Romani, and Arabic, Tamar Ilana & Ventanas intertwine composite rhythms with flamenco dance to explore themes of migration and identity. For their Los Angeles debut performance at the Skirball, the band will be celebrating the release of their new album, MISTRĀL.


Thursday, August 22, 8:00 pm (Doors and DJ set by Novena Carmel of KCRW at 6:30 pm)



Photo courtesy of the artist

LA–born and raised, trumpeter-lyricist-producer Josef Leimberg entrances audiences with a rich tapestry of Afro-futurist sounds. His collaborative resume over the decades includes production, writing, and feature credits with Snoop Dogg, Erykah Badu, Kendrick Lamar, Robin Thicke, Shafiq Husayn, Funkadelic, Freestyle Fellowship, Dr. Dre, Murs, King Tee, Suga Free, Saafir, and Busdriver. Leimberg released his debut album, Astral Progressions, in 2016, which continues the momentum Leimberg achieved on Kendrick Lamar’s multiple Grammy Award–winning album To Pimp A Butterfly. Astral Progressions features a rich hybrid of jazz fusion, world music, R&B, and golden-era hip-hop instrumentalism that fits right in with the resurgence of progressive music in the 2010s.


Leimberg will perform selections from Astral Progressions as well as his much-anticipated upcoming album with a full band at the Skirball.




Skirball Cultural Center

2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90049

(310) 440-4500 •

All concerts begin at 8:00 p.m. Check-in and FREE admission to the Museum and Skirball campus open at 5:30 p.m. Doors to the concert venue open at 6:30 p.m.

FREE concert admission

Parking: $15 per car

Carpooling and ridesharing are encouraged. Street parking is strictly prohibited.

Or take Metro Rapid 734/234

All Skirball exhibitions (except Noah’s Ark) are free and open until 10:00 pm during Sunset Concerts, including Fearless Fashion: Rudi Gernreich and Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite. Audrey’s Museum Store is open until 8:00 pm.

Grab-and-go light fare, full bar service, and specialty food items will be available for happy hour and throughout the show. Guests may bring their own food. Note: No outside alcoholic beverages or chairs are permitted.


The Bilger Family

The 2019 Sunset Concerts season is made possible in part by additional support from:

Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles

Los Angeles County Arts Commission

US Bank


KCRW 89.9 FM

KPFK 90.7 FM

About Sunset Concerts at the Skirball

Marking its twenty-third season in 2019, the longstanding summer concert series kicked off just a year after the Skirball Cultural Center opened to the public in 1996. During that inaugural year, the institution drew nearly 300,000 visitors, far surpassing an initial expectation of 60,000. In winter/spring 1997, seeking to build upon this early success, the Skirball began to hold monthly dinnertime concerts inside its restaurant, Zeidler’s Cafe. The concerts were so well attended that the staff immediately rethought the event space. The following summer, upon popular demand, the Skirball launched a free four-concert series on Thursday nights. These performances took place in the Skirball’s much more spacious central courtyard, offering a view of the hillside at dusk. The series was soon named Sunset Concerts at the Skirball. For several seasons in those early years, along with Grand Performances downtown and Santa Monica Pier’s Twilight Concerts, Sunset Concerts represented one of the city’s few free outdoor summer music series. Noteworthy Sunset Concerts performers over the years have included Lila Downs, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars (US debut tour), Bassekou Kouyate, Yasmin Levy (US debut), Hugh Masekela, Vieux Farka Touré (LA debut), Natacha Atlas, Red Baraat, Conjunto Chappotín y Sus Estrellas (US debut tour), Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, Novalima, Daymé Arocena, Goapele, Kishi Bashi, and The Marías.


About the Skirball

The Skirball Cultural Center is a place of meeting guided by the Jewish tradition of welcoming the stranger and inspired by the American democratic ideals of freedom and equality. We welcome people of all communities and generations to participate in cultural experiences that celebrate discovery and hope, foster human connections, and call upon us to help build a more just society.


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