Starting April 20, UC San Diego’s ArtPower will be closing out its 2017-18 season with four varied concerts by rising stars from around the world. There will be jazz, global trance music, American Roots, and acoustic/electronica from Cuba, Iran, South Carolina and the north of England, and you’re likely to hear some sounds you’ve never heard before.
First up, on April 20, is Daymé Arocena, who has been called “Cuba’s finest young female singer” and compared to Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone and Celia Cruz. Born and raised in Havana, she puts her heart and soul into her performances, mixing high-energy jazz with Afro-Cuban chants and the Santeria-inspired folk music of her native island.
On April 26, Mamak Khadem presents a different sort of energy, an ethereal form of world trance music she creates by combining Persian, Indian and Balkan classical traditions with her own unique stylings. Born in Iran, she has lived in L.A. for almost two decades, teaching Persian music there and touring widely with her band and other artists.
Ranky Tanky means, more or less, “Get Funky,” and this Charleston-based band, coming May 4, does sound pretty funky. Steeped in the traditional West African roots music of the Gullah people who inhabit the coastal low-country and Sea Islands of South Carolina, they add their own natural chemistry to the mix. Even better, the trumpet/bass/guitar/drums quartet features the down-home, honey-voiced Quiana Parler, one of the Southern heartland’s hottest young singers. They’ve been wowing festival audiences from Savannah to New York, from San Francisco to Sweden, so if you’re up for a spicy-sweet taste of Gullah, check these folks out.
Last but not least of the four is the acoustic-electronica trio GoGo Penguin, from Manchester, England, playing here May 9. Their music is a mashup of jazz, hip-hop and neo-soul, and they’ve been a hit at Coachella and Austin’s South by Southwest . The bad news is: their appearance here is completely sold out. But don’t give up hope: check the box office for last-minute tickets on the day of performance.
• IF YOU GO: All four concerts take place at The Loft, a great spot for enjoying all kinds of music in an intimate club setting, with food and drinks available. Doors open at 7 p.m., and music begins at 8. p.m. Come early for general admission seating.