music

La Santa Cecelia launches Amar y Vivir at a packed party at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

May 9, 2017

Patrick O’Heffernan (Hollywood) La Santa Cecelia, the modern-day creative hybrid of Latin culture and rock and world music,   and their management company Criteria Entertainment threw a jam-packed release party for  Amar y Vivir, the unique visual album of Mexican and Latin American music. The video/album was shot and  recorded in a blistering 5 days in Mexico City, in streets, bars, parks and iconic locations like the Plaza Santo Domingo, the Zócalo and Salón Tenampa. The evening, preceded by a live acoustic set and vinyl signing at Hollywood’s famous Amoeba Records,   kicked off with a full-screen viewing of the video, followed by Santa Cecelia’s trademark dramatic entrance.  From there on it was fiesta-time as the band belted, crooned, soared and celebrated a set list of 7 songs, started with the title song, “Amar y Vivir.  The crowd – jammed elbow-to-elbow from the control booth in the  back of the cavernous room to the stage ion the front — swayed, clapped , sang along and danced whenever a few feet of space appeared.  Mostly, they poured loved [Read More]

Music Friday Live

Revolutionary Soul: Derek Davis releases a work of genius for his first every solo album.

May 6, 2017

  Patrick O’Heffernan It is not often that I encounter an artist that I can’t quite categorize, or even want to. Derek Davis is such an artist.  With 28 years of recording and touring, 12 albums, and three bands,  he is a legend in rock.   Who can forget the machine-gun tempo of  Bad Man Cometh, the howling metal message of American Jihad or the addictive head banging of Love Star. But at the same time, where do you put the sweet melody of Troubadour and or the acoustic pop sensibilities of  The Promise – all songs on the same album.  Davis is a remarkable musician and his first solo album, Revolutionary Soul  continues his tradition of  remarkable, not-quite-categorizable music.   In Revolutionary Soul, Davis writes the music, plays all the instruments and produces most of the songs, further breaking the category boundaries.  It’s blues, it’s rock, it’s funk –  is it something that incorporates and transcends all of the above.  And it is addictive.   Davis is famous for his sharp writing and signature guitar [Read More]

Music Friday Live

Alih Jey and Vanessa Zamora lite up the Civic Center Studios

April 12, 2017

    Patrick O’Heffernan (Los Angeles) Sapo Verde Music stepped out in a big way this weekend with an all-star program of female artists at the newly remodeled DTLA venue Civic Center Studios. A packed house was treated to Latin-Grammy nominated rock guitarist Alih Jey and wildly popular Vanessa Zamora.  Opening act Ruzzi warmed the house up with her gut-grabbing electric guitar licks and Cuñao backed the girls-with-guitars with their eclectic rhythms and world melodies.   Sapo Verde Music is Alih Jey’s record label and production company. The Civic Center Studios night was its debut live event and if they are all this good, LA now has another first class promoter of live American Latino Music. Set for an 8 pm opening with 9 pm music, you knew quickly that something special was in the offing when the crowd was already thick by 8:30 pm – unusually early in the LA music scene. That something special started with Mexico City-based Ruzzi, who broke from a gaggle of friends and fans in the back of the club [Read More]

Review

Eric Zayne’s new single release party road tests songs for 2017.

February 7, 2017

Patrick O’Heffernan (Beverly Hills) By his own count Eric Zayne wrote 150 songs last year, but released only one.  That is about  to  change.  This week he let loose the first new song of 2017,  “I Lost Your Fire”, at a single release party held in the Alchemy Castle artist’s residence in Beverly Hills.  Zayne, accompanied by guitarist/celloist Nick Rosen, drummer Sterling Laws and backup singer Dani Nicole, previewed songs to come as he celebrated the release of the “Lost in Your Fire” single and video. The song to come is “No Church for Me”, an emotionally freighted statement of what it means to be a multinational millennial today. Born in Canada, Zayne was raised in war torn Congo until his family had to flee for their lives, sending him as a child alone to Canada.  From there he moved constantly from country to country and school to school, but made sense of it by writing songs and playing in multiple bands at 13. He toured Asia with a punk band for his first professional [Read More]

music

Athena returns to her American beginning, Hotel Café, a star.

February 6, 2017

  Patrick O’Heffernan (Hollywood) Just about two and half years ago I wandered  into Hollywood’s Hotel Café and joined a sparse early audience.  A young woman in torn shorts, old t-shirt and flip flops came on stage, obviously nervous but occasionally able to flash an impressive high wattage smile as she introduced herself as part Greek, part British and newly arrived from London.  Then she sang, and I knew this was no ordinary talent.   This woman –Athena, after the Greek virgin Goddess of  the arts – was far more than the underdressed waif grasping the micstand in front of me. Athena was a star in the making.   This week she was back at the Hotel Café. The high powered smile was still there, but in place of the shorts and t-shirt and flip flops was a silver lamé sheath and knee-touching high-heeled fashion-forward boots. However, more than the costume change, it was the musical change that was most impressive. Athena rolled out the songs on her debut USA album, Ready for the Sun, [Read More]

Music Friday Live

Ready for the Sun, Athena’s debut US album: a musical mind and heart meld.

January 16, 2017

  Athena is a magical musical angel whose songs release emotion like endorphins      Patrick O’Heffernan (Los Angeles) Listening to Athena’s new album, Ready for the Sun is a mind and heart meld.  The beauty of her voice, of her lyrics – of her very soul – submerge you in the deepest of emotion.  She sings to you. From the stage or from the studio, Athena connects to those who hear her so closely, so tightly, that every song on Ready for the Sun  is an intensely intimate experience.  You know this woman when you hear her sing. She is authentic, sincere, close — and you want to listen to her over and over again.   Athena, an Greek-English singer (and environmental and children’s champion) combines, honesty, vulnerability and confidence in every note, singing about experiences and emotions that are simultaneously personal and universal. Her voice whispers, soothes, and flies with a malleability rare even in the most talented singers. But through every song – whether it is about her breaking heart in “Don’t [Read More]

Interview

A conversation with Natalie Gelman: picked up a guitar at 16 and never looked back.

January 10, 2017

  (Los Angeles)  Natalie Gelman is talented, courageous, beautiful, brainy, creative….and many more complementary adjectives.  But after listening to her music and following her career for the past three years, it is something she said at a Ted talk in 2014 in Seattle that will always stay with me.  “I live  in the question”.  Or, as she quoted Mike Tyson, “Everyone has a plan until they are punched in the face”.  Her openness to the vagaries of life and the possibilities of the future is the energy that electrifies her songs. And her music is electric, not in the guitar sense – she plays acoustic – but in its high voltage lyrics and thrumming arrangements. Listening to her is living in the question, because you never know how they will affect you.  I had an opportunity recently to ask about some of the questions she lives  and questions in the songs on her new album, Streetlamp Musician.   Patrick. A lot of things have happened  to you since we last talked. You have released more [Read More]