By Ian S. Port
By Tony Ware
By Emma Silvers
By Gary Moskowitz
By Alee Karim
By Ian S. Port
By Ian S. Port
By Derek Opperman
Susana Baca found her voice at a very early age, but it took much longer to find her heritage. For centuries, her native Peru had all but forgotten its African influence. Baca took it upon herself to recapture her Afro-Peruvian roots by recording the folk songs and poetry that her elders recalled. With her partner, Ricardo Periera, she established the Center for the Black Continuum and began to incorporate the traditional works into her own music. Anyone who caught the Global Divas tour earlier this year can attest to the power and melodic beauty of Baca's discovery. She performs at the Great American Music Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 9, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15; call 885-0750.
Over the last 20 years, Larry Reed and I Wayan Wija have worked together, bringing innovations to the ancient art of Balinese shadow puppet theater. If the flickering coconut oil flame and single-man artistry displayed at the Asian Art Museum last month was too sedate for your liking, imagine a drama of epic proportions taking place on a movie-size screen while the sound of a full gamelan orchestra blends with live digital sampling. Electric Shadows of Bali is based on the Hindu Tirta Amerta, a violent struggle between gods and demons that uproots mountains, enslaves the King of Snakes, stirs the Milky Way, and ultimately creates. A giant screen, multiple light sources, and a full cast of puppeteers should make a large enough spectacle to stymie attention deficit disorder. Electric Shadows of Bali will be held at the Somar Theater Wednesday through Saturday, Sept. 9-12, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15; call 352-1770.
If not for the horrors of a major-label stranglehold Smith & Mighty might be enjoying the same renown as Tricky, Massive Attack, and Portishead. Certainly, all their Bristol compatriots were taking heavy cues from their innovative style as early as 1988. On the latest installment of DJ Kicks, Smith & Mighty spotlight their own talent as well as a slew of other Bristol acts who fuse hip hop, roots reggae, drum 'n' bass, and dub. As Ray Mighty says, the Bristol sound is relaxed, and it's just getting started. Smith & Mighty perform at the Justice League on Friday, Sept. 11, with DJs Rue and Jamalski opening at 9 p.m. Tickets are $16; call 289-2038.
For a label that claims to be limping into the millennium, Vaccination Records is making a grand show of it. Their latest sampler flaunts some of the most unique talent the Bay Area has to offer -- Nine Wood, Rube Waddell, Ebola Soup, Giant Ant Farm, Mumble & Peg, Charming Hostess, Eskimo, and the now sadly defunct Idiot Flesh. Funny Rubber Hand careens through discordant junkyard rumbles, deadly a cappella invocations, street-corner diatribes, carnival hoedowns, satanic inaugurations, and 4 a.m. jazz-band altercations. With their downy, behind-the-hand whispers, Mumble & Peg stand out as the most easily accessible act for an ear uninitiated to the Vaccination sound, but they're just the bait that lures the sucker to the hook. In Mumble & Peg's aural landscape, accordions crawl out of bathroom windows and the saxophones rape the cat. It's a mad, mad, beautiful world. Of course, to create this kaleidoscope of lunacy on compact disc took some hard cash, something Vaccination never has in plenty. To celebrate the release and help out with the costs, the label is throwing a little bash. Vaccination artist Frank Pahl is making the trek from Detroit to climb onstage with Rube Waddell, Mumble & Peg, Nine Wood, and a strange amalgamation called IdiotEskiHostessFlesh. Dancers from the Body Cartographers will be twining their way through the crowd doing highly unexpected things, while upstairs the Rube Waddell Porno Puppet Theater, the Idiot Flesh Puppet Theater of Cruelty, and fire spinner Tullulah Whippenfetch will entertain the kiddies. The ever-sinister Professor Pin MCs at the Paradise Lounge on Saturday, Sept. 12, at 9 p.m. Tickets are $8; call 861-6906.
Glam and rock go hand in hand, or so say DJ Hooker and Machine Gun Anderson, who have contrived a fab evening affectionately known as "Trash." Rock out to the glam-punk stylings of American Heartbreak, then dance your way through the decades with the likes of the Velvet Underground, the Creation, Jimi Hendrix, the Animals, T. Rex, David Bowie, the Move, Sweet, the Stones, the Cars, the Runaways, Cheap Trick, Blondie, AC/DC, the Make-Up, Jonathan Fire*Eater, Gallon Drunk, and Catatonia. "Trash" will be held at Cafe Du Nord on Monday, Sept. 14, at 9 p.m. Tickets are $5; call 861-5016.
-- Silke Tudor