The Music Center Kicks Off FLASHFEST, 11/4


The Music Center inaugurates FLASHFEST with an event free to the public at Grand Park on Sunday, November 4 from 1 pm to 5 pm. FLASHFEST is a new pop-up arts happening that explores all art forms in myriad ways with appeal to all ages and interests. Each event will turn on a particular theme, which will be up for a short time and then disappear until the next FLASHFEST. The first event at Grand Park, "High Roads + Railroads," features roots music from Irish and African American traditions.

A musical mash-up from two continents, "High Roads + Rail Roads" merges the forces of two bands, The Ebony Hillbillies and Téada. The fiddle and banjo share the stage with two dueling dance traditions -- Irish dancer Brian Cunningham and Los Angles tapper Channing Cook Holmes. Holmes will also offer a Tap Dance Workshop – one of five workshops during "High Roads + Railroads." Angela Lloyd will offer "Quilts of Words, Patches of Music," a story self-accompanied on washboard; Lloyd also offers a Washboard workshop. Other workshops include Irish Folk Dance with Maire Clerkin, and visual arts workshops with Alvaro Asturias and Eiko Amano.

Thor Steingraber, Vice President of Programming at The Music Center said, "FLASHFEST is a patchwork of performances and events, threaded together by a common theme and presented over a few hours in Grand Park. Entertainment of every stripe and color blend together with opportunities for audiences to join the dancing and art-making. Eating, drinking, and enjoying an afternoon on Grand Park's performance lawn are also an essential part of the FLASHFEST experience."
Grand Park is located in Downtown Los Angeles. Grand Park stretches from The Music Center on the west to City Hall on the east. For more information, please call (213) 972-8080. Parking is available in Lot 10 for all Park events, between Temple and First Streets, accessible from both Hill and Broadway Streets. Please visit for more information.

"High Roads+ Railroads" includes visual arts workshops – "The Quilts of Gees Bend" by artist Alvaro Asturias and "The Celtic Alphabet" by Eiko Amano. Asturias emigrated from Antigua Guatemala, and Amano was born in Japan. Asturias was an artist-in-residence at the Los AngeLes Children's Museum for eleven years and is now a Master Teaching Artist for The Music Center. Amano was born in Japan and came to the United States when she was eleven years old. Eiko has studied with various ceramic artists throughout Southern California, including the renowned Paul Soldner at Scripps College and Phil Cornelius at Pasadena City College. Eiko, also a Master Teaching Artist for The Music Center, has taught at various schools in Southern California, working with students ranging from kindergarten to adults. She has lectured at Occidental College, Scripps College and Glendale Community College.

FLASHFEST follows a month of opening activities in the fully completed Grand Park, which commenced with vertical dance troupe Bandaloop performing on the side of City Hall. Grand Park programming is overseen by The Music Center, under the direction of Park Director Lucas Rivera. FLASHFEST builds on the month's diverse offerings, bringing together an innovative combination of The Music Center programs in dance, world cultures, and participatory activities. Future plans for Park events and performances will be announced soon, and central to Rivera's vision is a Breadth and variety of programming that attracts all County residents.

Barbara Leonard, Artistic Director for Education, said, "Traditional Irish folk music and African American musical tradition have heavily influenced each other musically and share a common history in early America. The fiddle and the jigs played during the slavery often came from Irish immigrants. The banjo, having its origin in West Africa, was brought to the plantations, then taken to Ireland to become a "traditional" Irish instrument. These common roots and their historical common experiences will be explored musically as these two great traditions come together for an afternoon of music and dance from Africa, America and Ireland. These are kinds of artistic intersections that FLASHFEST will explore these kinds of artistic intersections in in a fun, visceral, and intriguing way--each one will be unique and the performers, spaces, and mix will reflect the theme of the happening. "

The Ebony Hillbillies -- As one of the last black string bands in the U.S., and the only one currently based in NYC-the Hillbillies keep an important legacy alive with a rootsy, homegrown style that was a key element in the genesis of all American music-Jazz, Blues, Bluegrass, Rockabilly, Rock and Roll and Country. The band, led by Henrique Prince {Violin, Vocals} and Norris Bennett -- Banjo, Mountain Dulcimer, Guitar, Vocals} and including William"Salty Bill" Salter 'on acoustic Bass and Vocals and Newman Taylor Baker on Washboard, Percussion and Vocals with Gloria Thomas Gassaway on Bones and Vocals - creates an untamed and joyful vibe.

Whether they play for thousands of people at Carnegie Hall or a crowd at Grand Central station, The Ebony Hillbillies bring history alive with the still vibrant sound of Americana that echoes across generations and transcends all racial and cultural boundaries. They've maintained their grassroots credibility while inspiring heartstring tugs and toe-taps in fans of all types of music- Pop, Country, Bluegrass, Folk, Rock, Jazz and beyond with a musical repertoire that pays homage to the traditional and still looks towards the future.

The Ebony Hillbillies play a mix of tasty originals as well as unique renditions of classics we all love {"Cotton Eyed Joe" "Shenandoah"). They've already sold thousands of copies of their two CDs "Sabrina's Holiday" and " I Thought You Knew" and have participated in many Festivals throughout the US and Canada including most recently, The High Mountain Hay Fever Bluegrass Festival in West Cliff, Colorado, The Spoleto Festival in Charleston South Carolina, The Wintergrass Bluegrass Festival in Tacoma WA., and The Port Townsend Blues Festival, in Port Townsend, Washington.

Téada, now firmly established as one of Irish music's leading exponents on the international world music stage, continues to be driven by a fascination with the timeless, expressive force of traditional tunes inherited from previous generations of musicians. Since 2001, when the freshly-formed band landed a spot on the innovative Irish television show Flosc, Téada, has evolved to frequent headline performances at major music festivals throughout the US, Canada, Europe, Israel and Australia. A notable highlight was a headlining appearance to a 30,000-audience in Brittany during 2006, a year which also saw the band launch a hugely successful CD/DVD 'Inné Amárach', released by Gael Linn and Compass Records. With lush Irish orchestration, Téada, meaning "strings" in the Irish language revels in the vibrant traditional music of Ireland, deftly playing up its structural intricacies while preserving the timeless energy of the reels, jigs, hornpipes, and other lesser-known tunes in the repertoire.

Channing Cook Holmes, an Inglewood, California native, has been blessed with colorful drumming abilities, a syncopated rhythmic tap dance style, smooth vocal arrangements, and natural audience appeal which have taken him around the world. His interest in the arts was initiated at the age of 5 with his first television commercial; leading to formal training by tap dancer and mentor Alfred Desio at the Colburn School of Performing Arts. Professionally, Channing has been featured in "Bojangles" starring Gregory Hines "Office Beat", "Imagine Tap", "Jazz Tap Ensemble", "Riverdance", A Showtime Original and Martin Scorsesse's "Gangs of New York." He has also performed on several occasions as a featured dancer with the Luckman orchestra on the Disney Hall stage.
Respectively, Channing has added directing and producing in to his repertoire with the production of his current children's show "Got Rhythm!" "A Walk Through Tap History" (deemed highest booked show by the Los Angeles Music Center and the Orange County Performing Arts Center). This interactive production features an intimate cast of talented musicians and dancers engaging young audiences in rhythm making, music, history, new inventions and impressions; all rooted in the American art form of TAP DANCING, with an full evening version on the way.

Angela Lloyd surprises and delights her audiences with stories from the oral and literary traditions, as well as original tales based on her experience. She plays auto harp, guitar, cuarto and spoons and is an absolute virtuoso on her washboard. Angela has performed at storytelling and music festival across the United States including the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesboro, Tennessee.

Máire Clerkin is an Irish Dancer from London. She co-founded the Irish Dance theatre companies, Clerkinworks, and The Hairy Marys. Touring extensively, she brought Irish dance to new audiences, developing innovation within a traditional art form. A Teaching Artist for The Music Center, Máire specializes in Irish Dance & Drama and Write-Move! Literacy Through Dance. Her one-woman show "The Bad Arm – Confessions of a Dodgy Irish Dancer," directed by Dan O'Connor, has enjoyed wide acclaim in Chicago, New York, Dublin, Santa Cruz and L.A. Máire's Irish Music & Dance ensemble "A Gaelic Gathering" conducts school assemblies and has performed at The Music Center's "World City" series on the Walt Disney Concert Hall campus, Ford Amphitheatre, at numerous folk festivals and she is a seasoned 'Ceili (barn dance) Caller'.

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