ANGER MANAGEMENT: Violinist and fiddler Darol Anger began the contemporary string-band movement three decades ago. He helped mastermind the incorporation of stringed instruments into contemporary styles and genres such as jazz, folk, Cajun, and “newgrass.” Since 1977 he has played with numerous groups, soloed on two dozen records, and helped to produce many more. He teaches regularly at the Berklee College of Music and the Mark O’Connor Fiddle Camp, and he has led seminars at reputable universities around the world. On Thursday, March 16, Anger will play at SOhO with his current group, American Fiddle Ensemble (featuring guitar star Scott Nygaard). Fans can expect to hear renditions of Anger’s past work as well as selections from the quartet’s upcoming album, Generation Nation, due out April 4. The album features the sounds of “new acoustic music,” a style forged by Anger years ago, and combines it with the youthful vision and energy of Anger’s young bandmates. For tickets, call 962-7776. — Alastair Bland
COLOMBIA’S FINEST: Translating the essence of Colombia’s musical heritage through accordion-narrated tales, Very Be Careful is the torchbearer for a vintage sound. Representing the Vallenato musical tradition of its homeland is a matter of pride for the quintet. Apparently the commitment to making people dance is pretty serious too. American ears and feet are undoubtedly ready to join in on the fun.
Vallenato is a style influenced by a combination of African, European, and Colombian rhythm and folkloric sounds. The acordeón, the German incarnation of the instrument, is the solidifying element. The rest of the eclectic lineup includes bajo (bass), guacharaca (a notched wooden stick used for percussion), caja (bongo), and campana (goat skin drum). Very Be Careful has been at it since ’98, “breaking the barriers of cool and raising the stakes of hip.” Riding the wave of its newest album, ÑACAS, VBC rolls into UCSB’s Multicultural Center Theater on Friday, March 10. Call 893-8411. — Tyler Blue
A SPANKIN’ NEW DVD: With a sound best described as country-blues and a god-like reputation in Japan, the Asylum Street Spankers have consistently wowed the masses with more than 1,500 shows in 43 states and 10 countries. For the band, variety is definitely the spice of life. They have almost 50 band members with an array of instruments all played acoustic-style, including but not limited to: piano, guitar, violin, bass, clarinet, harmonica, banjo, and drums. Though they have typical blues songs about love troubles, they throw in a few twists with lyrics about beer and marijuana just to make things exciting. Together for 10 years, the Spankers just put out their first DVD called Reassembly in order to “have a record of what their live show is like” according to Wammo, the band’s creative director (one of his many roles). Catch them live at SOhO at 8 p.m. on Sunday, March 12. — Patrick Brogan
MIXED MELODIES: Steve Gillette and Cindy Mangsen have found the perfect combination of music, warmth, and humor that have delighted audiences across North America and Europe. Gillette is the main songwriter of the duo, whose original tunes have been recorded by more than 100 artists since 1966. He is known for his finger-picking guitar style — with a flat-pick and two fingers — that nicely complements his rich baritone. Cindy Mangsen writes songs as well, but focuses more on the art of songkeeping, the collecting and keeping of traditional songs that are rich in myth and legend. She too plays the guitar, but also dazzles on the concertina and the banjo. Within the last two decades Mangsen has performed on duet albums — hailed by some as two of the most significant traditional folk recordings of the ’90s — with Anne Hills and Priscilla Herdman. Gillette and Mangsen are part of the Song Tree Concert Series that will take place at the Live Oak Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Goleta on Friday, March 10, at 7:30 p.m. — PB