Riding on the coattails of the success of last year’s Guitar Festival is another evolutionary stride for the Santa Barbara Symphony: the inauguration of its highly anticipated, week-long International Percussion Festival. The festival marks the symphony’s continued triumphs in exemplary artistic programming, taking its rightful place among community giants like UCSB’s Arts & Lectures and Lobero Live by promoting a diverse portfolio of world, popular, and classical music. The multi-venue event includes an assortment of internationally renowned artists, a fun family concert, educational workshops, and free lunchtime entertainment at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. And in lieu of the festival’s size and scope, we’ve selected five simple reasons why the symphony’s rhythm is going to get you. Visit thesymphony.org for details.

1) San Jose Taiko: A mesmerizing performance of high energy, power, and grace in form. Monday night’s innovative Japanese drumming ensemble was spellbinding, providing a performance that was nothing short of a historical art exhibit, complete with traditional instrumentation and entrancing style that has delighted fans for more than 34 years.

2) Luis Conte: Fresh off Dancing with the Stars, celebrated Afro-Cuban pop sensation and Grammy Award-winner Luis Conte integrated his powerful rhythmic genius on Tuesday night with the Latin jazz flair of special guests Barry Coates, Dancing Drum, and members of The Rhythmic Arts Program (TRAP).

3) Rhythm Rainbow: Scottish, multi-instrumental virtuoso Colin Currie joins a roster of percussion all-stars-including Will Hudgins of the Boston Symphony and Michael Werner of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra-for a specialized, charismatic, and crystalline presentation of strong musicality on Thursday, January 17, at Victoria Hall Theater (33 W. Victoria St.).

4) Roy Haynes Quartet: Despite the star-crossed despair, self-destruction, and early death of jazz’s Golden Age musicians, acclaimed hard-bop bomb dropper Roy Haynes has served as one of the genre’s longest standing success stories. Dubbed the “father of modern drumming” and adorned with a long and impressive list of collaborators the likes of John Coltrane, Bud Powell, Miles Davis, and Charlie Parker, Haynes is sure to provide a dynamic, no-holds-barred performance. Catch the quartet on Friday, January 18, at the Lobero Theatre (33 E. Canon Perdido St.).

5) Different Drummer: The festival comes to a close with Colin Currie and the celebrated Santa Barbara Symphony. Currie and Co. will perform Dave Maric’s Trilogy for solo percussion, along with the West Coast premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s Percussion Concerto in the historic Arlington Theatre on Saturday, January 19, and Sunday, January 20.


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