WARY + STRANGE
Wary + Strange happens to be the title of Amythyst Kiah’s brilliant new album on Rounder Records, but it might as well be a summing-up of how many of us are feeling in the wake of certain indications that arrived earlier this week of where this country may be headed. It’s always a good time to listen to women, and we are fortunate to have multiple opportunities to do just that over the next several days here in Santa Barbara.
One great place to start would be at UCSB’s Campbell Hall on Thursday, May 5, when Arts & Lectures presents Amythyst Kiah in concert. Today, this tough-minded, beautifully lyrical singer and guitar player from Tennessee is one of the most exciting performers in American roots music. She’ll be taking a night off from her current tour opening for The Who to hit the Campbell Hall stage, and the material she’s bringing means more with every passing moment. Her song “Black Myself,” first recorded by the all-female roots supergroup Native Daughters featuring Rhiannon Giddens, got a Grammy nomination. It is back on her solo record in a harder-rocking version. Marrying blues feeling to rock attitude, the album covers a lot of ground and reveals Kiah as a compelling voice expressing a Southern Black LGBTQ+ woman’s experience with universality and poise. At the notoriously critical Pitchfork media site, Wary + Strange earned the accolade “a rock album that doesn’t play by anyone’s rules but her own.”
Catch Amythyst Kiah on Thursday, May 5, presented by UCSB Arts & Lectures, at 8 p.m. at UCSB’s Campbell Hall.
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CINCO DE FANDANGO
For another opportunity to hear from a strong woman, head to the Granada, where violinist supreme Anne Akiko Meyers will join the Santa Barbara Symphony for a newly commissioned concerto by Mexican composer Arturo Márquez. Initially scheduled for January, this concert has gathered quite the buzz after Sunday’s performance, which thrilled audience members. Read more about this significant musical event here. The show is on Thursday, May 5, at 7:30 p.m. at the Granada.
POEM OF THE BODY
On Saturday, May 7, celebrate the spring with Lorde at the Santa Barbara Bowl. She’s touring on a new album called Solar Power, and she’s bursting with new music that celebrates the optimism she somehow managed to discover by traveling from New Zealand to Antarctica and going on a social media fast. For tickets and information, visit sbbowl.com.