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On the Edge, of the World : Cultural Variety Fills the Bill at the Long Beach Museum of Art's Summer Concert Series


LONG BEACH — There's got to be method behind the madness when a concert series offers the Blazers with Candye Kane and the Swingin' Armadillos one week and Seigneur Tabu Ley Rochereau and Orchestre Afrisa International the next.

That's what the Long Beach Museum of Art will be offering in its 10th summer season, which starts Wednesday and will continue through Aug. 23. And you know there's method, and a sound one, when the series is not only stable but growing.

"It's grown every year," notes Kate Hoffman, the museum's special events coordinator. "Seven out of 10 shows sold out last season. The others had high attendance: The grounds hold 950; we had about 750."

What's the secret? "It's a colorful lineup, a variety of cultures," Hoffman answers, "but in my view, it's also the combination of slightly unusual musical presentations and a fantastic setting."

The museum is in an 83-year-old home and carriage house on a bluff overlooking the Pacific. "People love coming to the sculpture garden and setting up a picnic . . . and they love listening to wonderful music.

"The series evolved," Hoffman continues, "from roots in jazz into a contemporary world beat series. This year we're looking closer to home and using local talent as well." More than half this year's groups are California-based.

The series:

* Wednesday: Bobby Matos and the Heritage Ensemble, a 10-piece Afro-Cuban jazz ensemble.

* June 28: blues singer Ernie Banks.

* July 5: Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas.

* July 12: Dr. Loco's Rockin' Jalapeno Band, whose horn-driven canciones meld polka, cumbia, bossa nova, funk, corrido boogie, salsa, rumba and gospel.

* July 19: bluegrass fiddler and singer Laurie Lewis and her band, Grant Street, playing acoustic folk, blues, country and Tex-Mex.

* July 26: Zhaba, blending psychedelic folk music of urban North America with folk music of Bulgarian villages and percussion traditions of the Middle East.

* Aug. 2: bluesman Doug Macleod.

* Aug. 9: the Blazers with Candye Kane and the Swingin' Armadillos playing blues, rock, jazz, norteno music, cumbias and country.

* Aug. 16: Seigneur Tabu Ley Rochereau and Orchestre Afrisa International featuring ballads, frenzied dance rhythms and an elaborate stage show.

* Aug. 23: Rosie Flores and Katy Moffatt singing country rock, Western swing, Texas conjunto , honky-tonk ballads and blues.

* Bobby Matos and the Heritage Ensemble play Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Long Beach Museum of Art's sculpture garden, 2300 Ocean Blvd., Long Beach. $8 to $11. (310) 439-2119.

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