Mingled in with the circus performers and comedians at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, is an international array of some of the most talented contemporary musicians. With two venues, the Power Center and Top of the Park at Ingalls Mall, the festival is able to feature both mainstream headliners and up-and-coming local talent.
From Pink Martini’s orchestral gallivants through Parisian cabaret and Brazilian sambas to the soaring swing of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, the three-week festival will be a musical excursion across oceans and through time.
Starting off the mainstage music is Cesaria Evora on June 19. Hailing from Africa’s Cape Verde, Evora is one of the most illustrious performers of morna – a soulful musical style similar to the blues but with significant Portugese fado influences. Joining Evora will be Brazilian actor, composer and musician Seu Jorge, whose Portuguese David Bowie covers for Wes Anderson’s “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” earned him some well-deserved North American exposure. His pop-conscious samba music has since traveled to last year’s Bonnaroo music festival in Tennessee and Ottawa’s Bluesfest.
On the same night at the Top of the Park stage at Ingalls Mall and Washington St. Ann Arbor fiddler Jeremy Kittel will perform. Known for his superb Celtic, bluegrass and jazz techniques, Kittel recently earned Outstanding Jazz Composer, Outstanding Jazz Recording and Outstanding Folk Artist honors at the 2006 Detroit Music Awards.
The following week, the mainstage will present Grammy award-winning artists Lyle Lovett and k.d. lang on June 28. Lovett will be performing with his Large Band and lang with her quartet.
On July 1, the evening after the Second City comedians cause a bit of a ruckus inside the Power center, the West Virginian radio show Mountain Stage will be broadcast live. Returning to Ann Arbor for the second time this year, Jeff Daniels will be bringing his humorous storytelling to the stage. Filling out the show will be the politically-charged singer/songwriter Catie Curtis, the Boston-based folk musician Antje Duvekot and Australia’s The Cat Empire, whose funky melding of jazz and ska will round out the two-hour show.
For more events and details check out the festival’s website here