The Getty Center

Sounds of L.A. is an annual concert series that explores our city's varied musical geography, celebrating the work of masters as well as up-and-coming musicians from around the globe. Each month features two concerts by charismatic musicians who combine global influences in unexpected and original ways.

The series is free; a separate reservation is required for each concert. All performances take place in the Harold M. Williams Auditorium at the Getty Center. Parking is $25 per car or motorcycle. Concessions will be available Saturday only before the performance.


An Evening with Rising Stars Fife and Drum & Dom Flemons

Date: Saturday and Sunday, April 27 & 28, 2024
Time: Saturday, 6:00 p.m.; Sunday, 3:00 p.m.
Location: Harold M. Williams Auditorium
Admission: Free, reservation required.

Celebrating the legacy of early American music, Sounds of LA presents acclaimed musicians Sharde Thomas and Dom Flemons. The granddaughter of the late master fife player Otha Turner, Sharde Thomas leads the Rising Stars Fife and Drum Band that Turner founded in the 1960s. Taking her grandfather's legacy seriously, her musical style is deeply connected to the tradition she was born into but uniquely her own. As a resolute preservationist, storyteller, and instrumentalist, Grammy-winner Dom Flemons has long set himself apart by finding forgotten folk songs and making them live again. Known as "The American Songster®," his repertoire of music covers over 100 years of early American popular music, and he is considered an expert player on the banjo, guitar, harmonica, jug, percussion, quills, fife, and rhythm bones. Sharing the stage, Thomas and Flemons innovatively bring to life musical traditions in a performance not to be missed!

Presented in collaboration with the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

Recently in the series

Sara Curruchich
April 13 and 14, 2024
There is no better way of introducing Sara Curruchich than to say that being a woman in Guatemala is an act of resistance, and being a Mayan Kaqchikel woman as well as an artist is not only a political statement, but an act of defiance. Sara is the first Indigenous Guatemalan singer and songwriter to sing in Kaqchikel (her mother tongue), as well as Spanish, for an international audience. Her voice and message of love, awareness, respect, and defense of life in all its forms, have led many people to regard her as a beacon of light and hope. Her music blends various genres such as rock, folk and traditional Mayan Kaqchikel music.

SONOROUS PRESENT: Songs of Border Crossings, Sunrises, and Mournings
March 16 and 17, 2024
Sounds of LA 2024 launches with an exclusive performance of immersive, poetic music from Alex E. Chávez's forthcoming album SONOROUS PRESENT. What began as an experimental, collaborative, and improvised performance in Chicago—inspired by the music and poetics of Chávez's award-winning book Sounds of Crossing—has been subsequently reimagined as a studio album in collaboration with Grammy Award-winning producer Quetzal Flores. SONOROUS PRESENT offers a never-before-heard blend of Mexican and Latin American folk elements with progressive jazz, poetry, dance, field recordings, and ethnographic songwriting that crosses the sunburst surrealism of America's musical and cultural borderlands.

Pajaros Ante Un Espejo
March 18 and 19, 2023
Born into celebrated musical families, Lucía Gutiérrez Rebolloso and Sandino González-Flores have grown up in the vibrant son jarocho music and cultural movement, which originated in rural Veracruz. Now, these talented young multi-instrumentalists are gaining attention for their own performances weaving traditional Mexican music with jazz and original compositions. Joined by a superb trio of local musicians led by keyboardist Michael Wooten, Lucía and Sandino close this year's Sounds of LA series with a hope-filled, genre-crossing look to the future.

Los Cenzontles and Los Originarios del Plan
February 18 and 19, 2023
Our Sounds of LA concert series continues with pioneering roots music ensembles from Northern and Central California: Los Cenzontles and Los Originarios del Plan. Whether performing traditional, folk, or original songs, Grammy-nominated Los Cenzontles ("the mockingbirds") is celebrated for capturing the spirit of Mexico's remarkable sonic diversity. They share the stage with Los Originarios del Plan. Masters of the arpa grande–an older, all-string cousin of the mariachi–the quartet is renowned for preserving and promoting music from Michoacán's Tierra Caliente region.

January 21 and 22, 2023
The celebrated Afro-Colombian ensemble REBOLÚ brings tropical dance music to the Getty. Founded by singer-composer-gaitero Ronald Polo and master percussionist Morris Cañate, the group both pays homage to and celebrates the people and culture of Colombia's Caribbean coast. Joined by singer and cuatro player Johanna Castañeda and drummer Erica "Kika" Parra, the New York-based collective describes its sound as nothing short of a party; one effortlessly weaving indigenous instruments, African rhythms, urban beats, and Spanish lyrics. Definitely the perfect start to a new year!

Aukahi with Kumu Hula Keali'i Ceballos, Daniel Ho, and 'Ohana
April 9 and 10, 2022
Kumu Hula Keali'i Ceballos offers a celebration of voice and dance that embody the creative life force in Hawaiian culture. Kumu's dynamic program is filled with sacred chants and soul-lifting melodies reflecting both the ancient and the modern. The concert will also feature original music by composer and Grammy Award-winner Daniel Ho and special guests Randy Drake and Danna Xue. Hālau Hula Keali'i o Nālani captures the spirit of leo (melodic voice/sound), through hula kahiko (ancient hula) and contemporary hula 'auana.

Constellation/Nezam-e-Shams with Salar Nader and Guests
March 12 and 13, 2022
Tabla virtuoso Salar Nader presents an evening of traditional music from Afghanistan with renowned artists united in a rare performance. This heartfelt offering of melody, rhythm, and voice will evoke the spirit of renewal in celebration of Nawrooz, the Afghan new year. Guest musicians include master artists Homayoun Sakhi (rhubâb) with Hangama Zohra (vocals), Chetram Sahni (dhol), and Shamali Afghan (vocals). This program is a prayer for peace, reflecting the power of song and the calling of love.

120,000 STORIES with Nobuko Miyamoto and Guests
February 19 and 20, 2022
Los Angeles' beloved artist Nobuko Miyamoto presents a genre-bridging concert that draws from her latest album 120,000 STORIES (Smithsonian Folkways), poignantly reflecting her experience as one of 120,000 Japanese Americans imprisoned during World War II. She is joined by producers Quetzal Flores, Derek Nakamoto and a stellar group of musicians who share her belief in the social power of music. With every performance Miyamoto offers moving "songstories"—political and personal reflections that cross boundaries of race, culture, and time. Each note invites us into "Bambutsu – no Tsunagari," the space where all things are connected. Presented in collaboration with the Japanese American National Museum and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

Ruby Ibarra and the Balikbayans
February 15 and 16, 2020
New listeners to Oakland-based MC, rapper, and spoken word artist Ruby Ibarra will hear familiar stories reflecting the lives of immigrants and communities of color, but they may also hear something unfamiliar: Tagalog and Waray. These languages originate in the Philippines, just like Ibarra. Both are especially percussive languages: perfect for her voice and vision. She'll be joined by contemporary and traditional musicians for an evening illuminating the social power of music. Presented in collaboration with the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

January 18 and 19, 2020
Sounds of L.A. 2020 kicks off with African stringed-instrument virtuosi. Formed in 2006, 3MA features Ballaké Sissoko on kora, Driss El Maloumi on oud, and Rajery on valiha—an instrument described as part-zither, part-lute. The three, hailing from Mali, Morocco, and Madagascar, regularly meet to perform together and create new compositions inspired by their respective traditions and deep friendship. Amoeba Music calls their latest album, Anarouz (released by Six Degrees Records), "pure magic ... peaceful music for a violent world." This band of brothers has developed a shared musical language brimming with energy, harmony, and poetry. Presented in collaboration with the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

Aditya Prakash Ensemble
March 16 and 17, 2019
The 2019 Sounds of L.A. season closes with Aditya Prakash Ensemble. Prakash grew up in a Los Angeles and began training in Carnatic and Hindustani vocals from age eight. He went on to tour with musicians Pandit Ravi Shankar, Anoushka Shankar, and Karsh Kale as well as with acclaimed choreographer Akram Khan. In 2011, he started Aditya Prakash Ensemble after jamming with musician roommates at UCLA. The result frames his distinctive vocal style with jazz, funk, and hip-hop to create a wholly original, genre-melding sound.

February 16 and 17, 2019
Sisters in song, rhythm, and spirit, LADAMA comprises four musicians-educators: Lara Klaus, Daniela Serna, Mafer Bandola, and Sara Lucas. Harnessing music from their respective countries of origin—Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, and the United States—they create original songs using traditional and non-traditional instruments. Their work transports us to a future where the world communicates across continents and cultures, through sound and story. Presented in association with the Smithsonian Year of Music.

Los Pleneros de la 21
January 19 and 20, 2019
Sounds of L.A. 2019 kicks off with the Getty debut of Grammy Award-nominated Los Pleneros de la 21. Founded in 1983 by NEA National Heritage Fellow, Juan Gutiérrez-Rodriguez, LP21 is an East Harlem-based performing arts ensemble and nonprofit organization created to foster appreciation of Puerto Rico's extraordinary cultural expressions. Known for complex, multi-part vocal harmonies set against bomba and plena rhythms, the group has been praised for "perfectly arranged" tunes producing "exhilaratingly deep Latino explorations of Afro-Caribbean grooves."

Hermanos Herrera
March 17 and 18, 2018
Sounds of L.A. 2018 closes with the Getty debut of Hermanos Herrera. These five brothers and one sister have performed together since childhood, exploring music that draws deeply from the lively, string-driven son jarocho and son huasteco traditions of Mexican music. They infuse their signature sounds with passion and an aggressive approach to playing the regional instruments of Veracruz: the harp, five-string jarana guitar, and distinctive requinto jarocho. These siblings—who inherited their enthusiasm and talent from previous generations of family members—are poised to write a new chapter in their region's musical history and take it to new audiences around the globe.

Cuba L.A.
February 17 and 18, 2018
The late conga player, or conguero, Francisco Aguabella, worked with everyone from Peggy Lee to Carlos Santana. His deep knowledge of Afro-Cuban traditions and jazz, combined with abundant curiosity, inspired artists around the world including flutist, producer, and educator Danilo Lozano. Founding member of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Lozano is also the creative force behind Narada Production's Cuba L.A. To celebrate Aguabella's remarkable legacy, Lozano and his bandmates offer a concert featuring compositions by the master conguero as well as Latin jazz standards and original compositions.

Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano
January 13 and 14, 2018
Founded in 1961 by Natividad "Nati" Cano, the Grammy award-winning Mariachi Los Camperos have played a fundamental role in the development of mariachi music in the United States by mentoring new generations of musicians and expanding audiences. A visionary leader, Cano's goal was to take mariachi beyond cantinas and into concert halls. Today, under the leadership of longtime musical director Jesus "Chuy" Guzman, this groundbreaking mariachi remains a beacon of artistic excellence and deep community engagement.

Entre Mujeres: Women Making Music Across Borders
April 8 and 9, 2017
Sounds of LA 2017 closes with Entre Mujeres: Women Making Music Across Borders. Founded by musicians Martha Gonzales (GRAMMY® Award winning band Quetzal) and Laura Marina Rebolloso (Son De Madera), this collaborative project features original compositions by musicians from Los Angeles and Veracruz. Its goal is to create community and make visible through song the voices, ideas, and translocal dialogues between women from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Featuring some of the city's finest singers, Entre Mujeres cleverly blends traditional sounds of fandango with influences such as rock, jazz, blues, hip-hop, and African and Odissi rhythms. Presented in collaboration with the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

Rising Star Fife and Drum Band featuring Shardé Thomas
March 18 and 19, 2017
Fife and drum music arrived in America's deep south in the 17th century with military marching bands and was quickly woven into musical traditions of African slaves. What emerged—fife and drum blues—has been called one of America's last and most tangible links to this era. Today, the tradition lives on in the work of Shardé Thomas who leads the Rising Star Fife and Drum Band. Presented in collaboration with the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

Rahim AlHaj
February 18 and 19, 2017
Sounds of LA 2017 launches with a concert by Iraqi-American oud virtuoso Rahim AlHaj. His forthcoming album, Letters from Iraq, features eight original compositions inspired by a collection of recent letters by Iraqi women and children, which range from the banal to the brave. AlHaj says this stunning labor of love is written "with tears that lead to hope." This concert is presented in collaboration with Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

Riyaaz Qawwali
April 9 and 10, 2016
Austin-based Riyaaz Qawwali is committed to sharing a centuries-old devotional genre with new audiences around the globe. Reflecting the extraordinary cultural landscape of South Asia, the ensemble comprises musicians hailing from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. At the heart of their performances are sacred poems of love and longing created by both venerable and new writers. Whether singing in Urdu, Punjabi, Farsi, Gujarati, or Hindi, Riyaaz Qawwali uses their music to connect and transcend.

Uxía & Narf and António Zambujo
March 12 and 13, 2016
The music of the Iberian Peninsula is rich in character, often linking the sacred and profane in ways both subtle and vigorous. This concert illuminates the soulful dynamism of that music with a double-bill featuring celebrated Galician duo Uxía & Narf and acclaimed Portuguese fado singer António Zambujo. Together, they bring a fresh voice to sounds with deep roots connecting Europe to North African and beyond. Presented in collaboration with the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.

Mamak Khadem
February 13 and 14, 2016
Sounds of LA kicked off with a return visit by local favorite Mamak Khadem. Her latest album, "The Road," invites us on a journey that includes her native Iran, as well as Serbia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Greece, and Arab-Andalusia. Ever searching for threads of connection, she draws upon a treasure trove of traditional melodies, rhythms, and poetry to create a lush sonic landscape that is nothing short of intoxicating.

Ricardo Lemvo and Makina Loca
March 14 and 15, 2015
L.A.'s very own ambassadors of Angolan soul, Ricardo Lemvo and Makina Loca, return to the Getty Center with their signature mix of African soukous and Cuban rumba. Their latest project, La Rumba Soy Yo, has been called "a street party you have to dance your way through, [filled with] bright horns, fantastic bass lines, amazing percussion, and melodies that linger for days." These local favorites are the perfect end to this season of Sounds of L.A.

Yuri Yunakov and the Yunakov Ensemble
February 7 and 8, 2015
The hallmark of Bulgarian wedding music is virtuosic technique, dynamic key changes, and eclectic musical influences. Turkish-Bulgarian Roma saxophonist, Yuri Yunakov, is one of the genre's pioneers, a NEA National Heritage Fellow, and a tireless champion of this music and the extraordinary culture from which it comes. Simply put, Yunakov's concerts are an untethered celebration of what makes life worth living.

Christine Balfa and Balfa Toujours
January 17 and 18, 2015
The Balfa name conjures up memories of the famous Balfa Brothers, who took their soulful music from the prairies of Mamou, Louisiana, to the far corners of the earth. Balfa Toujours ("Balfa always") is making sure the name will maintain its place for generations to come. Led by Christine Balfa, daughter of the legendary Cajun fiddle ambassador Dewey Balfa, the group has taken generations of inspiration and created a vibrant sound all their own.

Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan
March 15 and 16, 2014
Ayaan Ali Khan and Amaan Ali Khan are seventh-generation sarod (a 19-stringed lute) virtuosi, part of a lineage that includes the legendary Indian classical musicians Amjad Ali Khan and Haafiz Ali Khan. Like their father and grandfather before them, the brothers are known for a dazzling technique that enables them to flow effortlessly between the sarod's sweet melodic tones and explosive rhythmic dynamism. Called "the coming masters" by the music press, they are well on their way to charting new musical paths as they share the sublime sound of the sarod with audiences around the globe.

On Ensemble with special guest artist Sumie Kaneko
February 8 and 9, 2014
Widely considered leading lights of Japanese-influenced music in the United States, On Ensemble is known for infusing traditional taiko with jazz and world music elements. With a completely original and brilliantly conceived sound, the L.A.–based group is at the forefront of young musicians who seamlessly—and exuberantly—bridge East and West, old and new. Joining these sonic adventurers for their Getty debut is koto and shamisen virtuoso Sumie Kaneko.

Krar Collective
January 18 and 19, 2014
Dubbed "the White Stripes of Ethiopia" for its minimalist rock sound, Krar Collective bases its repertoire on traditional Ethiopian songs while creating a style "unlike any music coming from Africa in recent years." Hailing from London via Addis Ababa, krar (a 5- or 6-stringed lyre) player Temesegen Zeleke, vocalist Beli Nigussie, and percussionist Grum Begashaw offer a unique and powerful take on Ethiopian music. Rooted in tradition, soaked with attitude, and rising in the world-music community, Krar Collective provides a fitting start to Sounds of L.A. 2014.

Chaksam-Pa: Classical and Folk Music of Tibet
September 28 and 29, 2013
Sounds of L.A. welcomes Alliance for California Traditional Arts to the neighborhood! Founded in 1997, ACTA promotes the diverse cultural traditions found throughout the Golden State. To mark the opening of their LA office, the Getty presents Chaksam-Pa, a Bay Area based group of Tibetan master musicians and dancers, whose goal is to preserve and protect folk opera and dance of Tibet. Recipients of an ACTA 2011 Living Cultures Grant, Chaksam-Pa, which means "bridgebuilder," connects with audiences through performance, documentation, and language programs. As Sounds of L.A. wraps up its 14th season, we welcome ACTA to our city with music that speaks to the importance of their work and the best of California's traditional arts.

Music Sample
Hear an excerpt of "Thoeshey Soepel La," performed by Chaksam-Pa.

The Holmes Brothers
February 16 and 17, 2013
Over the course of their 30-plus year career, the Holmes Brothers (bassist/vocalist Sherman Holmes, guitarist/pianist/vocalist Wendell Holmes, drummer/vocalist, and brother-in-spirit Popsy Dixon) have been feeding the souls of their devoted and ever-growing fan base with a joyous and moving blend of blues, gospel, soul, R and B, rock 'n' roll, and country.

Ricardo Lemvo and Makina Loca
January 19 and 20, 2013
Sounds of L.A. kicks off with local favorites Ricardo Lemvo and Makina Loca, who never fail to delight with their signature mix of Afro-Cuban rhythms, Angolan semba, and Congolese soukous. Shake off the winter blues at this high-octane concert featuring new music from their latest release.

Pasatono Orquesta
October 6 and 7, 2012
Sounds of L.A. presents the West Coast debut of Oaxaca-based Pasatono Orquesta. In addition to handcrafting the indigenous instruments on which they perform, the ensemble is known for its extensive research into the culture of Mexico's Mixtec people and their once-ubiquitous rural folk orchestras. Under the direction of Rubén Luengas, the resulting sound is rooted in the music of "the people of the clouds" and informed by American jazz of the 1920s and 1930s when the region first gained access to wireless radio.

Music Sample
Hear an excerpt of "El Barco," performed by Pasatono Orquesta on La Tirica: Música e Historias para curar la Tisteza (Xquenda Producciones, 2009).

Les Charbonniers de l'Enfer
April 14 and 15, 2012
For over ten years, the superb singers comprising Les Charbonniers de l'Enfer—the little coalminers from hell—have been raising roofs and wooing audiences throughout Quebec and beyond. Avid researchers, the tight harmonies and exuberant footwork of this a cappella ensemble breathe new life into the region's traditional Celtic music. These enduring favorites of critics and fans alike made their West Coast debut as Sounds of L.A. marked the end of its 2012 season.

Kayamanan Ng Lahi Philippine Folk Arts and the Rondalla Club of Los Angeles with Special Guest Vocalist Charmaine Clamor
March 17 and 18, 2012
From traditional gong-and-drum ensembles to string rondalla to contemporary jazz, Los Angeles's acclaimed Kayamanan Ng Lahi Philippine Folk Arts is recognized for its commitment to presenting, promoting, and preserving Philippine culture. This program paid homage to the stunning creative diversity flowing from the Philippine islands to America's shores.

Halau Keali'i O Nalani
March 5 and 6, 2011
Under the direction of kumu hula (hula master) Keali'i Ceballos, west Los Angeles-based Hula Halau o Keali'i o Nalani is celebrated for its vibrant warmth and lyricism. Marking its 20th anniversary, the halau closed Sounds of L.A. 2011 with a special program exploring the interconnectedness of music and dance from ancient hula kahiko to modern hula 'auana.

Sounds and Rhythms of Afghanistan
February 12 and 13, 2011
Sounds and Rhythms of Afghanistan is an extraordinary ensemble that features master musicians on rubab, doyra, tabla, and vocals. Together, these kindred spirits effortlessly wove diverse traditions of Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and North India to evoke the startling wonders of this culturally rich region.

Aurelio Martinez
January 15 and 16, 2011
With its dense percussive array and emphasis on vocal artistry, the music of the Garifuna people is unlike any other in Central America. Acclaimed Honduras-born singer Aurelio Martinez opens Sounds of LA 2011 with a stunning blend of African and Latin acoustic roots music.

Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba
March 20 and 21, 2010
Bassekou Kouyate is an incomparable master of the Malian ngoni, a lutelike instrument from West Africa, and has performed with everyone from the late Ali Farka Touré to Taj Mahal. With a repertoire that illuminates the soul of Bambara culture, Kouyate's stellar ensemble made its Southern California debut at the Getty.

Music Sample
Hear an excerpt from "Musow" from Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba's CD I Speak Fula (Sub Pop).

Mythili Prakash
February 13 and 14, 2010
As one of the leading young exponents of Bharata Natyam, the classical dance of South India, Mythili Prakash brings an intrepid dynamism to the form. In a special program celebrating the interconnectedness of music and dance, Prakash performed with an outstanding group of musicians from India and the United States.

Mamak Khadem
January 16 and 17, 2010
Vocalist Mamak Khadem draws inspiration from the ecstatic roots of Persian melodies and poems. Working across traditional and contemporary idioms found in the Middle East and beyond, Khadem's richly atmospheric music is an unswerving testament to the power of artistic exploration.

Music Sample
Hear an excerpt from the title track of Mamak Khadem's CD Jostojoo (Forever Seeking).

Chango Spasiuk
April 4 and 5, 2009
The son of Ukrainian immigrants, Chango Spasiuk is the unquestioned master of chamamé from northeastern Argentina. Spasiuk unleashed wild howls of creative fervor coupled with an almost terrifying mastery of the accordion.

Music Sample
Hear an excerpt from "Dark Cat" from Chango Spasiuk's CD The Charm of Chamamé (Calabash).

March 14 and 15, 2009
Born in Seattle, raised in Zimbabwe, this defiantly optimistic singer made her Getty debut in a concert featuring her trademark electrifying mbira-driven sound.

Music Sample
Hear an excerpt from "Vanorapa" from Chiwoniso's CD Rebel Woman (Cumbancha).

Rahim AlHaj and Souhail Kaspar
February 7 and 8, 2009
For this rare L.A. concert, the Grammy-nominated oud virtuoso and composer Rahim AlHaj joined forces with Lebanese percussionist Souhail Kaspar to present music from his latest release, Home Again.

Music Sample
Hear an excerpt from "Closeness" from Rahim Alhaj's album Home Again (Fast Horse).

Andy Statman
January 17 and 18, 2009
For more than 30 years, clarinet and mandolin master Andy Statman has broken new ground by skillfully integrating klezmer, bluegrass, and jazz.

Music Sample
Hear an excerpt from "Rawhide" from Andy Statman's CD East Flatbush Blues (Shefa).

How to Get Here
The Getty Center is located at 1200 Getty Center Drive in Los Angeles, California, approximately 12 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. See Hours, Directions, Parking for maps and driving directions.