Cy and David’s Picks: Cuban Songs, a Persian epic, and Dreamstates

Feathers of Fire

Feathers of Fire (Photo Credit:

Jan. 17: Ignacio Piñeiro founded this band in 1927 and it’s continued to thrive since then, despite frequent changes in personnel over the years. Piñeiro himself was a great rumbero and helped develop “son Cubano” — a music genre that marries Spanish traditional songs with African rhythms — before he died in 1969. These days Eugenio “Raspa” Rodríguez and  Francisco “El Matador” Oropesa lead the band, and they played a marvelously tight set here in San Francisco a few years ago. Expect the same when they play Sunday night at the Brava Theater.

Symphony Silicon Valley presents 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'
Symphony Silicon Valley presents ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ (Photo: 21st Century Symphony Orchestra.)

Jan. 15-17: Hard to believe the first Indiana Jones movie, Raiders of the Lost Arkis now 35 years old. The film, birthed from a collaboration between George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, is an update on the movie serials of yore and is still the best of the bunch. And there’s a fresh (if pricey) way to see the film this weekend as Symphony Silicon Valley (SVV) plays the John Williams film score live to accompany the film. This is a major trend for orchestras, trying to lure new audiences in the door. SSV did it last spring with the Lord of the Rings, and the San Francisco Symphony has been digging into the great scores Bernard Herrmann wrote for a number of Hitchcock films. Details here.

Dreamstate at the Bill Graham Civic Center
Dreamstate at the Bill Graham Civic Center

Jan 16-17: Trance music is an amazingly popular form of electronic dance music born in Germany (my daughter loves it), with concerts in Los Angeles selling out within hours. Think DJ’s on the stage, dialing up 125 beats per minute that build, and build, and build, and then release. Dreamstate fills the Bill Graham Auditorium Saturday and Sunday with new and older acts including Aly and Fila, Cosmic Gate, Paul Oakenfold,, Paul Van Dyk and more. Don’t forget to hydrate.

Feathers Of Fire
Feathers Of Fire (Photo Credit:

Jan. 16-18: Feathers of Fire is a tale from the ancient Persian epic Shahname, the Book of Kings. And it’s also the newest work by San Francisco shadow puppet master Larry Reed in a production conceived and directed by Iranian American filmmaker Hamid Rahmanian. Reed called this production the IMAX of shadow theater, because the team is projecting videos, and the shadows of puppets and live actors onto a 30-by-15 foot screen. Expect magic, if you can get a ticket: As of Thursday, all but one show was sold out. Details here and here.

Jan 18 & 19: Ty Segall may be the world’s best and prolific garage rocker. He’s contributed to 20 albums in the last few years, and the majority of his music is nasty, loud, fuzzy and strange, yet full of pop hooks. And even though he left San Francisco for Los Angeles a few years ago, we still love him. He’s been promoting his new album Emotional Mugger with a series of bizarre videos, including one with him wearing what looks like a Jabba the Hut baby mask. He’s at the Fillmore for two nights.

Kelley Stoltz
Kelley Stoltz

And for a sunnier indie sound, try San Francisco rocker Kelley Stoltz at the Chapel. Stoltz, like Segall, has a new album out, In Triangle Time. The show is a Cheap Thrill at just $15.   Details here.

A couple of SHOUTouts:

Jan. 17: I’m a fan of new music advocate and pianist Sarah Cahill. She’s presenting an eclectic program that includes a world premiere of a new work from the Bay Area’s Danny Clay at the Noe Valley Chamber Music series Sunday afternoon.

Jan. 14-Feb. 10:  David Wiegand likes SOMArts new show Visions Into Infinite Archives, curated by Black Salt Collective, which champions black, brown, and indigenous visions. It’s another Cheap Thrill, as admission to SOMArts is always free. (We also suggest reading Sarah Hotchkiss’s review of ‘Visions Into Archives’ here.

Cy and David’s Picks: Cuban Songs, a Persian epic, and Dreamstates 15 January,2016Cy Musiker


Cy Musiker

Cy Musiker co-hosts The Do List and covers the arts for KQED News and The California Report.  He loves live performance, especially great theater, jazz, roots music, anything by Mahler. Cy has an MJ from UC Berkeley’s School of Journalism, and got his BA from Hampshire College. His work has been recognized by the Society for Professional Journalists with their Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service in Journalism. When he can, Cy likes to swim in Tomales Bay, run with his dog in the East Bay Hills, and hike the Sierra.

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