Musicians looking to make a statement in 2020 have one clear advantage: a history of musicians who came before them. That’s some of the idea behind the latest programs from UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance (CAP UCLA).
Dozens of artists are on the lineup for The Tune In Festival: a convergence of music and poetry in a time of change — the big offering of CAP UCLA’s fall season. The festival, Oct. 28–31, traces a history of music and politics, sometimes recent and sometimes personal.
CAP UCLA’s executive and artistic director, Kristy Edmunds, brings the Tune In concept from her past work at New York’s Park Avenue Armory. Back then, in 2008, an election year and an economic crisis were the backdrop for the series, and today, The Tune In Festival has lost none of its relevance.
Fittingly, Kronos Quartet opens and closes this year’s performances, recorded at UCLA’s Royce Hall and beyond and streaming for free. Kronos takes its new album, Long Time Passing, a tribute to the legacy and protest music of Pete Seeger, as a starting point. Some favorite collaborators — folk singer Lee Knight, Ethio-jazz star Meklit Hadero, and more — join the quartet for the Seeger celebration on Oct. 28. Violinist Vijay Gupta and performing artists from the Los Angeles Poverty Department partner with Kronos for the closing program, Oct. 31.
Along the way, many more musicians and poets add their voices to the lineup. Some of the highlights: jazz vocalist Magos Herrera (Oct. 29), storied a cappella group Sweet Honey in the Rock (Oct. 30), and L.A. choral ensemble Tonality (with Kronos on Oct. 28, and again on Oct. 30).