City’s free-in-the-park concert nears |

City’s free-in-the-park concert nears

Fatoumata Diawara performing at WOMAD 2011 at Charlton Park, near Malmesbury, Wiltshire July 30 2011
Photo © David Corio |

The first of the city’s free, outdoor, in-the-park concerts is coming up on June 15. The featured artist will be Fatoumata Diawara. She is from Mali and is a rising star on the African/World Music scene.

These concerts are a great chance to get together with family and friends for an evening of outstanding music under the stars. You can either bring your own picnic supper or sample a variety of culinary treats that will be available for purchase from the Slanted Porch.

The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. on the Centennial Stage in Oats Park in front of the Art Center. The Art Center’s galleries and art bar will also be open following the performance. For more information on the concert, you can call the Churchill Arts Council at 775-423-1440.

The are two great exhibitions on view in the Center’s galleries. Lee Saloutos presents large format color photographs of the interiors of Nevada mines and Nina Elder’s finely detailed paintings survey may familiar elements in the landscapes of the American West.

Fatoumata Diawara was born in Cote d’Ivoire, raised in Mali and currently resides in Paris. She was an acclaimed actress for several years before taking up guitar and starting to compose her own songs. Her music draws heavily on the Wassoulou traditions of her native Mali but also incorporates Jazz and Blues sounds into the mix.

She weaves her vocal melodies into soaring and intricate guitar and drum arrangements to create her own brand of contemporary folk, putting a decidedly African spin on what we think of as a singer-songwriter.

Her debut CD, “Fatou” was released last year on World Circuit/Nonesuch Records. It was named the number world music album of 2011 by the London Sunday Times.

She was a big hit at New York City’s annual GlobalFEST this past January. In addition to her performance in Fallon, her US tour will include a performance at the Bonaroo Music Festival as well as dates at Yoshi’s in San Francisco and the Napa Valley Opera House. Other shows will include Seattle, New Orleans, Austin, Albuquerque, Chicago and Minneapolis.

The Diawara concert promises to be an evening of great music, so get ahold of your family and friends and plan on making a night of it.

Kirk Robertson covers the Churchill Arts Council scene.