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Highlights- Africa in the Ozarks, Drop the Hammer, Ted Ludwig, Woody Guthrie Festival

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Jazz guitarist Ted Ludwig
Ted Ludwig will perform at the North Arkansas Jazz Society summer concert series at 8 p.m. Friday at the University of Arkansas Fine Arts Concert Hall. Ludwig, a jazz guitarist, moved to Little Rock from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Joining Ludwig for the Friday night performance will be the house rhythm section of Claudia Burson, piano; Jim Greeson, bass; and Darren Novotny, drums.

Ludwig was born in New Orleans and started playing guitar in 1989. His earliest influences were rock musicians like Jimmy Page, Jimmy Hendrix and Eric Clapton. While a student at the University of New Orleans, Ludwig studied with jazz notables Ellis Marsalis, Harold Batiste and Steve Masakowski. He began performing professionally in 1997, as a sideman and also fronting his own quartet. He was involved in a duo guitar project with Hank Mackie and released a recording with Mackie entitled “Sketches.”

Tickets are $12 and available at www.digjazz.com, at the door or by calling 521-1255. to each concert.

Africa in the Ozarks
“Tradition of the Masks,” the third annual “Africa in the Ozarks” celebration, will take place in Eureka Springs today, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Kouakou Yao (aka Yao Angelo) founded the event to “show the people of my new country the energy and beauty of the culture of my homeland.” Angelo emigrated to the U.S. from the Ivory Coast ten years ago. Each year he brings talented countrymen from his homeland to the Ozarks for the event.

This year’s festival will include a mask-making workshop, drum workshops, dance workshops, an African dinner and performances by Angelo’s band, “Ozakwaba.” Events will be held at the City Auditorium, The Gem at City Auditorium and at Basin Park.

The festival kicks off today with a mask-making workshop at 10 a.m. in Basin Park in downtown Eureka and there will be an African dinner at 6:30 p.m. today at The Gem. Master teachers from the Ivory Coast and the U.S. will lead the mask-making workshop and will also lead drum workshops at 2:30 p.m. today, at 10 a.m. Friday and Saturday and at 11 a.m. Sunday. The teachers will lead dance workshops at 3:45 p.m. today, at 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 11:15 a.m. Saturday and at 11 a.m. Sunday.  All of these adult classes will be held at The Gem.

Children will be given an opportunity to learn African dance at a free workshop at 2 p.m. Friday and Saturday in Basin Park.  These classes will follow a free dance demonstration in the park open to all ages.

Drummers Gore E. Bilibi, Senie Sylla, Angelo and others will join members of the Afrique Aya Dancers for two high-energy shows at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday in The Auditorium. Angelo’s Afro-pop band, Ozakwaba, will do shows at The Gem following The Auditorium shows.

For information: www.eurekasprings.org or 866-947-4387.
Drop the Hammer

Canadian metal band Threat Signal will perform Saturday at the Dart Room in Fayetteville as part of their first-ever headlining U.S. tour.  The ‘Drop the Hammer’ tour is sponsored by Metal Maniacs magazine and also includes American metal bands Bloodjinn and Year of Desolation.

Threat Signal hails from Hamilton, Ontario. The band has been creating their own brand of metal there since 2003 when brothers Jon and Rich Howard got together with axeman, Kyle McKnight.

Threat Signal was approached by several labels and eventually signed with Nuclear Blast Records (Meshuggah, Anthrax, In Flames). They began recording their debut album in September 2005, which was produced by Fear Factory guitarist Christian Olde Wolbers. The album combines the complexity of old and European thrash music with de-tuned, technical syncopation, melodic singing and musical passages.

Joining Threat Signal for the Dart Room show will be North Carolina metalcore band Bloodjinn, the band that has been labeled by many as the new metal act to watch in 2007 and Indiana quintet Year of Desolation, which flawless melds brutality and melody.

Local bands Rise to Ruin, Razor Fate and Omega Red will also be showcasing their latest. Omega Red will open the show, followed by Fort Smith’s Razor Fate. Rise to Ruin, will be use the show to release their new EP, Iron Youth.

Doors open at 5 p.m. Show starts at 8. Tickets are $7 in advance at www.thedartroom.com/tickets or at Spencer’s in the Northwest Arkansas Mall or $10 at the door.

Woody Guthrie Folk Festival
The 10th annual Woody Guthrie Folk Festival will open Wednesday and run through July 15 in Guthrie’s hometown of Okemah, Okla. The event brings together artists and fans of the late Woody Guthrie who authored songs like “This Land Is Land,” “Oklahoma Hills,” and thousands of others. Performing will be: Arlo Guthrie, David and Adam Amran, Tim O’Brien, Kevin Welch, Jimmy LaFave, Joel Rafael, Ellis Paul, Terri Hendrix, Lloyd Maines, Rob McNurlin, Don Conoscenti, John Smith, Sam Baker, Sara Hickman, Steppin’ in It, the Red Dirt Rangers, The Burns Sisters, Ronny Cox and many others including NWA’s own Emily Kaitz, Susan Shore, Effron White and Jack Williams. Musicians can sign up to play open-mic events on July 13 and July 14 at Lou’s Rocky Road Tavern, one of several performance venues. Most of the concerts are free.  For a schedule go to: www.woodyguthrie.com.

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