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Music from the Middle Ages and the Middle East

The UO isn’t the only place to hear exotic sounds this summer. Saturday, June 2, Cozmic hosts a concert of Middle Eastern music and dance starring a UO doctoral graduate, the dancer-choreographer Elena Villa (who creates a fusion of Spanish and Arabic dance forms including flamenco and belly dance), Eugene’s own excellent world music band Americanistan accompanying a quartet of belly dancers, plus the Boise-based ensemble District 19 Flamenco, featuring dancer Julianna Marie Thomas and guitarist Derren Davidavich, who specialize in the fiery Spanish musical form whose roots stretch back through the Roma (gypsy) diaspora from India.

What is it about June 2? That’s also the night the great Hawaiian singer and slack key guitarist Ledward Kaapana performs at The Shedd. For four decades, the Grammy-winning Big Island native has captivated listeners with his plaintive falsetto voice and mastery of the dreamy finger-style guitar music that evolved from the 19th century and earlier encounters between European sailors and Hawaiian natives. His important bands Hui Ohana and I Kona and his many solo projects (including collaborations with Alison Krauss, Chet Atkins and other pop musicians) have solidified Kaapana’s deserved reputation as one of the islands’ most intoxicating voices.