Free Dance Party: Black Mahal

Great Park. Great big orange balloon. Great outdoor music series: this week, self-described turban groove (get it?) outfit, Black Mahal. It’s a multi-ethnic international music and dance ensemble as immediately compelling as it is unlikely, and playing for free at Irvine’s newest hipster performance venue. Part Parliament Funkadelic, part Punjabi folk, this nine-member San Francisco-based band is fronted by the universally acknowledged godfather of Punjabi-American music (who knew?) the one and only Ustad Lal Singh Bhatti. On ecstatic vocals and the traditional dhol barrel drum, the legendary gray-bearded, red-hatted world music veteran twirls and raps in front of his young musical disciples on horns, hip-hop MC and percussion. You probably have no idea what they’re actually singing about but suspect we’re all in favor of it—it's hard to argue with your feet.

Fri., Sept. 2, 8:15 p.m., 2011

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