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Passion for Percussion

UA World Music Gang presents "World Percussion Night"
7:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 29
UA Crowder Hall, Speedway Boulevard and Park Avenue
621-2998

Director Michael Vercelli and friends unofficially formed a group in 2002 to express a passion for percussion. Two years later, the UA World Music Gang was added as a class in the School of Music. Now, in 2007, Vercelli hopes "World Percussion Night" is the first occurrence of what will become an annual event. The concert is at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 29--the day this newspaper officially hits the streets.

The event represents many different percussion sounds and offers an opportunity to hear three ensembles in one place.

Audience members will be able to enjoy the music of local Japanese percussion group Odaiko Sonora, as well as Batucaxé, an ensemble with a Brazilian twist. Of course, they'll also get to experience music from the event's host, the UA World Music Gang, whose performance will echo sounds the group heard during a summer trip to Ghana.

"We've done our own concerts, and people want more," Vercelli said. "This is a way to outreach and cross-pollinate audiences, (to) expose audiences to something new."

The UA World Music Gang is made up of undergraduate and graduate students with varying majors--from music education to biology to dance--but they all share a love of music.

"Our goal is to spread percussion diversity between our group and the community of Tucson," Vercelli said.

The event is free. Call 621-2998 for more information. --D.P.


Musical Holiday Vacation

Irish Christmas in America
2 and 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 1
Berger Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Speedway Blvd.
981-1475; inconcerttucson.com; irishchristmasinamerica.com

The ever-busy holidays are here, and you may feel like you need a vacation.

Luckily, booking agent Pat Garrett thought of this. While you may not be able to actually get away, you can take a musical trip to Ireland, because Garrett is bringing the national tour of Irish Christmas in America to Tucson, with two performances produced by Irish band Teada.

"This show is tied into a tradition in Ireland called Wren Boys," Garrett said. "These are kids of a village who would go out on Dec. 26 and play for pennies at different homes. It has a certain style of music from Ireland that became a tradition; the boys were known for using comical hats. There will be re-enactments of this at the shows," Garrett said.

Three members from the band Teada will perform. Oisín Mac Diarmada, who is producing the whole event, is the head fiddler. Tristan Rosenstock will be on the bodhrán (an Irish drum), and Sean McElwain will play guitar and bouzouki.

"It's brilliant--it's an earthy and real experience as opposed to a more glitzy Irish-dance show. The audience connects to the show and can be a part of the whole thing," Garrett said.

Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh will be singing and playing her flute. She's the lead singer for the renowned Irish group Danu.

Special guests include Gráinne Hambly, an internationally recognized performer of the Irish harp, and Tommy Martin, who will jam on the Irish uilleann pipes. Dancers Abbey Magill and Siena Hickey round out the ensemble with their champion step-dancing.

Tickets are $25 for adults and $23 for seniors. Kids age 8 to 16 can attend the 2 p.m. show for $8. Advance tickets can be purchased at Antigone Books at 411 N. Fourth Ave., and the Folk Shop at 2525 N. Campbell Ave. --J.W.


It's Rein-ing Dogs!

Second Annual Reindog Parade
9 a.m., registration; 11:15 a.m., parade, Saturday, Dec. 1
Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N. Alvernon Way
326-9686; tucsonbotanical.org

There may be only one thing cuter than little kids dolled up in their Christmas best: little dogs dolled up in their Christmas best. The Second Annual Reindog Parade is the perfect opportunity to prettify your pooch.

The Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSA) and the Tucson Botanical Gardens are teaming up for the Saturday, Dec. 1 event.

If you feel it's a little too early for a Christmas theme, feel free to dress yourself and your dog in anything fun and creative; it doesn't need to be holiday-related. Prizes will be awarded in numerous categories, including best overall canine costume, best Santa canine costume, best overall owner/dog ensemble, best leash decoration and best dog trick.

This is the one chance per year that you can enjoy the Tucson Botanical Gardens with your nonservice dog. Enjoy the parade, which kicks off at 11:15 a.m., and then appreciate the beauty of the gardens and mingle with other people and pups. Pictures with Santa will be available after the parade.

In advance, registration for dogs is $13. On Saturday, registration begins at 9 a.m., and costs $20 per dog for Botanical Gardens or HSSA members, and $27 per dog for nonmembers.

If you're hound-less, admission is $7 for adults and $3 for ages 4-12; kids younger than 3 get in free.

Visit the Gardens Web site to register and find more information, or call 326-9686. --D.P.


Itching to Scratch

Electro Friday Night DJ Battle
Doors open at 6 p.m., Friday, Nov. 30; DJs start at 8 p.m.
Hotel Congress, 311 E. Congress St.
622-8848; hotelcongress.com

If you're a fan of the good ol' turntable, you may want to hit Club Congress this Friday to hear some top disc jockeys battle it out.

KXCI FM 91.3 community radio is presenting the night of musical fights, made up of 30-minute DJ sets.

"DJing is composed of two basic elements: mixing and scratching," explained DJ Delphi, aka John Fidel Collins Arsenault. "Mixing is the art of changing from one backbeat to another. Scratching is the art of taking a sample of music and creating percussive sounds with it by doing things like repeating it over, playing it backward and slicing it up with cross-fades of the mixer."

DJ Delphi plays the drums and guitar, creates his own backbeats on piano and freestyles his own lyrics. He then takes each of his individual creations and mixes them together on his turntables.

"I imagine that part of this particular type of music's significance to human culture is that it can convey such strong feelings without necessarily using words. Purely through rhythm and tone, a clear sense of emotion can be conveyed," said Delphi.

The lineup for the evening: DJ Adam Higgins performs from 8 to 8:30; Chooch from 8:35 to 9:05; Rodrigo Cobral from 9:10 to 9:40; DJ Sonar from 9:45 to 10:15; DJ Ellis from 10:20 to 10:50; and DJ Soon from 10:55 to 11:25. After the contest is finished, an afterparty will take place. The event is open to all ages.

Admission is $5, and all proceeds go to KXCI, which is scheduled to air the event live. --J.W.

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