Acts You Shouldn't Miss at iFest's Second Weekend
The Texas Brass Band combines trumpet flourishes and tuba-led bass lines with jazz, R&B, and hip-hop influences to create a unique, distinctively Southern sound. Last year, the ten-man band could barely fit onstage together, but its members still found a way to groove to the music onstage, swaying back and forth in perfect, funky rhythm. The energy TBB exhibits during live performances, on which the band prides itself, is infectious and, no matter how long their set lasts, fans will inevitably clamor for more. MATTHEW KEEVER
Houston Press Rocks Off Texas Music Stage, 2:30 p.m. April 27
San Antonio barrio-funk masters Bombasta are best-known for a sound that cobbles together a fantastic array of cultural influences, from a full horn section and conga drums to DJ turntables and accordion. Pulling from an array of cumbia, salsa, reggae, and hip-hop, the band is a melting pot of border sound that transcends cultural identification. To go with the steady beats, Bombasta embellishes their sound with lively energy and Spanglish vocals courtesy of the guitar- and accordion-wielding front man Roberto Livar. ANGELICA LEICHT
In a career spanning more than four decades Zimbabwe's Oliver Mtukudzi has established himself as one of Africa's longest-running and most popular superstars. His music, preserved on more than five dozen albums and heard live by literally millions of fans worldwide, is one of the quintessential sounds of African culture.
Backed by his roots-oriented Black Spirits band, Mtukudzi's personalized blend of African pop styles and message music creates an anthemic sound that doubles as a forceful call-to-action and as an eminently danceable expression of joy. Hearing it live is an experience no worldbeat fan should miss. MICHAEL POINT
Jovino Santos-Neto & Kellye Gray
Houston Press Rocks Off Texas Music Stage, 6:30 p.m. April 27
iFest's first weekend saw a lot of rambunctious rhythms, and there will be more as it winds up this weekend. But there are also some quiet delights to be found amidst the sonic onslaught. One of the most intriguing is expatriate Brazilian jazzman Jovino Santos-Neto, a pianist/flutist who has worked with the country's legendary figures, such as Airto and Flora Purim.
He'll play a duo set Sunday on the small Cultural Stage, but the show to catch is his group set featuring special-guest vocalist Kellye Gray, a former Houstonian who was queen of the local jazz scene before departing for international renown in 1992. MICHAEL POINT