Concert will bring culture, spirit

by Laura Sim | 6/23/14 5:17pm

Seamless and organic, Ricardo Lemvo and his Los Angeles-based band Makina Loca blend together different music styles found across the world — transcending any single culture, time, place or creed. Lemvo and Makina Loca will come to campus for the first time to play a free concert on the Green at 5 p.m. Thursday. The band features rhythms inspired by Africa and Cuba with a pan-African sound.

Lemvo, who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo but has a rich Angolan ancestry, sings in languages including English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Lingala and Kikongo. Lemvo said that his passion for including multicultural messages in his music stems from his childhood and surroundings. He said he grew up learning French, the official language, but heard indigenous languages around him and learned to speak several of them.

Despite differences between groups and cultures, he said, music was always a common thread.

“I believe music is a universal language,” Lemvo said. “It brings people together, people who are different. So one of my goals when I write my music is that I do not target a particular audience. I play music for everyone.”

For Jacob Edgar, founder of the group’s record label, his work with Ricardo Lemvo and Makina Loca is rooted in a similar desire to generate art that appeals to people of all cultures.

Anyone can enjoy this music, regardless of language barriers, he said.

Due to the nature of Lemvo’s culturally rich music, attendees will engage in a kind of music appreciation that differs from the norm, Hopkins Center publicity coordinator Rebecca Bailey said.

“This music is really aimed at hitting you physically, hitting your body, making you feel great, making you feel like dancing and making you feel like being friendly to other people in the surrounding area,” she said.

Edgar said he views music as an art form that can be appreciated by all communities. Simultaneously, he said, music can powerfully express cultural ideas and values.

Music is a source of stories, unity and traditions, Edgar said.

Attendees of the kickoff event can expect a summer festival feel, much like those of larger musical festivals such as Coachella, Bonnaroo and Governor’s Ball, Bailey said.

“We’re trying to bring the idea of the music festival to Hanover and trying to capture the flavor of them,” she said. “So we’re looking for acts that not only have a lot of texture culturally, but also just really set the audience on fire.”

The concert will be preceded by a pre-show talk between Lemvo and Edgar about the styles of music Lemvo and the band use at 4 p.m. in Wilson 219.

Last summer’s first concert featured the Boston-based Ethiopian-American group Debo Band, originally scheduled to be held outside.

Poor weather, however, moved the performance into Spaulding Auditorium. The joyous nature of Lemvo’s music is particularly fitting for an outdoor concert, he said, and Lemvo said he hopes many members of the Dartmouth community will come out for the event.

“Hopefully everyone will come and have fun,” Lemvo said. “Our music is fun. It’s infectious and it makes everyone dance.”

Ricardo Lemvo and Makina Loca released their latest album, “La Rumba SoYo,” in the U.S. Tuesday. ​