What is a better way to unite Metro Detroit’s variety of populations than through music? This year’s 23rd Annual Concert of Colors embraces that tradition with performances by hometown favorites and tributes to musical traditions and greats that represent the City.
Curated by Ismael Ahmed, the festival founder, Concert of Colors unites not only diverse musical and artistic genres, but brings together several of the City’s cultural institutions, including the Arab American National Museum (the festival producer), the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Max M. Fisher Music Center, and New Center Park for indoor and outdoor festivities circling Woodward Avenue.
One such community-based performance will be the procession by Tilted Axes from 5 to 8 p.m. on Saturday and 3 to 5 p.m. on Sunday at the Wolverine Outdoor Stage behind Orchestra Hall. Composer, producer, and native Detroiter Patrick Grant gathers a group of electric guitarists, and encourages their mobility as they “play from place to place.” While Grant and Tilted Axes are based in New York City, he unites local musicians, including Skeeto Valdez and Howard Glazer, for this performance, describing it as “the only project with a big enough umbrella to unify those different sounds.”
Of Tilted Axes, Grant says that their “genre is ‘post-progressive,’” which “means we handle not only rock, jazz, classical, but minimalism, ambient, and play with the urban landscape. A lot of different styles are represented, even though the electric guitar is our medium.”
They will not be confined to the stage, and instead “we just go to where there are lots of people,” even mentioning that they could end up playing in Cass Cafe and other Midtown locations.
But after following Tilted Axes around town, make sure to head back to the Meijer Main Stage at Orchestra Hall on Saturday night for an All-Star Tribute to Marcus Belgrave, the internationally-renowned jazz trumpeter who passed away in May. Bassist Marion Hayden is curating the full lineup of tribute artists, who will remember Belgrave’s pioneering contributions to jazz.
Additionally, on Sunday night is the 8th Don Was Detroit All-Star Revue, featuring techno pioneer Juan Atkins, Amp Fiddler, the Detroit Symphony Youth Orchestra String Quartet, Laith Al-Saadi, Walk Thru Walls (Grant’s band from the ‘80s), and more for a trip back in time.
As Grant reminisces, “it’s taken me 30 years to become a rockstar in my hometown.”
The Concert of Colors encourages and unites these disparate musicians into one harmonious weekend.
The full schedule for the Concert of Colors can be seen here.