World music pioneer Jai Uttal is the featured performer for the WVXU (91.7 FM) Winter Solstice concert on Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Taft Theatre in downtown Cincinnati. Uttal and his band, the Pagan Love Orchestra, offer an eclectic East-meets-West sound, which encompasses everything from the music of the Appalachian Mountains to the passionate strains of Bengali street singers.
Uttal began studying classical music at the age of 7, and later learned to play old-time banjo, harmonica and guitar. His musical interests encompass a wide variety of styles and his music distills the essence of diverse musical forms. In February, Uttal released the album Mondo Rama, which combines Brazilian influences, Hebrew prayers, Appalachian Blues, Beatles psychedelia, Indian music and chants. His music is at the forefront of the world infusion movement.
Opening the evening for Uttal is the Cincinnati-based group Monk. Guitarist Ric Hordinski studied classical and jazz music styles and co-founded the regionally popular group Over The Rhine in 1988 when he moved to Cincinnati. While with that group, he toured with headliners that included Bob Dylan, Squeeze and Adrian Belew. In 1996, Hordinski left Over The Rhine and began his solo career with his Monk ensemble. Monk's music ranges from atmospheric and ambient to high-energy rock and roll. The group creates sounds that have evolved from varied musical influences spanning Europe, the Americas and the East.
John Diliberto, from the WVXU show "Echoes," hosts the evening. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. and the concert begins at 8:00 p.m. Orchestra seats are $25 in advance or $27.50 at the door; front balcony seats are $22.50 in advance or $25 at the door; and second balcony seats are $20 in advance or $22.50 at the door. Tickets are available at the Taft Theatre box office Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. or through Ticketmaster at 513-562-4949.