Saturday nights in University City are going to be more lively this summer with the sounds of eclectic local and international bands.
The University City District’s 40th Street Summer Series of four concerts kicks off June 23 with the group Slavic Soul Party. The Brooklyn-based band plays an acoustic mash-up of Balkan and Gypsy sounds, weaving the gospel, techno, funk, dub, jazz and Latin influences of New York’s neighborhoods.
“This year, the theme is large energetic ensembles who represent a diversity of backgrounds and histories,” said Mark Christman of UCD.
Sponsored by the UCD, the University of Pennsylvania and the Rotunda, the free concerts draw as many as 500 people to the 40th Street Field on Walnut Street, behind the Free Library.
“There’s that green space that’s the largest area, but then there’s adjacent space,” Christman said. “Even the plateau art sculpture is a place for people to congregate.”
Concertgoers at all the performances will receive complimentary water ices to keep cool while enjoying and dancing to the music.
Also, attendees can take home a free photo keepsake.
The antique mobile portrait studio Tsirkus Fotografika (Photographic Circus) will be at the concerts with its antique mobile portrait studio to take photos of concertgoers. Tsirkus takes visitors back in time, when itinerant photographers, using analog film, old-fashioned lighting and large-format equipment, would travel from town to town, making instant portraits.
On July 28, Philadelphia’s Sun Ra Arkestra returns for a rare hometown performance. The group features a style of Afro-futurism, forging intersecting musical pathways that explore outer space and Egyptian mythology.
On Aug. 25, Philadelphia composer and percussionist Christopher Sean Powell brings his new dance band Adventuredrum to the stage. Some top local musicians, including the West Philly Orchestra, Fugazi’s Joe Lally and Pattern Is Movement will be performing rhythms constructed from sampled sound, exotic percussion, synthesizers and drum kits.
On Sept. 22, the concert is a birthday celebration in honor of the late jazz saxophonist and composer John Coltrane. Bobby Zankel’s Warriors of the Wonderful Sound will perform Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme.” Zankel will be joined by saxophonists Odean Pope and Dave Liebman.
All of the concerts begin at 6 p.m.