Rock News: Music's high and low notes

By JOHN SWENSON, United Press International   |   Dec. 20, 2002 at 3:00 AM
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Grammy-award winning artist Shakira and her foundation Pies Descalzos (Bare Feet) and The Reebok Human Rights Program announced they will partner in a year-long project to distribute l0,000 pairs of Reebok shoes to Colombia's neediest children, beginning this week in Shakira's hometown of Barranquilla. The distribution program starts at Escuela San Vicente de Paul, one of the neediest schools in Barranquilla.

The balance of the shoes will be distributed early next year. In conflict-torn Colombia, 7.5 million children live in dire poverty. Many suffer from untreated diseases and others have been left orphaned by the hostilities. The plight of these children motivated Shakira to create Pies Descalzos several years ago. It supports hospitals, educational opportunities and community programs that provide a range of outreach, support and other necessary services to benefit children.


The original Tipitina's, New Orleans' historic music venue, will celebrate its silver anniversary with the 25th Anniversary Series, Jan. 15-25, 2003, featuring a spectacular array of musical talent. Tipitina's is internationally recognized as a music shrine, a must-see destination by music devotees, and a catalyst for the New Orleans music tradition. The club's 1977 genesis gave rise to a fertile period in New Orleans music history by providing a venue for established artists to perform, such as Professor Longhair, the Meters, Allen Toussaint and James Booker. The club also served as a starting point for seminal groups like the Neville Brothers, Cowboy Mouth, and Better than Ezra.

Tip's will host an ambitious 10-day series of special performances. The Founder's Ball, to be held Jan. 17, will honor the 14 individuals who created the club. The event's all-star group will feature Dr. John and a legendary New Orleans rhythm section -- Cyril Neville (Neville Brothers), Ivan Neville (Neville Brothers, Keith Richards), George Porter Jr. (Meters, Gov't Mule), and Stanton Moore (Galactic). The series will culminate with a pair of shows to celebrate the Radiators 25th Anniversary on Jan. 24 and 25.

The 25th Anniversary Series will pay homage to the club's history and serve as a grand musical thank you to all the musicians, staff, and patrons that have made Tipitina's the soul of New Orleans music.


Epic Records/Sony Music Soundtrax has scheduled a Jan. 14, 2003, date for the release of the soundtrack for the big screen version of the Broadway hit "Chicago." Directed by Rob Marshall ("Annie") and adapted for the screen by Bill Condon ("Gods And Monsters"), "Chicago" is the tale of two female stars, one fading, the other about to be born, jostling for the limelight via the city's famed Murderers Row.

Another major character in "Chicago" is the music itself. Written by John Kander and Fred Ebb ("Cabaret"), each song is performed by the films' principle actors, including divas Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renee Zellweger, Richard Gere, the lawyer defending both women on murder charges, and Queen Latifah, the prison matron "Mama." The soundtrack features "I Move On", a new song written for the film and performed by Zeta-Jones and Zellweger that will serve as the movie's end title theme and will be offered to the Academy for Oscar consideration.

Also included on the disc are songs inspired by the film: Anastacia's "Love Is A Crime" and "Cell Block Tango (He Had It Comin')," a hip-hop performance by Queen Latifah featuring Lil' Kim and Macy Gray.


Friends of master percussionist Alberto "Tito" Cepeda have gathered to collect funds for his medical expenses. Cepeda specializes in Afro-Puerto Rican and Afro-Cuban music. Puerto Rican born, New York-raised Cepeda has been a member of the renowned Pleneros de la 21 for nearly 20 years. He has played on recordings by, among others, Lexington Avenue Express, Pepe Castillo, Papo Vazquez and the Pleneros de la 21. He is both a relative of the Familia Cepeda and member of "La Fundacion de Don Rafael Cepeda" in Puerto Rico.

Tito has performed with Eddie Palmieri, Tito Puente, Victor Montanez, La Familia Cepeda, Grupo Afro Cuba de Matanzas, Orlando Rios "Puntilla", Carlos "Patato" Valdez y Totico, Los Papines, Pete "El Conde" Rodriguez, Grupo Folclorico Nacional, Conjunto Libre, Sweet Honey in the Rock, and others. He has served as mentor and teacher to numerous local youths through his participation in the Pleneros de la 21 Children's Bomba and Plena Workshops and has for many years taken part in El Museo del Barrio's Three Kings Parade.

Cepeda is suffering from renal failure and other complications from diabetes that have severely affected the blood circulation, specifically to his hands, resulting in amputation of two fingers. His health insurance does not cover his medical expenses so his family and friends have set up a fund for him. For more information contact Miriam Felix at (917) 453-8282 or Raquel Z. Rivera at (212) 876-4190.


The hot young rock band 4 Way Street electrified a crowd at New York's Bitter End this week with a terrific set featuring material from their upcoming self-titled debut (Jan. 28, 2003, Sliced Bread Records/City Hall). Combining close four-part vocal harmonies with a songwriting aesthetic both timeless and unmistakably modern, Philadelphia's 4 Way Street joins an uncanny pop sensibility with deep roots in folk and rock music to create a sound all its own. Each member contributes equally to the band's distinctive sound, sharing lead vocal and songwriting talents equally across a wide range of new material. For an encore the band played an incredible version of the Darlene Love classic "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)" from "Phil Spector's Christmas Album."

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