“LA Opera has joined forces with Los Angeles’ cultural and educational institutions to stage the first significant citywide cultural festival since the 1984 Olympic Arts Festival. Ring Festival LA showcases a wide variety of exhibitions, symposia, museum shows, conferences, and special events. All of these events will be thematically related to the first-ever presentation in Los Angeles of the four-opera drama The Ring of the Nibelung.” (Ring Festival LA)
Mark Swed of the LA Times called it “one of the most glorious and moving instances of stagecraft I have ever witnessed.”
There is no doubt that this work is one of the most significant European artistic achievements of the 19th century and had a huge influence on classical, jazz and film composers in the twentieth century. As we stand at the edge of the second decade of the twenty-first century, the tenants of post-modernism are instilled through “tweets” and artists face the age-old dilemma of finding a renewed and relevant understanding in which to place previous masterpieces amid unprecedented social white noise and distraction. Beneath the canopy of the business of entertainment, there is a dedicated artistic community in Los Angeles intent on finding ways to tie what is hip to a traditional cultural foundation.
Composer, multi-instrumentalist and band leader Geoff “Double G” Gallegos is leading this effort with urgency, intelligence, creativity and a willful “fuck it, I’m doing this” attitude that has allowed him to stage hugely successful presentations of historical work to large and diverse audiences in the contemporary context of both his hip-hop orchestra, Dakah and his Concert 9Net. With the help of traditional arts organizations in the city, he has established himself as a true visionary in breaking down the categorizations and stereotypes of how and where music is presented and who it is presented to. From the formative days of Dakah (30 musicians) at the Temple Bar taking up the stage and half the dance floor, to packed shows in California Plaza (as part of Grand Performances) and Disney Hall, Double G has fashioned the instrumentation and repertoire of a hip-hop orchestra (now with 70 musicians & MC’s) into a phenomenon that finds unity and respect in many disparate musical landscapes.
His Concert 9Net was featured in the lobby of LACMA as part of the opening of the Ring Festival LA. On June 19th, Dakah will be performing again as part of the Grand Performances concert series, presenting a program of new work featuring themes from “Der Ring des Nibelungen” re-imagined – Gangster Wagner.