Concert of Colors Metro Detroit’s Diversity Festival

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Concert of Colors is a three-day celebration of music from around the world. The festival happens at Chene Park (located one mile east of the Renaissance Center, at Atwater and Chene) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 16 through 18. Call 313-842-7010 for info or go to

Here are select highlights from the many acts performing over the three day weekend:


Soul Clique w/Umar bin Hassan

Members of this Detroit combo have toured or studio-ed with artists from Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the George Clinton P-Funk All-Stars. On their own, they can come off as a direct-as-a-jackhammer variation on the P-Funk vibe, with samples and loops courtesy of DJ Blackman, bringing in an ambient counterbalance. Their live performances have been sparse of late, and for this one they team up with Umar bin Hassan, a member of the Last Poets, black-power versifiers of the late ’60s who were rap before rap. Diversity Stage, Saturday, 5-6:15 p.m.


Mercan Dede

Turkish-born, Montreal-based Mercan Dede has one foot in the world of contemporary trance music, with its turntable and electronics, and the other foot in the world of traditional Turkish trance music, with indigenous instruments, Sufi religious underpinnings and the original whirling dervishes, dancers whose seemingly tireless spinning is a route to higher consciousness. “A multi-layered, future-is-now, fiercely funky and distinctly jazz-flavored affair,” according to a rave review of one Montreal show. Main Stage, Sunday, 5:30-6:30 p.m.


Bembeya Jazz

In the 1960s, this Republic of Guinea band was at the forefront of the wave of post-colonial pop that flourished across Africa, freely mixing the traditional and the Western with a jubilant energy. Like Orchestra Baobab — which had a parallel story in Senegal — Bembeya Jazz is enjoying a new life and a first hearing among American audiences. This is a big band that plays “jazz” in a loose sense, more as an inspiration than a model. And guitar players and lovers are advised that the intoxicating interplay of the group’s three guitarists alone should be worth the effort to hear the group. Main Stage, Friday, 7:30-8:30 p.m.


Gino Washington

This slender-hipped vendor of Detroit rock ’n’ roll, R&B and soul is not one to flounder as some historical footnote in the annals of Detroit music history. Screw that. Jumpin’ Gino, as he’s been affectionately known, has flown over and, mostly, under the radar for decades. Back in the day, his onstage persona and vocal prowess were accurately likened to James Brown, Wilson Pickett and Little Richard (that’s right, all three), and he was known to have kicked down racial doors locally by gigging at white teen dances. His career had a vertical slant (peaking with a pair of area hits in the early ’60s) that took a downturn due to an unfortunate draft card number and a subsequent army stint. When the smooth-skinned lady-killer returned, he found another Washington (Geno) — a Brit, no less — had stolen his chart-potential thunder. No matter, ’cause the real Gino continued to release stellar sides on local labels into the ’70s and ’80s, and a pair of fairly recent Norton reissues brought renewed interest in the velvet-throated frontman. Expect Washington to seize the crowd and keep them where they belong, in the tight, sweaty confines of his palm. Diversity Stage, Saturday, 9:30-10:30 P.M.

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