Stars Come Out To Shine
At Westbury Music Fair
Gipsy Kings performs on September 5:
Over the years the Gipsy Kings – who hail from the gypsy settlements in Arles and Montpelier in the south of France – have included singers and guitarists from the Reyes (Canut, Nicolas, Pablo and Patchai) and Baliardo families (Diego, Paco and Tonino). Lead singer Nicolas Reyes is the son of famed Flamenco singer José Reyes, who with his cousin, guitarist Manitas de Plata, sold millions of records in the 60’s and 70’s. The band’s vigorous guitar work and passionate vocals are the trademark of an indigenous musical tradition known as rumba flamenca. The rumba – which originated in Africa – traveled from Zaire via the slave trade to Cuba and the New World, then back to Barcelona, where it was adopted by the Gypsies. The Gipsy Kings particular style reveals the influence of Paco de Lucia’s nuevo flamenco, as well as singers Cameron de la Isla and Manolo Caracol.
There are no other examples of a non-English speaking band (the group’s language is the Gypsy dialect of gitane) with such a consistent winning streak in the US, where the group is the biggest-selling French act ever. Since the 1987 release of the international hit single "Bamboleo," from their platinum-selling eponymous debut album, the Gipsy Kings have dominated the World Music charts, and sold more than 14 million albums worldwide – more than 4 million in the United States alone. The platinum compilation The Best of the Gipsy Kings charted for more than a year. Their music has also been used in numerous motion pictures, including Peter Weir’s "Fearless" and Joel and Ethan Coen’s "The Big Lebowski".
Mandy Pantinkin performs on September 6:
Prodigiously talented and versatile stage performer whose movie appearances haven’t been quite as impressive as his Broadway vehicles. The Juilliard-trained Patinkin electrified audiences as Che Guevara in the Broadway musical "Evita," for which he won a Tony Award, and made his film debut in The Big Fix (1978). He’s had a few juicy parts, among them ones in Ragtime (1981), as the silhouette artist who becomes a pioneering moviemaker, Yentl (1983), as Barbra Streisand’s lusty friend, a rabbinical student, The Princess Bride (1987), as a swashbuckling hero of the old school, Alien Nation (1988), unrecognizable under elaborate makeup as a sympathetic alien cop partnered with James Caan, The House on Carroll Street (1988), as a venal Sen. Joseph Mc Carthy type, and The Music of Chance (1993), as the existential hero of this low-key parable, a man who throws in his lot with smarmy James Spader. Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy (1990) is the only film to date to take advantage of Patinkin’s musical talent, allowing him to sing some of Stephen Sondheim’s songs as Madonna’s accompanist, 88 Keys. Patinkin has carved a concert career for himself, with a one-man show, "Dress Casual," and remains a headliner on stage.
Dennis Miller performs on September 7:
Point Park College graduate Dennis Miller rose to national fame in 1985 as the new "Weekend Update" commentator on TV’s Saturday Night Live. Miller’s equal-opportunity bashing of political and showbiz celebrities earned him a reputation as a satirist of the first water; his catchphrase "I’m outta here!" reverberated throughout the land for the next six seasons. The puckish comedian went on to turn out such comedy records as The Off-White Album and to host a batch of irreverent cable-TV specials. In 1994, he co-produced and starred in a nightly chat-fest appropriately titled Dennis Miller Live. Reportedly, certain intrigues involving the booking of guests caused a temporary rift between Miller and his longtime friend—and late-night rival-Jay Leno. Though Dennis Miller Live was unsuccessful, Miller has yet to wear out his welcome on cable TV, where his R-rated, libelous political commentary provides hilarious contrast to the PC japeries of network comics. In films, Dennis Miller has been seen in the Sandra Bullock thriller The Net (1995), and served as star and producer of the "Tales From the Crypt" extravaganza Bordello of Blood (1996).
Jonny Lang performs on September 24:
Jonny Lang’s talent belies superlatives. His extraordinary singing and guitar playing stamped him as a once-in-a-generation blues talent. His 1997 debut, LIE TO ME, jumped to the top of the new artist album charts, and critics marveled at the poise and maturity the 16-year-old artist displayed. Lang has been on the road since LIE TO ME’s release, touring with Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, B.B. King, and Blues Traveler, as well as headlining around the World.
Within months, Lang was one of the hottest regional acts. His independent release SMOKIN’ sold over 25,000 copies grabbing the attention of major labels, including A&M. LIE TO ME was released on January 28, 1997, debuting at #1 on Billboard’s New Artist chart. The acclaim rolled in, from rave reviews to a listing in Newsweek’s Century Club of the 100 Americans expected to be influential in the next millennium. He swept the category for Best New Guitarist in Guitar magazine’s reader’s poll and made a cameo in the film Blues Brothers 2000 performing "6345789" with Wilson Pickett and Eddie Floyd. In 1997, he also appeared at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in New York with Jeff Beck and filmed an hour-long Disney Channel In Concert special.