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Twelve Best World-Music Concerts This Summer

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Making Movies
Brian Slater
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Colorado may be landlocked, but luckily, its music scene knows no borders.

Many artists born abroad have made Colorado home and brought their world-music heritage with them. Between international artists flocking to the metro area – particularly for concerts at the soon-to-open Levitt Pavilion for its Latin music series – and people who have migrated to the United States and made their home in the Mile High City, this state boasts an array of music from around the world, from salsa and reggae to ska, cumbia and samba.

Looking for the best world-music events of the summer? Here's our guide.

Roka Hueka
Friday, July 7, 9 p.m.
1215 20th Street

The Latin-ska locals in Roka Hueka are celebrating a video-release party this Friday. Members from Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico and the United States formed this ska act, which presents energetic live shows from varied jazz, punk, ska and reggae backgrounds. Tickets start at $15.

Debajo del Agua
Saturday, July 8, 9 p.m.
1215 20th Street

Local band Debajo del Agua plays a politically charged, fiery fusion of hip-hop, rock and music styles from all over the Americas, including samba, cumbia, salsa and reggae. The group will take to the stage with Bang Data, 2MX2 with Lolita, and Yucasoul. Tickets start at $20.

Making Movies
Sunday, July 30, 4 p.m.
Levitt Pavilion
1380 West Florida Avenue

Kansas City-based Making Movies comprises two brothers from Panama and two brothers from Mexico. Their newest album, I Am Another You, is currently on the Billboard and Latin Billboard charts, no doubt a result of how these musicians combine Afro-Latin rhythms with rock and psychedelia. The band is playing as part of the free Latin concert series at Levitt Pavilion Denver with Jyemo Club.

Colorado Brazil Fest
Saturday, August 5, 7:30 p.m.
Fox Theatre
1135 13th Street, Boulder

Colorado Brazil Fest will return to various venues in Denver and Boulder starting August 3. The Fox Theatre will host a group samba dance lesson at 7:30 p.m. on August 5; local artists Ginga, Ronaldo Andrade and Dandha da Hora play at 8 p.m. Find more information on Colorado Brazil Fest here.

Sanitas Taco Fest
Saturday, August 5, 2 p.m.
Sanitas Brewing Co.
3550 Frontier Avenue, Boulder

This festival showcases tacos, beers, Lucha Libre wrestling and live music. Internationally known Boulder Afro-fusion group Paa Kow will perform. Another local favorite, Selasee & the Fafa Family, will play a high-energy mix of reggae and West African music. The event runs until 8 p.m.

Rocky Dawuni
Sunday, August 6, 4 p.m.
Levitt Pavilion
1380 West Florida Avenue

Rocky Dawuni was born in Ghana and has traveled the world with his West African-inspired reggae music since his breakout in 1996. The Grammy nominee has also dedicated his time to humanitarian efforts and continues to write music with a message. Local act the Bunny Gang will open. The show is free; RSVP here.

Read on for more of Denver's best world-music concerts this summer.

Gaby Moreno with Vanessa Zamora
Thursday, August 24, 6:30 p.m.
Levitt Pavilion
1380 West Florida Avenue

Gaby Moreno’s music encompasses a variety of styles. She was born in Guatemala and later moved to Los Angeles, quickly achieving international success with Latin Grammy wins and nominations and an Emmy nomination for co-writing the theme song for Parks and Recreation. Her soulful vocals enhance her jazz, pop and R&B music, and she sings in both Spanish and English. Tickets are free; RSVP here.

Mariachi Sol de Mi Tierra
Friday, August 25, 6:30 p.m.
Levitt Pavilion
1380 West Florida Avenue

Mariachi Sol de Mi Tierra has provided Denver with lively mariachi shows since 1999. The group comprises eight members who have played Denver’s Cinco de Mayo Celebration, the National Western Stock Show and many local festivals. Mariachi Soul will play with Fiesta Dance Company Colorado. The show is free; RSVP here.

Thursday, August 31, 6:30 p.m.
Levitt Pavilion
1380 West Florida Avenue

Inspector is a Mexican rock band from Nuevo León and was essential to the the country's ’90s music scene, because the act brought well-deserved national attention to rock bands outside Mexico City. The new style took inspiration from ska, rockabilly, reggae and local music, and the group has been touring internationally ever since. Inspector is playing with special guests at this free performance; RSVP here.

Gipsy Kings
Tuesday, August 29, 7:30 p.m.
Chautauqua Auditorium
900 Baseline Road, Boulder

The Gipsy Kings have been touring the world for more than three decades. The act returns to Colorado for a night of flamenco under the stars. This performance will include Nicolas Reyes and Tonino Baliardo; tickets start at $58.

Cumbia Festival
Sunday, September 3, 3 p.m.
Levitt Pavilion
1380 West Florida Avenue

Levitt Pavilion is hosting a Cumbia Festival on Labor Day weekend with artists La Tropa Vallenate from Mexico and Denver locals Tropical Kaoba, Los Chavos Dun Dun and special guests. Cumbia originates from Colombia, but the enticing dance rhythms have made cumbia and its subgenres ubiquitous throughout the Americas. The show is free; RSVP here.

Seu Jorge Presents: The Life Aquatic, a Tribute to David Bowie
Saturday, September 9, 9 p.m.
Ogden Theatre
935 East Colfax Avenue

Internationally renowned Seu Jorge started playing music as a youth on the streets of Rio de Janeiro and found fame in Brazil, mixing rock, funk and samba. His career blew up when he composed music for Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. Jorge will pay tribute to David Bowie, with Portuguese covers of the late star's songs from the Wes Anderson film. Tickets start at $50.75.

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