Best Concert Series Miami 2008 - Rhythm Foundation's annual season
The nonprofit Rhythm Foundation is celebrating its 20th year of spreading global musical cheer in South Florida, and each season seems to get better than the last. That's a tough feat, given the group's track record. Founded with the intent of showcasing the best in "world music," the outfit has managed to shake that term's sometimes boring and crunchy connotations via a program of the planet's most exciting music, regardless of scene or language. For the 2007-2008 season, Rhythm Foundation has helped push pop forward and reinvent some of the oldest forms of folk. That's meant hosting, say, the Argentine-Swedish singer-songwriter José González at the lovely Manuel Artime Theater in Little Havana, which provoked an enraptured audience into possibly the lowest noise levels ever recorded for a Miami audience. It's also meant hosting Brazilian baile funk tricksters Bonde do Rolê at the soon-to-be-defunct downtown club Studio A, or Spanish disco-popsters the Pinker Tones at the North Beach Bandshell. Other times, it's meant even legendary Bollywood playback singer Asha Bhosle and tabla master Zakir Hussain. The common thread? New explorations into sounds and textures, and some of the smartest, coolest crowds you could hope to amass in this town. The folks behind Rhythm Foundation prove time and again it's a small world after all, but there's room for all of us to dance in it.