Headline: Global groove, baby! | SummitDaily.com

Headline: Global groove, baby!

Kimberly Nicoletti

BRECKENRIDGE – Want to travel but don’t have the time or money? Take a mini-vacation with the tastes and sounds of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Ireland at the Riverwalk Center.

The free Breckenridge Town Party, a favorite with locals, begins at 4 p.m. today.

“It’s grown to be a real anchor in our summer season,” town events coordinator Carol Craig said. “Our goal is to have a more international flair. We’re trying to reach out to our diverse population up here.”

This year, Hearthstone caters ethnic foods, replacing the traditional barbecue. Krystal 93 sponsors a kid zone, complete with pinata games, a French music cake walk where kids can win a cake in a game similar to musical chairs, a bucket toss, a rub-on tattoo parlor, Mountain Top Children’s Museum, a balloon artist and face painters.

“We wanted to make a great place for the kids to come so that adults and kids can have a great time,” Krystal 93 promotions director Amy Yundt said.

Manuel Molina sizzles

with salsa

Manuel Molina y su Combo Caliente heats up the stage at 4:30 p.m. with salsa, merengue and cumbia rhythms.

“He’s world-renowned as a band leader and guitar player,” said Mike O’Brien, who booked Molina. “He plays four or five different styles of Latin music, including jazz, salsa, rumba and merengue. It will add ethnic flair to Summit County and provide a peek at a different culture.”

Molina grew up in Peru and moved to Colorado 24 years ago. He has a flair for mixing sounds from Central and South America as well as the Caribbean to create a unique sound.

“As soon as I play guitar, I sound Latin,” Molina said. He explained his music has an accent, much like his speaking accent.

“I’m looking forward to seeing all these people dancing in Breckenridge,” he said. “They don’t need to know how to dance, they just need to move to the rhythm.”

Belly dancers and drummers fuse tribal styles

For those who prefer watching others shake and roll, the Mountain Gypsy Tribe Belly Dancers blend folkloric dances of the Middle East, North Africa and Spanish Flamenco.

“We are a group of women who dance together in a tribe in an improvisational format,” Mideastern dance instructor Lori Friedman said. “Live musicians create a lot of energy. We build upon the music and interaction of the other dancers. It’s a celebration of the female spirit.”

The dancers don’t look like the typical Vegas belly dancers at the Aladdin. Their rich costumes draw on influences from around the world, and striking designs around their eyebrows and third eye add spice to their ornate fabrics and jewels. “Zills,” percussive instruments worn on the dancers’ fingers, heighten the rhythmic energy created by “dumbeks,” guitars and “cumbas saz” (similar to a Turkish banjo).

Boubacar Diebate leads an African drumming circle with the “kora,” a 22-string instrument. He was born into a family of “Griots,” or oral and musical historians, from Senegal, west Africa, and now shares his tradition and culture in the United States. Local musicians who are immersed in the African musical and cultural scene in Boulder complement Diebate’s traditional beat with a modern groove.

“You’re gonna get some power,” said manager Robert Oyugi. “You’re gonna get the African experience. His music comes back from the ancestors.”

Rock Ness Monsters sighted in Breckenridge

Before the evening cools down, the Rock Ness Monsters weave traditional Celtic tunes with blues, rock and jazz. The Monsters unleash a raw, frenetic energy with tight drum licks, masterful bagpipe and keyboard lines and hip bass and guitar riffs lurking around every bend.

“We’re sort of a combination of Scottish tradition and modern music,” bagpipe and keyboard player Ben Holmes said. “It’s Celtic music with an attitude. It’s a hoot.”

Pat McManis started the band with his brother, Joe McManis, as a challenge to accompany bagpipe music with modern chord changes.

“It evolved from my need to interpret the pipe music I had learned over the last 15 years into my style,” Pat McManis said. “I’ve always leaned toward fusion.”

The band transforms songs that haven’t been written for bagpipes into danceable Celtic grooves.

“Our audience is from 8 to 80, because the music isn’t geared toward any age group,” Pat McManis said. “It’s just universal-sounding music.”

Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 245 or by e-mail at knicoletti@summitdaily.com.

Breckenridge Town Party

When: 4 p.m. today

Where: Riverwalk Center, Breckenridge

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