The Russians to conquer Los Alamos through music

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By Special to the Monitor

Igor and the Red Elvises have conquered the hearts of screaming fans all over the world for more than 10 years with diverse, upbeat music and amusing lyrics. Now it’s Los Alamos turn to scream with glee when the band returns to town at 7 p.m. Friday.

The band’s performance, which will be held at Los Alamos National Bank, is part of the Los Alamos County Summer Concert Series.

Constantly touring the globe, Igor and the Red Elvises have gained a long-standing reputation as “the hardest working band in show business.”

They are also known to be extremely talented, over-the-top showmen, complete with outrageous costumes and personalities to match. Their shows include audience conga lines, belly dancing and a drum “solo” that includes the entire band playing one drum set simultaneously.

These acts, continually justify their title as the world’s greatest “Rokenrol Vaudevillians.” Red Elvises have maintained their independent status by producing all their own work. Their eclectic career includes 10 studio albums, a double live album, a live concert DVD and a “Greatest Hits” compilation.

Originally from Russia, they currently reside in Venice, Calif., where they continue to pursue numerous film and music projects.

The concert series continues with the Waybacks at 7 p.m. May 29 at Del Norte Credit Union.

While the bands are obviously an essential part of the series, the sponsors of the Los Alamos County Summer Concert Series are another vital part.

“Our sponsors are the ones who make it possible to bring the community this great music,” Russ Gordon, music promoter of the concert series, said. “For 20 years, local sponsors have given generously for the people of our community to enjoy world class music as well as local bands right in our town.”

Los Alamos County came on board as a major sponsor in 2005. The County Parks and Recreation Department help with many details in addition to having many concerts at County parks.

This year, a special event has been added to the Summer Concert Series to thank and recognize sponsors. Aug. 21 is Sponsor Appreciation Night. Sponsors will be at their  tent and will wear “I’m a sponsor” buttons so concert-goers can recognize  and thank them.

The Derailers, a dance band, will play.

Diamond Level Sponsors add to the celebration on their nights.

“The Del Norte Credit Union Night, the Los Alamos National Bank Night and Best Western Hilltop House are always great fun, the Kite Fest is a gorgeous setting and the Ski Hill venue with Los Alamos Monitor is always a gas,” Gordon said.

To give sponsors extra recognition, the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce hosts a table at each concert where sponsors, typically Chamber members, can place free literature about their business and products.

Gordon invites everyone to enjoy the music at the concerts.

 “I’d like to see more people there,” he said. “Between 300-500 people typically come out for the concerts. We have 19,000 people in this town.  I would like to see 1,000 people come out for the concerts. I’d like to see church groups, neighborhood parties, work office parties, sports teams come to celebrate together at the concerts.”  

Gordon added that the 20th Anniversary is special because there are a lot of different acts.  

“We have great zydeco bands this year, so the people taking zydeco dance lessons can come out and enjoy putting to practice what they’ve learned,” Gordon said. “We also have jazz bands.

“There will be a couple of African bands. We have Thomas Matfumo from Zimbabwe. If you only see one, come out for Matfumo who has a great history of being in opposition of the dictatorship in control in Zimbabwe, whom Parade Magazine listed as the worst in the world.  Matfumo’s music is very positive, high energy and danceable.  Through his music, he tells the story of Zimbabwe, once Rhodesia,” he said.   

“The Mali act, Balla Kayoute, plays African instrument like a wooden xylophone,” Gordon added. “He is here for the Santa Fe World Folk Festival and is also on Yoyo Ma’s new album.  His sound is different. It has African roots plus a jazzie sound.  Kayoute is a gentle and loving man.

“Red Elvises are a lot of laughs, good times and energy, and they work a lot with the audience … There is a lot of music in the world. These people deserve to be listened to, and they are wonderful players deserving of respect. We have international and different bands this year.  I certainly love bringing in this kind of stuff.  I just want people to come out and enjoy the concerts.”  

Any business or individual wanting to be a sponsor of the Los Alamos County Summer Concert Series 2009 can send a check to Gordons’ Concerts, 109 Central Park Square, Los Alamos, N.M., 87544 or drop if off at the Chamber of Commerce Offices.