Oh, Donna

FRI 1/9

>While the tendency in improvisational rock these days (we try to use the term "improvisational" instead of "jam band" for fear of immediately nauseating a certain segment of the readership) is to move toward techno and heavier rock sounds, not all the contemporary bands in the scene have given up on the folksy, country vibe popularized by the Grateful Dead. Just look at Donna the Buffalo.

Admittedly, the Buffalo is not one of those groups of young whippersnappers who have come along in the past few years, such as the Disco Biscuits, who have added electronica to the traditional danceable groove. Donna the Buffalo has been around for more than 15 years now, since forming in New York in 1987. That older origin shows in the band's tunes. Created before the rave and electronica elements that have informed more recent groups, Donna the Buffalo harks back not just to the Dead but to 1960s folk rock in general. Had they a time machine, they'd fit right in opening for the Band. Alas, we cannot speak for the Donna's recorded efforts, having only heard their live albums, but the live show takes a heavy dose of Louisiana-style Cajun and zydeco, tosses in a little folk, reggae, and rock, and comes up with musical gumbo that's pretty damn tasty.

Donna the Buffalo performs at the Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale, at 9 p.m. Tickets cost $15.90. Call 954-564-1074. -- Dan Sweeney

Yo, Yo, Yo!

Mr. Ma shreds on the cello

TUE 1/13

Ah, the cello. An overlooked and misunderstood instrument in most genres of music. While it's not quite as misunderstood as, say, the cowbell or banjo, it is still regarded as a foreigner in the land of amped sound. That's where Yo-Yo Ma steps in. The multitalented Grammy Award-winning artist is, if anything, prolific, composing the score for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, collaborating with Alison Krauss and Edgar Meyer on albums such as Appalachia Waltz, and being named one of People's Sexiest Men Alive in 2001! Check out Yo-Yo Ma as he shreds on the cello with members of the Silk Road Ensemble. The show takes place at the Kravis Center, 701 Okeechobee Blvd., West Palm Beach. Show starts at 8 p.m., but you can participate in a preperformance discussion at 6:45. Call 561-832-7469. -- Audra Schroeder

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