Live Performances


Songs in the Key of LA
Friday, October 10th, 2014 | 7:30 PM | USC Bovard Auditorium

SongFest Collaboration with LA Opera and The Library Foundation of LA on a Recital Tour “Songs in the Key of LA”

From the “Bells of San Gabriel” to the “San Fernando Valley,” answer “The Call of the West” and join us for Songs in the Key of Los Angeles, a partnership between SongFest, LA Opera, and The Library Foundation of Los Angeles. Drawing on music from the Southern California Sheet Music Collection at LA Central Library and featured in the book Songs in the Key of Los Angeles by the Popular Music Project‘s Director, Josh Kun, these FREE recitals offer a singular portrait of Los Angeles history and culture rendered in music, featuring artists from SongFest and LA Opera.

Wednesday, June 11, 7:30 PM
Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, 90024

Thursday, June 12, 1:30 PM
Hollenbeck Palms, 573 S Boyle Ave, Los Angeles, 90033

Thursday, June 12, 7:00 PM
Brand Art & Music Library, 1601 W Mountain St, Glendale, 91201

Friday, June 13, 2:00 PM
The Huntington Library, Loggia, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, 91108

lummis300Remixing Lummis: The Evolution of Love, Sorrow and Celebration Through Music
January 26, 2014 3:00-5:00 PM, Lummis House

PMP Director Josh Kun introduced a group of his Fall ’13 USC Annenberg students to the remarkable collection of digitized recordings made from Edison wax cylinders of Spanish-language folk music — the earliest collection of its kind — recorded by Charles Lummis, the founder of L.A.’s historic Southwest Museum. The resulting project, Remixing Lummis, gave students the chance to choose, remix and repurpose songs from the collection.

Josh Kun - Song Reader by Beck {LA Phil site}Beck’s Song Reader
November 24, 2013, 8 PM | Walt Disney Concert Hall
PMP Director Josh Kun, was among those joining Beck for a one-night only performance of his Song Reader with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Sunday, November 24th. An extraordinary roster of artists will perform songs and stories inspired by Song Reader, Beck’s book of sheet music. The music was complemented by personal stories narrated by special guests.


Participating Artists:
Los Angeles Philharmonic, David Campbell, conductor; Beck; Jack Black; Jon Brion; Jarvis Cocker; Childish Gambino; Jonathan Gold; Juanes; Josh Kun; Jenny Lewis; Roger Manning Jr.; Fred Martin & The Levite Camp; Van Dyke Parks; Randall Poster; John C. Reilly; and Moses Sumney.

An Evening with Lila Downs in Conversation with Josh Kun {from RSVP site}An Evening with Lila Downs in Conversation with Josh Kun
September 18, 2013 | 7:30 PM Tommy’s Place, University Park Campus

Join Popular Music Project director Josh Kun for an intimate conversation with acclaimed singer, songwriter, and activist Lila Downs. Over the course of seven celebrated albums, Downs has vibrantly used Mexican musical tradition to explore contemporary identity, culture, and politics. For this special evening, she will discuss her Grammy-winning album Pecados y Milagros, and its accompanying exhibition curated by renowned Oaxacan artist Demián Flores. Flores will also be present for the conversation. The Mexican ex-voto, or contemporary votive offerings, paintings inspired by the album’s lyrics are currently on display for the first time in the United States at the USC Fisher Museum in the exhibition Drawn to Language, on view before the program.

Songs in the Key of Los Angeles with Ozomatli & Friends

As one of L.A.’s most dynamic bands, Ozomatli was the natural choice to bring to life the hidden treasures of the Los Angeles Public Library’s sheet music archive. With selections hand-picked in collaboration with USC professor and Popular Music Project director Josh Kun, Ozomatli and its friends invite you to experience the rich musical tapestry of our city, and to rediscover songs that celebrate the hopes and dreams of L.A.’s future through its late 19th- and early 20th-century songwriters and visionaries.

Scheduled to perform: La Santa Cecilia, I See Hawks in L.A., Ceci Bastida, Rob Gonzalez, the Petrojvic Blasting Company, Cheech Marin, and Jackson Browne. Travel and parking info here.
Songs in the Key of Los Angeles
Friday, August 2 | 8:00 pm

Songs in the Key of Los Angeles
PMP Director Josh Kun launched this landmark project in conjunction with the Library Foundation of Los Angeles and the LA Public Library: “Songs in the Key of Los Angeles” is an exploration of the sounds and music of LA, circa 1850-1959, via the Library’s extensive sheet music collection.

July 1: Songs in the Key of L.A. Exhibition opens on first floor of Downtown L.A. Central Library. The exhibition will use sheet music to explore the early history of Los Angeles’ music industry, civic music culture, and the role of music in shaping key stories central to the making of the city.

July 13: The Library Foundation of Los Angeles will host Dr. Kun, L.A. musical icon Van Dyke Parks, and surprise guests for a special evening of song and story specifically for Foundation Members.

July 18: The Foundation’s award-winning ALOUD series hosts Kun and musical guest Quetzal for a rare evening of L.A.

July 25: Grand Performances hosts City Librarian John Szabo and Library Foundation President Ken Brecher for Off the Shelf: Creating L.A.’s 21st Century Library, a lively discussion about the future of the Los Angeles Public Library, starting with the Songs in the Key of L.A. project.

August 2: Grand Performances, in collaboration with the Library Foundation, presents Songs in the Key of L.A. the concert. With selections hand-picked by Kun, hometown heroes Ozomatli and special guests will bring songs from the collection to life in a free concert for the people of Los Angeles.

Sonic Overdrive: Songs and Stories through the Streets of Los Angeles
Friday, May 31, 2013 | 7:00 PM
Harold M. Williams Auditorium, The Getty Center
Explore L.A.’s eclectic sonic environment from punk to gospel, cumbia to hip hop, rock, Norteño, and country. Hosted by music critic, historian, curator and director of the Popular Music Project Josh Kun, the evening’s lineup offers a journey through L.A.’s musical geographies, from East L.A. to Malibu.

Sonic Overdrive will include performances by Chris Hillman (The Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers), Exene Cervenka (X, The Knitters), underground hip-hop veteran Busdriver, Latin fusion band La Santa Cecilia, soul-and-gospel legend Merry Clayton (whose background vocals helped define songs by Neil Young, Carole King, and the Rolling Stones), alternative-rock favorites Silversun Pickups and will feature a guest appearance by students from the Silverlake Conservatory of Music.

toys300The Art of the Crossfade, Part 2
A Live Musical Lecture in Collabration with Toy Selectah
Thursday, April 18, 2013 :: 7- 8:30 PM
TOY SELECTAH was the DJ behind Control Machete, the trailblazing Monterrey, Mexico hip hop crew. Toy has worked with a long list of artists, groups and friends within the music scene of Latin America and the U.S. including Calle 13, Diplo, Gustavo Cerati, Celso Piña, Manu Chao and Molotov. He remains one of the most sought-after remixers and producers in contemporary Latin music.

An Evening with Patti Smith – A Visions and Voices Signature Event
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 | 7:00 PM
University Park Campus Bovard Auditorium
Join Popular Music Project Director Josh Kun for an unforgettable evening of music, poetry and conversation featuring the seminal American artist Patti Smith.

jperiod300The Art of the Crossfade, Part 1
Wednesday, October 17, Santa Monica Museum of Art
Crossfader | SMMoA
A Live Musical Lecture in Collaboration With J. Period
J. PERIOD is hailed as one of the world’s top DJs by The New York Times and recruited for remix and production work by Grammy-winners Kanye West, Mary J. Blige, John Legend, Lauryn Hill, Nas, and The Roots. J. Period is one of the music industry’s most respected DJs/Remixers.

Josh Kun was named by SMMoA as its first “Resident Collector” for the museum’s Collection of Ideas series. This music lecture is part of a duo of events in the series.

Spotlight: Enrique Bunbury
Tuesday, October 9, 2012, 7:30PM | The Grammy Museum
Popular Music Project Director Josh Kun sat down with Spanish vocalist Enrique Banbury at the Grammy Museum for an event celebrating his recent release Licenciado Cantinas, a musical tribute to some of the most celebrated Latin American songwriters. After an in-depth discussion and Q&A, Banbury performed a selection of songs. (Photo: Kadellar)

Love! Rage! & Other Emotions! A Live Professor Listening Party
Monday, September 24, 2012, 5:00PM | Ground Zero Coffee House, USC Campus
The PMP’s Josh Kun hosted this fall’s first Popular Music Project Listening Party, featuring DJs Edwin Hill, Shana Redmond, Karen Tongson and Mina Yang. These Listening Parties are like a live radio show, but with professors picking the tunes. Co-sponsored by the Center for Feminist Research.

Que Me Entierren Con La Banda: Banda Music in L.A.
Sunday, August 19th, 2012, 4PM | UCLA Fowler Museum Amphitheater
Josh Kun moderated this special concert featuring a musical conversation with the fantastic, 17-piece Banda Viento de Oro and special guests Wil-Dog “El Gavachillo” of Ozomatli and Yarel Ramos of Mun2. This was a free Summer Sunset Concert.

What’s Goin’ On, Now? A Live Listening Party at USC
Thursday April 12, 2012, 5:00-6:30PM | USC Quad
As part of a nationwide non-profit educational initiative of The Kennedy Center aimed at using Marvin Gaye’s album What’s Going On as a means of raising political and social awareness among urban youth, the Lear Center’s Popular Music Project and the USC Office of Religious Life are hosting a live listening session of the whole Marvin Gaye album, start to finish, outside, in public, open and free to all, as an experiment in making musical community through listening. PMP director Josh Kun will moderate a conversation with singer Aloe Blacc during the break between Side A and Side B to inform the audience on the album and its legacy.

Josh Kun: Musical Conversation with La Santa Cecilia
February 4, 2012, 7 PM | Fowler Museum at UCLA
GRAMMY-nominated La Santa Cecilia — fronted by belter La Marisoul — draws inspiration from a hybrid of Latin culture, rock and world music, in passionate performances that mesmerize audiences. After a pre-concert interview moderated by Josh Kun, curator of the PST/GRAMMY Museum exhibition Trouble in Paradise: Music and Los Angeles 1945-75 and director of the Lear Center’s Popular Music Project, La Santa Cecilia will take audience questions and will perform a selection of songs. Presented by the GRAMMY Museum and the Fowler Museum at UCLA

Trouble In Paradise: Music and Los Angeles, 1945-1975
February 22 – March 25, 2012 | GRAMMY Museum
The GRAMMY Museum, in conjunction with the Getty initiative Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945 – 1980, will unveil its latest special exhibit, Trouble In Paradise: Music and Los Angeles, 1945-1975. Josh Kun, director of the Lear Center’s Popular Music Project, serves as co-curator. Details here. The exhibit explores thirty years of the pop music scene in Los Angeles, and its related culture, politics, and popular art. Genres of music highlighted in the exhibit include surf rock, jazz, R&B, Laurel Canyon folk rock, the Sunset Strip rock scene and the East L.A. Chicano sound, all of which helped shape the most diverse and influential music scenes in all of America during this socially tumultuous period of L.A. History.

House of Quality: Boyle Heights & The Music/Democracy – Grand Performances
August 4, 2011
From the 1930s to the 1980s, The Phillips Music Co. of Boyle Heights was more than a music store or a record shop; it was a space for democracy. As a home to Mexican-Americans, Jewish-Americans, and Asian-Americans, Boyle Heights has historically been one of the great models of the mash-up that is Los Angeles identity, a neighborhood of new immigrants long-celebrated for its heterogeneity and political community. PMP Director Josh Kun offered a multi-media lecture that explored this rich musical and cultural history.  Listen to Josh’s track list from his House of Quality lecture.

December 2010 | Ozomatli at TEDxSF with Josh Kun
The motto of multi-racial Los Angeles band Ozomatli used to be “We take you around the world by taking you around L.A.” In this TEDxSF session hosted and narrated by Josh Kun, director of the Popular Music Project, the band mixed story and sound to explore musical identities in a global age defined by extremes of scarcity and abundance, from the streets of L.A. to the orphanages of Nepal and Burma to the levees of New Orleans. Can music preserve traditions while inventing new ones, heal wounds while imagining new spaces of hope?

December 18, 2010 | OZOMATLI: The Corrido of LA
In celebration of the centennial of the Mexican Revolution, USC and LACMA will host The Corrido of LA. Students in grades 7-12 throughout Los Angeles are invited to commemorate the Mexican Revolution by composing a corrido, or ballad song, about the city they call home. Since the nineteenth century the corrido functioned as the people’s oral “newspaper,” documenting events of everyday social and political life. Josh Kun, Director of the Lear Center’s Popular Music Project, is one of the judges along with fellow USC professors María Elena Martínez and George Sánchez and LACMA curator Ilona Katzew.

SONIDO PIRATA: A Listening Party with Josh Kun & Friends
November 12, 2009 | Steve Turner Contemporary
Fans and friends joined Josh Kun, director of the Lear Center’s Popular Music Project, for a listening party at the Steve Turner Contemporary, where his sound installation, Last Exit: USA, ran through November 14th.

Steve Turner Contemporary, 6026 Wilshire Blvd, LA 90036
Mazel Tov, Mis Amigos: The Lost World of Latin Jewish Sound
August 11, 2009 | Lincoln Center
PMP director Josh Kun contributed extensive liner notes to this re-release of a legendary 1961 album, which hit stores August 11. The album was recreated on stage by the Idelsohn Society for a one night only show at Lincoln Center, featuring Arturo O’Farrill and his Afro Cuban Sextet with special guests Irving Fields, Fania legend Larry Harlow and the Antibalas horns.

Presenting Julieta Venegas
February 12, 2009 | University of Southern California
USC Spectrum and the Popular Music Project presented an intimate evening of conversation and music with Julieta Venegas. Julieta Venegas is a Mexican singer, instrumentalist and songwriter who performs an eclectic blend of Spanish-language rock and pop. Before embarking on her solo career, Venegas collaborated with bands in Tijuana and Mexico City. Her first album, Aqui, emerged in 1998 as a collaboration with Gustavo Santaolalla. Since her debut, Venegas has released the albums Bueninvento and Limon y Sal. She has also garnered several awards, including two Latin Grammy Awards and a Grammy for Best Latin Pop Album. Check out this song from the show!

The Paisley Underground: A Listening Party at LACE Curated by Josh Kun
September 16, 2008 | Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions
Re-visit the California glory days of The Dream Syndicate, The Bangles, The Three O’Clock, Rain Parade, & More… A jingle-jangle, audio-visual excavation of a lost 80’s moment in L.A. music led by Alejandro Cohen, a member of the band Languis and a “labrat” with

Listening Party Series at LACE Curated by Josh Kun
Spring 2008 | Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions
These interactive public conversations were inspired by the current explosion of mp3 players, podcasts and other mobile media, that are used to score the soundtrack of everyday life. Each party featured special guest critics, musicians and curators who shared favorite recordings — from popular anthems to found sounds and new material — to serve as the impetus for a wide-ranging discussion about urban space and music.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008 “Sweden/Tijuana”
Tuesday, April 1, 2008 “Detroit” – RJ Smith
Tuesday, March 4, 2008 “Suburbs” – Karen Tongson
Check out photos and audio files from our Listening Parties! 

Secondhand Sureshots: An Experiment in Creative Sound Recycling
November 14, 2007 | USC Annenberg Auditorium
Dublab screened their documentary project featuring four of their favorite LA-based beat makers – Daedelus, J.Rocc, Nobody and Ras G – on a secret mission to create new musical magic from the dusty remains of thrift store vinyl. This event also included a live sample and mix session using audience-supplied music. Watch a clip from Secondhand Sureshots.

Dublab 101
September 27, 2007 | USC Annenberg Geoffrey Cowan Forum
Dublab members Mike “frosty” McNeill and Alejandro “Ale” Cohen offered a personal crash course in all things Dublab (“from robots to revolution”), including a live broadcast from the Annenberg School. Check it out here.

Community Music Now
September 24, 2007 | USC Bovard Auditorium
Visions & Voices and the Popular Music Project presented an evening dedicated to exploring the role of music in building and nourishing community in Los Angeles with special guests the Build An Ark Arkestra, the Dublab Soundsystem, and USC Annenberg Professor of Communication Herman Gray.

Twisting Tradition: Music, History, and Cultural Change
April 22, 2007 | UCLA MacGowan Little Theater
The history of Jewish music is the history of change and adaptation, of traditions in transformation. The development of new experimental scenes and new movements — from klezmer punk to kabbalistic free jazz to hip hop Passover seders — only makes understanding the past more urgent. Collaboration, inspiration, exploitation, re-invention, community. What does it mean to make Jewish music? Jewlia Eisenberg and Frank London offered some answers, with live musical performances and a conversation with PMP Director Josh Kun. This event was part of Nextbook’s LA Festival.

City of Angels: A Special Evening With Ozomatli
March 27, 2007 | USC Bovard Auditorium
USC Annenberg, USC Spectrum, and the Norman Lear Center’s Popular Music Project presented a discussion and concert with Ozomatli. The program included the debut of the First Prize-winning fan-made video for the band’s new single — view it here — a conversation led by PMP director Josh Kun, and a concert by the band.