NEW YORK The Indigo Girls, Randy Newman, DJ Roni Size, Miriam Makeba, Chic, Fishbone, Widespread Panic, Roy Ayers and the New York Grand Opera are among the typically eclectic acts scheduled for the annual Central Park SummerStage series.
The Indigos (June 13) and Widespread Panic (Aug. 1) will play benefit performances for the 15-year-old series; the remaining shows are free (though contributions are encouraged). Other highlights include punk-blues purveyor R.L. Burnside and Southern blues legend Hubert Sumlin (June 13), Canadian rockers the Tragically Hip (July 1), South African diva Miriam Makeba (July 12) and Nigerian Afrobeat star Femi Kuti (Aug. 13).
Musician/producer Nile Rodgers (of Chic) consulted with festival organizers to book progressive artists from around the globe.
"I remember going to SummerStage shows years ago and not knowing what to expect," recalled Rodgers, who will perform with Chic on June 15. "There was a very cool Downtown feeling, and I want to keep that vibe alive."
To maintain the downtown vibe, electronic, world and spoken-word artists are heavily represented.
Dance and electronic headliners include DJ Cheb I Sabbah (June 25), "Little Louie" Vega (July 2), DJ State of Bengal (July 6) and UK drum & bass innovators Roni Size/Reprazent (Aug. 15).
Cuban bassist Cachao and Chico O'Farrill's Afro Cuban Big Band (June 18) kick off a series of international musicians who include Dominican merengue artist Milly Quezada (July 9), French-Cameroonian sisters Les Nubians (July 16), reggae singer Beres Hammond (July 30), Latin rock progressives Los Amigos Invisibles (Aug. 12) and Femi Kuti (Aug. 13).
Spoken-word performances will be delivered by trip-hopper Tricky with Dave Courtney (July 6), and Rahzel of the Philly rap outfit the Roots (July 10).
Two especially eclectic lineups deserve mention. "Masters at Work" brings together Roy Ayers, Jocelyn Brown, and DJ Jazzy Jeff (yes, that Jazzy Jeff) with the Nuyorican Soul Orchestra on July 2. And Brazilian "mangue" (mangrove) stars Nação Zumbi with guests Arto Lindsay, DJ Soul Slinger and DJ Spooky will celebrate the late Nação Zumbi bandleader Chico Science on July 15.
Check www.summerstage.org for updates.
Central Park SummerStage 2000 schedule:
June 13, 7 p.m., Indigo Girls (SummerStage Benefit, $27.50.)
June 15, 6 p.m., Nile Rodgers and Chic, Zuco 103, DJ Alex Gopher
June 17, 3 p.m., R.L. Burnside, Hubert Sumlin
June 18, 3 p.m., Cachao, Chico O'Farrill's Afro Cuban Big Band
June 23, 8:30 p.m., STREB
June 24, 3 p.m., Common, Tony Allen, Ex-Centric Sound System
June 25, 5 p.m., Cheb I Sabbah, Simon Shaheen and Quantara, The Israeli Andalusian Orchestra
June 28, 7:30 p.m., New York Grand Opera
June 29, 7:30 p.m., Randy Newman, Jonathan Richman
July 1, 3 p.m., The Tragically Hip, Jeff Healey Band, Great Big Sea
July 2, 1:30 p.m., "Masters at Work": Roy Avers, Jocelyn Brown, DJ Jazzy Jeff and Jody Watley with the Nuyorican Soul Orchestra, DJ "Little Louie" Vega
July 4, 3 p.m., Joan Jett, Simi, Mary Lou Lord
July 6, 6:30 p.m., DJ State of Bengal, Tricky with Dave Courtney
July 7, 8:30 p.m., Sean Curran/Roger Sinha
July 8, 1:30 p.m., Fantastic Plastic Machine, Fishbone, DJ Swamp
July 9, 3 p.m., Milly Quezada, Los Hermanos Rosario, Los Toros Band
July 10, 7:30 p.m., Rahzel with DJ JS-1, Kenny Muhammed & MB2000, Ranking Joe & Mikey Jarrett, Dean Bowman & Jeff Haynes
July 12, 7:30 p.m., Miriam Makeba, Terry Callier
July 15, 1:30 p.m., DJ Da Lua, Funk 'n Lata, "Celebrating Chico Science with Nação Zumbi
July 16, 3 p.m., Les Nubians, Amadou et Mariam, Frederic Galliano
July 19, 6:30 p.m., New York Grand Opera
July 21, 8:30 p.m., Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, Phillip Hamilton
July 22, 3 p.m., "Teen Jam!", Tarsha Vega, Rock Steady Crew, R-Angels
July 23, 1:30 p.m., Wally Wonders; Rebirth Brass Band v. Shorty Trombone
July 27, 7:30 p.m. Yungchen Lhamo, Lama Gyurme & Jean-Phillip Rykiel
July 29, 3 p.m., Angie Stone, Donald Lawrence and the Tri-City Singers
July 30, 3 p.m., Beres Hammond, Anthony B with Norrisman
August 1, 7 p.m., Widespread Panic (SummerStage Benefit, $30
August 2, 7:30 p.m., Toto la Momposina, Vera Bila
August 3, 7:30 p.m., Jaron Lanier
August 5, 1:30 p.m., DJ's Francois K/ Danny Krivit/ Joaquin Claussell; body&SOUL
August 6, 3 p.m., Faudel, Brass Construction
August 9, 6 p.m., New York Grand Opera
August 10, 7:30 p.m., Astrid Hadad, Liliana Felip, Eugenia Leon
August 11, 8:30 p.m., "O Vertigo Danse" with SMCQ, Gina Gibney Dance
August 12, 3 p.m., La Ley, Los Amigos Invisibles, Illya Kuryaki and the Valderramas
August 13, 3 p.m., Femi Kuti, Mark Anthony Jones, Lamb, Tamango
August 15, 1:30 p.m., DJ Siraiki; Roni Size/Reprazent, Anouska Shankar