There are many different ways to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Some will watch special segments on the news on the progress we have (or haven't) made over the years, some will listen to the "I Have a Dream" speech in school, others will have interesting debates about civil rights over dinner. This Sunday at First Avenue, people can celebrate with music, one of many things that bring us all together. Afro-Latin in sonic flavor, this is the third annual MLK tribute whipped up by Ritmos Unidos. The gig will be hosted by ex-Timberwolves player Felipe López and performers include headliner and B-Girl hip-hop/reggaetón artist Maria Isa with her 10-piece band. Isa's debut release last May, M.I. Split Personalities, touched on subjects like human rights, revolution, and cultural pride. Even better, English-only speakers who listen to it will probably learn a few new Spanish/Spanglish vocabulary words as well. Also performing tonight will be Afro-Cuban salsa vocalists Viviana Pintado and Gloria Rivera as the folkloric fusion Cubanía, Omari Omari, and with a variety of performances by Danza Mexica Cuauhtémoc. McNally Smith Percussion Ensemble will have audience members' hearts beating in time with each other. 18+.
Sun., Jan. 20, 8 p.m., 2008