The first time Ben Shannon saw Timbeleza perform, the rhythms tickled his senses.
"They played at the opening of a local dance school in Morningside," Shannon says. "When I heard them, the hair stood up on the back of my neck. We were dancing in the streets, and it was just an incredible feeling."
Shannon wanted to bring that kind of electrifying music to the Rex Theater for Spring Break Beat Party, the first installment of his new seasonal dance-party series, so he invited the drumming ensemble onto the bill. The April 7 event will also include performances from Man in the Street and Gangwish. The common thread: All three local acts perform percussion-heavy, internationally influenced music.
"I don't know if there is another music event [in Pittsburgh] that is putting together a multiple-band bill that features percussion or live beats or rhythm-centric musical tradition," Shannon says.
He plans to make the event recurring, one for each season. "I think marking the seasons is also something that is thematically relevant to the organic form of making music," Shannon explains. "Each party will have its own dynamic to it."
The lineup came as a result of Shannon meeting the bands through other shows and projects. Each band brings a different exotic flavor: Timbeleza, with its Brazilian roots; Man in the Street, with its soul-infused reggae; and Gangwish, with a focus on both acoustic drums and synthesized beats.
Shannon continues: "I wanted a good mix of people, and I think these three groups are very active locally, and there are a lot of plans for growth for all of these groups."
By bringing local artists together, Shannon hopes to build a community to make future parties possible.
"There's just a lot of local talent and international talent that resides in Pittsburgh, or has family connections in Pittsburgh, that would allow for a seasonal event like this to be sustained," Shannon says.