Three great shows to see: Jan. 28 - Feb. 3

The borders-blurring band La Santa Cecilia returns for a Sunday performance at Pala.
The borders-blurring band La Santa Cecilia returns for a Sunday performance at Pala.
(Humberto Howard)

The U-T’s George Varga picks his top three concerts for the week


La Santa Cecilia

It’s been eight years since the superb, borders-blurring band La Santa Cecilia made history with its 2014 Grammy Award win for Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album for “Treinta Dias” (“Thirty Days”).

The Los Angeles quartet beat out such better-known nominees as Argentina’s Los Amigos Invisibles and Mexico’s El Tri and Café Tacvba, but that wasn’t what made their victory historic.

The Grammy Award-winning Los Angeles quartet, which fuses pop, rock and Latin music styles, leaps borders with ease

Rather, it was that — during the group’s acceptance speech — La Santa Cecilia singer Marisol Hernandez dedicated their Grammy “to the more than 11 million undocumented people that live and work really hard in this country, and that still need to live a more dignified life.”

Moments later, the band disclosed that one of those undocumented workers was its requinto and accordion player, José Carlos.

He received his work permit soon thereafter and has since made six increasingly assured albums with La Santa Cecilia, which blends Mexican and Latin music styles with rock, pop, jazz, blues and reggae.

In Hernandez, whose stage name is “La Marisoul,” they have a wonderfully expressive lead singer who makes every note memorable.

6 p.m. Sunday. Events Center at Pala Casino Spa Resort, 11154 CA Highway 76, Pala. $25 (must be 21 or older to attend).

Beth Hart, with Quinn Sullivan

Beth Hart and some of her longtime fans may feel a strong sense of nostalgia when she performs here Thursday at downtown’s Balboa Theatre.

The storied venue is just a few doors down from the San Diego Repertory Theatre, where — in 2001 — Hart starred in the West Coast premiere of “Love, Janis: The Songs, The Soul of Janis Joplin.”

The blues-rocking vocal dynamo now has 16 solo albums under her belt, plus heavy-duty collaborations with Buddy Guy, Jeff Beck and Joe Bonamassa.

Hart’s next album, “A Tribute to Led Zeppelin,” is due Feb. 25. She will likely preview some of its songs — which range from “Kashmir” and “Whole Lotta Love” to “Stairway to Heaven” — at the Balboa. Guitarist Quinn Sullivan, a 22-year-old protégé of blues giant Buddy Guy, opens.

7:30 p.m. Thursday. Balboa Theatre, 868 Fourth Ave., Gaslamp Quarter. $31.50-$51,50, plus service fees.

David Whitman Septet

When not teaching percussion as a San Diego State University faculty member and at San Diego Christian College, David Whitman fits in jazz gigs around town.

Specializing in the hard-bop style popularized by Art Blakey, he drums with crisp efficiency.

Whitman’s band for his gig at the all-ages Dizzy’s includes guitarist Louie Valenzuela, bassist Mackenzie Leighton, trumpeter Joe Dyke, French horn player Andrew Young and two longtime are mainstays — saxophonists Mark Lessman and pianist John Opferkuch.

8 tonight. Dizzy’s, Arias Hall (behind the Musician’s Association building), 1717 Morena Boulevard, Bay Park. $15 (students) and $20.

COVID protocols: For policy details, visit each venue’s website.