Lisa Haley, a huge favorite at the Idyllwild Summer Concert Series, returns to close out the season on Thursday, Aug. 25.
Lisa Haley, a huge favorite at the Idyllwild Summer Concert Series, returns to close out the season on Thursday, Aug. 25.

Electricity. That’s what emanates from Lisa Haley’s blue violin. Dressed in her signature homespun and singing, playing and dancing with joyful intensity, Haley is a force of nature.

And don’t be surprised if storm clouds gather when Haley and her Kats take the stage at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 25. The humidity of the Louisiana delta tends to envelop any area where Lisa and the Kats gather. That, and the foot stomping that moves out from Haley into the audience, creates a condition called “zydecosis” — it’s contagious as it moves from dancer to dancer. It causes smiles and an irresistible urge to move, to dance and to celebrate.

Zydeco and Cajun music are part of the damp, earthy and darkly rich delta from which they spring. The music is combustible, capricious, illuminated by lightning and wonderfully intoxicating.

Haley is an alum of the Idyllwild Arts Summer Program, so Idyllwild is, in fact, her stomping grounds. She attended for four high school summers. “My folks ate beans so that I could come to ISOMATA’s summer music camp,” she recalled. She played viola at each of her four summers in Idyllwild. Although classically trained in viola and piano, Haley recognized early on that her calling was Cajun music, with its heat, counterpoint and rhythm.

Haley’s Acadian roots are deep even though she was 8 when, for reasons of her mother’s health, the family moved to California. “When we went outside our house it was Southern California but inside it was all Louisiana,” said Haley.

With Haley on her return to Idyllwild are David Fraser on accordion, harmonica, keyboards and vocals; Andy Anders on bass and vocals; and Cam Tyler on drums, rub board and percussion.

With Haley closing the series, attendance should be strong. She is a favorite of Idyllwild audiences. And that is a good thing, because, with only two concerts to go, the Idyllwild Summer Concert Series is still over $9,000 short of making budget.

Each year, thanks to the generosity and gratitude of Idyllwild audiences, ISCS makes budget. This year may be the first time it does not. As of this writing, only $24,686 out of the $32,420 budget has been raised.

So bring chairs, flashlights, food, libations and cash to fill the donation jars. Ken Dahleen and his board produce this series on faith — trusting that the community will respond with attendance and financial support.

As of yet, there is no opening act inked for the 6:15 p.m. spot, although board member Pete Holzman said there will be one.

The concert is the last of the season and the last before Butterfield Commons undergoes a major facelift as construction begins in September on the first phase of building the new community center.

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