Winter solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year, when the earth tilts the Northern Hemisphere farthest away from the sun, is Wednesday, December 21st.

Groups of artists and musicians in Venice plan gatherings marking winter solstice as a time to reflect on peace and promote creativity.

SOLSTICE OFFERING FOR PEACE — Vashti, an ensemble featuring an array of percussionists and musicians of various cultural and musical backgrounds, led by renowned world music percussionist Adam Rudolph, has scheduled a performance of its “Winter Solstice Offering for Peace,” at 8:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday, December 16th to 18th, at the Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave., Venice. Tickets are $20.

Band leader Rudolph specializes in hand drumming with exotic percussion instruments such as the udu, kalimba, bendir and cajon.

Rudolph has been the main percussionist and collaborator since 1988 for jazz/world music legend Dr. Yusef Lateef.

The special winter solstice performances are a time to reflect on the state of humanity and to prioritize creativity in our daily lives, Rudolph explains.

“From our perspective, winter solstice is a time to remind ourselves that we’re all brothers and sisters on the planet, and that we should act toward each other with compassion and creativity.”

“With our performance, we try to demonstrate kinds of human endeavors that people can see and experience other than oppression, war and conflict,” Rudolph says.

Much of Vashti’s compositions are improvised from structured rhythms in time signatures unusual to Western ears.

“It’s about creating in the moment, listening and using your imagination,” says Rudolph.

Rudolph, who lives in Venice, has been touring the world since the 1970s as a percussionist.

In addition to Rudolph, Vashti’s eclectic lineup includes Moroccan musician Brahim Fribgane, who plays the dumbek, bendir, ‘ud and qarqarba and sings; Randy Gloss on frame drums, riq, pandeiro, kanjira and hand percussion; Iranian musician Houman Pourmehdi on the tonbak, daf, cajon; and Poovalur Sriji of India playing the mridangam and kanjira.

Information, (310) 823-0710.

CIRCLE OF COLOR — Circle of Color art and music jam is a twice-yearly solstice gathering of mostly Venice Beach artists and musicians.

The celebration, with a focus on art, music and world rhythms is free and is scheduled from 5 to about 10 p.m. at Sponto Gallery, 7 Dudley Ave., Venice.

The lineup of exhibiting artists includes collagist Shige, painters Ibrahim and Diane Butler, mozaic mirror artist Ralph Ponsa, transcendental photographer Leland Auslender, abstract painter Ra Superstar, painter/ photographer Lani Ware and the artist True.

Musical acts scheduled to perform include Black Shoe Polish, Venice Beach Drum Orchestra, Marla, Ramen Empire, Swami X and the Off Their Jingle Bell Rockers, a group that sings offbeat Christmas carols and parody songs.

The show is dedicated to Michael Devalcourt, a homeless young artist who lived and eventually died on Venice Beach.

Devalcourt’s paintings were recognized for their surreal coppertone depictions of the sun.

Information, (310) 306-7330.

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