Music of the Middle East is one of the themes of the 2007 National Folk Festival, which will feature leading musicians and dancers representing many cultures from the region.
The dance program will feature a leading Australian Lebanese dance group, the Cedars of Lebanon Folkloric Group, performing the dabki. In the Piazza Campfire to Cairo is an evening dance extravaganza, a narrated dance presentation, will take the audience on a voyage through the history of Egyptian belly dance and Daughters of the Peacock will perform belly dance in the earthy, provocative Egyptian gypsy style.
Camoon (Arabic and Hebrew for the spice Cumin) is a funk-fusion group that combines the Moorish rhythms of Spanish and Moroccan music with the melodic styles of Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia, played on traditional instruments.
Internationally acclaimed group Sirocco has drawn on music of many cultures and has developed its own unique blend of music, playing over thirty different musical instruments. The Festival offers a chance to enjoy the music of traditional Turkish stringed instruments in the hands of renowned player Ismail Bektas. Dionysus play music of regional Greece and the Balkans on percussion, guitars, lute, oud and bouzouki.
Yalla is one of the few groups in Australia to play Middle Eastern music exclusively on traditional instruments, and features a separate ensemble, Sanctuary, which is becoming well known for its rich and inspiring playing of devotional Sufi music, songs, ilahis (middle-eastern chants), ecstatic dances & the poetry of Rumi, the 13th-century Sufi poet.
These performers and many more will entertain and delight visitors to the 2007 Festival, four-and-a-half days of non-stop entertainment held in the golden glory of Canberra’s autumn.
Dances from all around the world will take stage at the Festival – Africa, Spain, China, Ireland, Egypt, Scotland, Argentina, Papua New Guinea, Chile, Lebanon, the Balkans and beyond – colonial and Scottish balls, bush dancing, square dancing, clog dancing – dance workshops and dance displays, including Chinese Lion Dancing , German dance, Falun Dafa (Chinese traditional dance and Qi Jong yoga), Hungarian dance, belly dancing and the traditional Lebanese dabki.
Africa Live! is a spectacular presentation which features the six- piece Ngewell Kora playing the music of Senegal, while Flamenco Fiesta displays passion and polish from the Tomàs Dietz Flamenco Dance Academy and the Los Carmonas Flamenco Academy.
Western Australia is the featured State in 2007and these are just some of the performers coming out of the west to take part in Australia’s great folk Easter celebration.
In partnership with the National Library of Australia, the Festival features two world-class Irish performers from Western Australia, traditional fiddler Sean Doherty and Tom Kearns, who is a sean-noss (unaccompanied) singer, whistler, and a captivating lilter.
Dougal Adams and Ormonde Waters are a wonderful Celtic whoe instruments include Irish wooden flute, Scottish bagpipes, concertina, uilleann pipes, warpipes and whistles. Versatile composer, performer and music producer David Hyams will be appearing with his Miles to Go Band. Loaded Dog’s repertoire is a mix of Australian folk ballads and original material that reflects Australian life. Steve and Ros Barnes play music that has been described as “folk/ acoustic/ jazz with Irish and country leanings”. Clarke’s Grey Vest may sound like the result of an under-achieving laundry detergent but it is, in fact, a trio comprising three top-line musicians, Dave Clarke, Peter Grayling and Rod Vervest, on mandolin, guitar, fiddle and cello. Bernard Carney, singer /wordsmith of international acclaim, is the musical director of the Working Voices social justice community choir which will also perform at the Festival. Acoustic guitarist Simon Nield sings and plays traditional Irish, classical Indian, pop, jazz and world music. Yarnspinner, bush poet and writer Roger Montgomery teams up with bass player / songwriter John Angliss and friends as Telescopic Roger; giving members of the audience introductions to stars other than those on the stage – and their versions of the first of the Goon Shows. Psallité – four voices in a cappella harmony will take audiences on a witty, warm and wonderful tour of Europe’s deep past. Tetrafide Percussion is a young contemporary percussion ensemble based in Western Australia which plays classical music with urban grooves and irresistible dance rhythms. Ngewell Kora, led by acclaimed musician, singer and dancer Ziggy Mabeye Diagne, performs traditional Senegalese dance and music. There will be rich voices and body percussion from the strictly men’s business Voicemale choir- who have an intriguing workshop entitled Coming out of the Shower”.
The Kids Festival is equally popular with parents and children alike – the daily 10am to 5pm Kids’ Festival offers the rare chance for children to experience live performances from different world cultures and to join in the joyous, creative process. Parents can leave behind the television, computer games and wails of “I’m bored! There’s nothing to do!” and enjoy seeing the spontaneous creativity the Festival atmosphere generates in the small folk.
The Kids Festival runs a Yoga Garden, the popular Once Upon a Song interactive, dress-up music and storytelling experience, Preston’s Historic Punch and Judy show and the Warehouse Circus!
And for the youth audience there are street bands and choirs to join in with and the late- night acoustic venue AXIS! and a great performer list. The Mammals, described as “subversive acoustic traditionalists” (a string band augmented with drums and electric guitar), is where rock meets traditional Appalachian music. Tom Woodward is a local Canberra talent who doesn’t believe in wasting time, performing before audiences at fourteen and now with 500 songs under his belt and recent release Blue Day Requiem. Borderline Ceili; from Western Australia a beautiful blend of witty, bittersweet lyrics and soul-stirring guitar from Khin Myint and the exciting group Just Fiddling; Damien Howard & the Gentle Souls; slide guitarist Owen Campbell (winner of the 2006 Declan Affley Award); a meld of contemporary folk, gypsy and bluegrass with NSW group Pettibone and CC, accapela singer of traditional Irish, Scottish and English songs A special feature this year will be the hiJinxYouth Cabaret.
All these events are part of the 16-hours-a-day entertainment offered by the National Folk Festival – all for the price of one entry ticket. Generous discounts apply for visitors younger than seventeen and under-fives are free. The site is pram-friendly (as are most of the venues); there’s plenty of free parking and even a shuttle- bus to run you from your car right to the Festival gates. There are food stalls galore and an onsite supermarket. The Festival has a team of dedicated volunteers who keep the wheels running smoothly and ensure that you – and yours – have a time to remember.
It’s a Festival with the best on offer for everyone; for more information or to book tickets online got to www.folkfestival.asn.au , e-mail email@example.com or call the team on 0262 49 7755.
MAKE EASTER YOUR NATIONAL HOLIDAY !