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  Culture Corner - Iowa Cultural Corridor Alliance Blog
Fifth Annual Landfall Festival of World Music
posted: Thursday, September 13, 2012  Post Comment

The Fifth Annual Landfall Festival of World Music kicks off Wednesday, Sept. 19 and winds up Saturday, Sept. 22 with a free day of music in Greene Square Park. If you’re counting, that’s 50 musicians from 10 countries performing at seven different venues. Musicians this year hail from countries including Brazil, Portugal, Sweden, Tunisia, China and Mexico.

When Legion Arts presented the first Landfall Festival in 2008, the city of Cedar Rapids was just beginning the long process of flood recovery. “Landfall” may have seemed an odd moniker in light of its association with disastrous weather, but the word’s original meaning is “arrival at a destination after a long journey over land or sea or air.” That’s what these artists are doing. We thought that was a hopeful activity, and one that deserved a good celebration at the end.

Since that first year of providing welcome respite to flood volunteers and residents impacted by the disaster, Landfall has grown in ambition and scope. In 2012, we’re working with more venues than ever, including Orchestra Iowa’s new Opus Concert Café and the African American Museum of Iowa. And we’re planning afterparty jam sessions every night to keep the fun going. Parties will run from 10 pm to midnight at Parlor City (Wednesday), Gatherings (Thursday), Little Bohemia (Friday) and CSPS (Saturday, 8 pm).

We’re also developing more in-depth ways for audiences to interact with the musicians and their music. Area blues virtuosos Craig Erickson and Skeeter Lewis will convene a Global Blues Summit Friday at the African American Museum of Iowa. They’ll be joined by Cameroon musician Kenn Wanaku for an exploration of how different styles of blues from around the world have influenced each other.

I think we can honestly say that this is one of our most diverse and exciting line-ups ever. Landfall artists are extremely skilled in their particular traditions, which they spend a lot of time and imagination updating. This year the mix of influences is richer than ever: Tunsia’s MC Rai blends Algerian raï music with hip-hop while China’s Hanggai shows a clear affinity for American cowboy songs.

In addition to the free slate of Saturday shows, reasonable ticket prices ($10 single show admission, $20 all-evening passes and $50 all-festival passes) give lovers of music and culture the chance to sonically orbit the Earth for four days straight.

Other Landfall musicians include New Orleans’ Panorama Jazz Band, choro virtuosos Trio Brasileiro, the Finnish fiddling onslaught of JPP and hip hop-influenced rhythms from nations as far-flung as Tunisia and Sweden. Great local acts will join the line-up, too: Cedar Rapids’ own keyboard sensation Akash Gururaja playing Indian Carnatic music, Iowa City’s Irish-folk exemplars The Beggarmen, and Craig Erickson and Skeeter Lewis.

Additionally, acclaimed Mexican musician Rana Santacruz will spend the entire week in Cedar Rapids as part of a National Performance Network residency speaking with and performing for students, community groups and local artists.

This remarkable line-up is made possible through Legion Arts’ collaboration with events throughout the Midwest. Over the years, we’ve established relationships with world music festivals that take place each fall in Milwaukee, Madison, Chicago and Bloomington, Ind. By cooperating with them, we’re able to host world-class artists that we could never afford on our own.

Legion Arts is mainly known for presenting art, theatre and music from around the world at storied CSPS Hall in the flourishing New Bohemia district. Since 1991, we’ve hosted artists from more than 80 countries. Landfall is an opportunity for Legion Arts to expand that work, partnering with community-minded groups and businesses to give the people of Eastern Iowa a unique cultural opportunity… and a really good time.

For more information and to purchase tickets click here.

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