Known as "the Duke of Bachata," Joan Soriano epitomizes the once maligned but now beloved Caribbean style.
The Madison World Music Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary this weekend with three days of free international music. The fun starts today at the UW Memorial Union Terrace, and the event extends to the Willy Street Fair.
The festival features performances, workshops, dance and more. This year's lineup includes a particularly large number of women: Of the 11 bands on the schedule, only one is all male. From Finnish strings to Ukrainian trance, bachata to bhangra, the schedule offers an exciting selection certain to get crowds moving.
As an added bonus, photographer Paula A. White's retrospective about the fest by will be on display at Memorial Union's Lakefront on Langdon Gallery as well. It's worth a look as you're on your way to the Terrace or the indoor ice cream stand.
The Willy Street Fair is held on the 800, 900 and 1000 blocks of Williamson Street on Saturday, Sept. 21, from 1:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 22, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. It features more than 150 vendors, arts and crafts, and a parade, but lots of people simply come for the music.
Both fest and fair are linked via the latter's World Music Stage, where performances by Ukranian fusion act Dakha Brakha, Spanish bagpiper Cristina Pato and others will take place. Additional shows will happen on several other stages, including a folk stage and an electronic stage. The WORT Underground Stage is bound to draw a big crowd on Saturday at 5:50 p.m., when popular Chicago garage-rock duo White Mystery perform. But some of the weekend's most underground performers are from other countries.
Here's a guide to the international sounds.
Thursday, Sept. 19: Memorial Union Terrace
Chitravina N. Ravikiran Quartet
This quartet specialize in Carnatic music, a classical South Indian style. Ravikiran is known for his prowess with the Chitravina, a fretless lute with 20-21 strings.
Hailing from Finland, Kardemimmit are four women with harp-like instruments called kanteles. They perform haunting, original Finnish folk.
Salem performs moloya, the music of Réunion, a French island in the Indian Ocean. Her spirited vocal-percussive music beautifully displays her powerful pipes.
Friday, Sept. 20: Memorial Union Terrace
Singing in Ladino, a Sephardic Jewish style, and blending in Spanish, Eastern European, Turkish and Arabic influences, this Mediterranean fusion group from Tel Aviv show off the region's eclectic folk pedigree.
This Ethiopian trio perform highly danceable music using the Krar (an Ethiopian harp), plus kebero drums and vocals.
Based in Montreal, Nomadic Massive have brought their fierce, socially conscious hip-hop to the stage alongside such prominent figures as K'naan, Wyclef Jean and Arianne Moffat.
Saturday, Sept. 21: Memorial Union Terrace
Known as "the Duke of Bachata," this Dominican performer epitomizes the once maligned but now beloved Caribbean style, which is playful, sexy and sorrowful at the same time.
Saturday, Sept. 21: Willy Street Fair
This trio are actually a quintet, or sometimes a quartet, but who's counting? They play dance tunes from Polish villages that brims with passion and showcases the musicians' flair for improvisation.
"Dakha Brakha" means "give/take" in the traditional Ukrainian language. The group blend Ukrainian devotional and folk with elements of Indian, Arabic, African, Russian and Australian traditional instrumentals for an intoxicating sound that resembles electro and trance music.
Janka Nabay & the Bubu Gang
Singer Janka Nabay and his Brooklyn-based Bubu Gang perform the signature music of Sierra Leone on David Byrne’s world music label, Luaka Bop.
This member of Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble is a native of Galicia, a Spanish province with Celtic roots, hence the bagpipes. (The Galician version are known as the Gaita.) She combines Emerald Isle melodies with Latin jazz beats.
Friday, Sept. 27: Union South Sett
Technically, this is an afterparty for the festival, but it's bound to be one of the most vibrant performances of the month. North Indian bhangra, brass funk, go-go, and drum and bass combine when this Brooklyn eight-piece act led by Sunny Jain hit the stage.