La Fête de Marquette 2013 is right around the corner, and its focus on French-themed fun is stronger than ever with performers from at least six Francophone regions of the world. The four-day fest begins July 11, with Creole tunes by CJ Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band (7:30 p.m.) and electronic music from Luke Solomon (8:45 p.m.). Here's a guide to some other key performances, which take place near the intersection of East Washington and South Dickinson through July 14.
Vieux Farka Touré
Thursday, July 11, 9:30 p.m.
Known as "the Hendrix of the Sahara," this Malian guitarist's playing is both eclectic and electric. His influences range from rock to roots music, with elements of African blues and Latin American funk. After making his Madison debut at La Fête in 2007, he played to a crowd of millions at the 2010 World Cup.
Marcia Ball with Cindy Cashdollar
Friday, July 12, 9:30 p.m.
Early in her career, Ball played small Madison venues like the Harmony Bar. Though she's since achieved star status in the blues world, the pianist and vocalist has appeared at several local festivals. Joining her is steel guitarist Cashdollar, who's performed with Bob Dylan and Ryan Adams.
Le Vent du Nord
Sunday, July 14, 1:15 p.m.
In addition to playing their own progressive folk tunes, this Quebecois group have appeared with the Portland Symphony and the Vancouver Metropolitan Orchestra.
Sunday, July 14, 3:15 p.m.
The globetrotting band have played with Femi Kuti, but they're most renowned for their own vibrant fusion of rock, reggae and traditional Haitian rhythms.
Sunday, July 14, 7:30 p.m.
This stunning Wassoulou vocalist, guitar player and sometime actress infatuated critics with her 2011 debut EP, Kanou. Combining jazz, folk and funk with her native culture's rhythmic prowess, her music may be the most unique thing you hear this summer.