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Lotus Festival 2018 performances

Maddie Roberts, Staff Writer

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The Lotus Festival in Bloomington has always been known for its large amount of diverse, talented performers, and this year is no different. There are so many performers this year that only a few can be showcased.

Most musical performances are taking place on Friday and Saturday with a few exceptions. These musicians come from countries all over the world incorporating all kinds of genres. This ensures that everyone who attends will find a musician or musical group that satisfies their interests.

Here are some artists that perform both Friday (Sept. 28) and Saturday (Sept. 29).

Aar Maanta & The Urban Nomads is a group led by Maanta who is originally from Somalia, which is where his “afro-hop” melodies come from. It has been described as a combination of jazz, reggae and house music using a combination of beats, synth chords and piano melodies to create a unique ‘80s type sound with a modern twist. His music is meant to “reach uprooted Somalis, which addresses the unique issues of those living outside of their homeland” (MPR News).

Jupiter & Okwess is an alternative soul group from Congo. This group has an incredibly lively and energetic live performance that reflects the fast-paced rhythm of the music they make. It is a combination of Congolese beats and the more familiar classic rock guitar riffs accompanying them. Leadman Jupiter Bokondji writes his songs about Congo’s history and the socioeconomic issues that exist there today.

Anyur is a female singer from Turkey who performs much more mellow, but still equally as powerful, music. Her songs, although very traditional in sound, incorporate contemporary elements that keep the music engaging and fresh. This combined with her soothing vocals provides the perfect atmosphere for her lyrics that are mostly about Kurdish women’s suffering and their strength. Notably, she holds the title of the 2018 Kat Domingo Memorial Artist which “honors the memory of Dr. Katherine “Kat” Domingo, an advocate for the power of music to build bridges and community – in particular, through the beauty of the human voice,” (Lotus).

A more interactive performance is provided by Colleen Haas, who represents the  Celebrations from Brazil to Bloomington program. This year, there will be many free workshops where anyone can come create and learn to play several types of Brazilian percussion instruments similar to those used during traditional Maracatu Carnivals. Dr. Haas as well as the local group, Women of Mass Percussion, will perform these exciting rhythms, and members of the community will have a chance to play as well.

French acapella group, Lo Cor de la Plana, will also be performing. They sing in the ancient language of Occitan while providing all other melodies with only their voices and a few percussion instruments including hand drums and tambourines. The music has a Mediterranean sound influenced by Arabic and African music as well as the lesser known Gregorian chant which is quite the mix. Without needing to understand what they are singing, their performance provides emotion in itself that is mostly joyful.

From Canada, is James Hill & Anne Janelle, a ukulele/cello duo. This couple beautifully combines classical and folk sounds creating very happy-go-lucky tunes that would be great to listen to whilst on a nature walk. The duo first started off as a violin/cello group, but after hearing the interesting sound of the ukulele against the cello’s melodies, they decided to try that out. The cello provides the low, dragged out tunes and the uke picks up the pace with well-timed strumming in a higher pitch.

Lotus features some LGBTQ+ representation with artist Kaumakaiwa Kanaka’ole who is a transgender woman from Hawaii. She will be performing traditional hula songs including ancient chanting and dancing. She is accompanied by guitarist Shawn Pimental whose rhythm brings a present day Western sound similar to that of soothing alternative acoustic songs. She puts emphasis on keeping a heavily traditional sound as to represent a culture that has been actively passed down through seven generations. She sings about her Hawaiian culture as well as her experience of being transgender in Hawaii today.

The 2018 Lotus Festival takes place from Thursday, Sept. 27 through Sunday, Sept. 30. For more information on the festival, you can visit the official website here.

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Lotus Festival 2018 performances