Caribbean, Ethiopian, beat boxing, Tuvan throat singing and tap and hoop dancing are the styles and genres that make up the final six performers announced for this year’s American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront, set for Aug. 26-28. Festival organizers revealed the remaining lineup Friday afternoon. These six performers will join previously announced performers, including ones announced in March and another round announced in May.
Fendika is an Ethiopian act performing traditional music and dance. Performances draw from Ethiopia’s azmari – like bardic – tradition while adding creative movements and sounds that extend the ancient musical forms. The group does not see the experience of dance as just a performance, but rather a cultural expression, life, and the practice of culture.
Tribu Baharu is an Afro-champeta music crew from the Colombian Caribbean. Champeta is a term that refers to a knife used by fishermen to remove fish scales. Champeta is a fishermen music with influences including Soukous, Calypso, and reggae. Tribu Baharu’s main objective is to convey the joy of being Caribbean through dance, using music as a vehicle.
Leo Sandoval is a Brazilian-born tap dance artist, described by the Chicago Sun-Times as “strong yet fine-boned, capable of authority and nuance.” Sandoval began his dance studies at the age of six. When he was 11, he began appearing on Brazilian TV and at 18 he was invited to Los Angeles to attend the Debbie Allen Dance Academy and the L.A. Tap Festival.
Nakotah LaRance has been called The World’s Best Hoop Dancer. At the young age of 26, LaRance took top honors in the Hear Museum’s 25thWorld Hoop Dance Championships both last year and this year, and is a master of his own 5-hoop routine. The Native American Hoop Dancer is also an actor (he’s appeared in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and two other motion pictures), LaRance has also spent time as a featured artist with Cirque du Soleil’s Totem and his dancing was featured in a music video for The Knocks and Fred Falke.
Alash is a trio of master throat singers from Tuva, a tiny republic in Central Asia. Named for the Alash River, which runs through Tuva, Alash is made up of three members who were trained in traditional Tuvan music since their childhood. Alash has won a number of awards, and has been praised by media in America, including the Washington Post calling their music “utterly stunning.”
Shodekeh is a professional beat boxer who has been performing since he was 9-years-old. He credits the popularity of the artform in the 1980s as his inspiration to give it a try. Calling beatboxers “vocal mad scientists,” Shodekeh holds the title of Best Poetry DJ for the 2006 Poetry for the People Awards, and won an award for Baltimore’s Best Accompanist in 2007.