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The Warsaw Voice » Other » September 2, 2009
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World Music in Warsaw
September 2, 2009   
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Senegalese vocalist Youssou N'Dour will be opening this year's Cross-Culture Warsaw Festival at the Palace of Culture with a concert in the Sala Kongresowa Sept. 13.

Youssou N'Dour is Africa's greatest contemporary vocalist. The singer, composer and percussionist is an exponent of mbalax, a musical genre popular in Senegal and Gambia.

Young Cape Verdean singer Tcheka will be appearing at the opening concert. Tcheka is recognized around the world as one of his country's foremost musical ambassadors.

Ana Moura, one of Portugal's most outstanding fado performers, and Brazilian singer, composer and guitarist Márcio Faraco will be giving a concert Sept. 14.

Meanwhile, Sept. 15 will see the baton passed on to hip-hop music that combines urban rhythms with world music influences. Legendary Cuban émigrés Orishas, likewise making their first appearance here, will be headlining. Orishas have put their musical birthright through the wringer and gone on to blitz the world with hits like "Represent."

The Master Musicians of Jajouka from Morocco will be holding sway over the next day of the festival. Custodians of a tradition harking back 1,300 years, this group have nevertheless found themselves working with modern music heavyweights like Rolling Stones founder Brian Jones, free jazz supremo Ornette Coleman and avant-garde musician, composer, producer and label owner Bill Laswell. The Master Musicians will be sharing the stage with Kwadrofonik. This Polish quartet of two pianists and two percussionists perform 20th and 21st-century classical music together with idiosyncratic and outré interpretations of Polish folk music.

The following day will see Spain's Al Andaluz Project and Poland's Mosaic perform. Al Andaluz fuses three disparate groups and brings together three musical traditions from old Spain. Mosaic, by way of contrast, performs medieval and renaissance music from Poland, the Balkans and the Middle East.

Vishwa Mohan Bhatt will be appearing Sept. 18, as will Indialucia, a multinational project put together and headed by Polish guitarist Micha³ Czachowski. Bhatt is an outstanding Indian instrumentalist, best known for his virtuosity on the Mohan veena, an instrument of his own invention. The Mohan veena is something of a cross between a traditional Indian veena and a Hawaiian guitar.

The festival closes Sept. 19 with concerts put on by the masters and apprentices of the Cross-Culture workshops as well as percussion ensemble Farafina from Burkina Faso. Farafina have worked with many well-known Western musicians in their more than 30 years together and have appeared at such prestigious events as Nelson Mandela's birthday concert, where they performed before a crowd of 72,000 at London's Wembley Stadium.


Sept. 13-19, 7 p.m.
Sala Kongresowa, Palace of Culture,
1 Defilad Square, tickets zl.100, zl.60 and zl.30

Festival Program
The Cross-Culture Warsaw Festival was initiated by the City of Warsaw in 2005 to showcase talented performers in world music and culture. The festival is one of the largest events of its kind in Central and Eastern Europe.

Details: www.festival.warszawa.pl

Sept. 13 (Sunday)
11 a.m., Festival Marquee
Children's Concert with children from Burkina Faso, Morocco, Poland and Japan
7 p.m., Sala Kongresowa
Youssou N'Dour (Senegal), Tcheka (Cape Verde Islands)
Sept. 14 (Monday)
7 p.m., Festival Marquee
Ana Moura (Portugal), Márcio Faraco (Brazil)
Sept. 15 (Tuesday)
7 p.m., Festival Marquee
Orishas (Cuba), Sister Fa (Senegal)
Sept. 16 (Wednesday)
7 p.m., Festival Marquee
The Master Musicians of Jajouka featuring Bachir Attar (Morocco), Kwadrofonik (Poland)
Sept. 17 (Thursday)
7 p.m., Festival Marquee
Al Andaluz Project (Spain), Mosaic (Poland)
Sept. 18 (Friday)
7 p.m., Festival Marquee
Vishwa Mohan Bhatt (India), Indialucia (Poland/Spain/India)
Sept. 19 (Saturday)
7 p.m., Festival Marquee
Final concert from workshop participants
Sept. 19 (Saturday)
7 p.m., Festival Marquee
Farafina (Burkina Faso) plus a concert from the musical workshop masters
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