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The Warsaw Voice » Stage & Screen » September 2, 2011
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World Music Comes to Warsaw
September 2, 2011   
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In September, Warsaw city center will host the seventh Cross Culture festival, one of Central and Eastern Europe’s largest world music events, organized by the city’s cultural organization, Stołeczna Estrada. Between Sept. 25 and Oct. 1, festival concerts will be held in a marquee next to the Palace of Culture. As in previous years, the festival will feature a variety of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern artists. This September, Cross Culture will also turn to northern Europe and its musical heritage.

The music of the Iberian Peninsula promises to be a highlight. The biggest names include award-winning Sara Tavares, a Portuguese multi-instrumentalist blending the music of her home country with African and North American influences. Flamenco lovers should not miss the concert by Carmen Linares, deemed one of the finest Spanish singers in the genre. Another artist hailing from Spain, Mercedes Peon, merges traditional Spanish Galician melodies with modern rock and electronica.

Other Southern European cultures retain a strong presence, with Greek, Turkish and Corsican performers showcasing a variety of traditional instruments. The Greek artist Psarantonis plays a type of lyre dating back to the Middle Ages and the Byzantine Empire. The young singer Aynur Dogan draws on Turkish and Kurdish musical heritage and Turkey’s folk instruments, including the guitar-like saz. The Corsican ensemble Barbara Furtuna, for its part, revives the island’s choral traditions.

A touch of both Africa and the Middle East can be found in the work of the Israeli-Ethiopian Idan Raichel Project, the biggest commercial success on Israel’s music scene in recent years. Another hugely successful artist, Nigerian Afrobeat star Femi Kuti, will display his saxophone skills in concert with his new band Positive Force.

Northern Europe will be represented by the German ensemble Corvus Corax, offering a fresh interpretation of the country’s medieval music, and two Scandinavian acts. The Swedish band Hoven Droven plays rock with a distinct folk flavor, and the Finnish accordion virtuoso Maria Kalaniemi merges ethnic influences with an impressive classical background. A concert by world-famous jazz vocalist Urszula Dudziak, in turn, will prove a treat for fans of Polish music.

The concerts will be accompanied by a series of music workshops and masterclasses open to the public. Classes (such as in flamenco and Middle Eastern percussion, traditional Polish vocal techniques or Italian folk dances) will be taught by artists including Israeli percussionist Zohar Fresco.

J.K.

A pass for all festival events and tickets for individual concerts can be purchased online at www.estrada.com.pl/46
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