05 September 2009

Your Global Umbrella

Seattle's Bumbershoot festival is named, of course, for that rain-shedding implement that can come in so helpful when navigating the Pacific Northwest's long rainy season. You may need such a tool* for this year's festival, which starts today. The forecast is for rain, and also for some excellent music (and film, dance, comedy, theater, food, and busking).Vieux Farka Toure - Fondo - on SoundRoots.org

Bumbershoot echoes popular culture, with most acts falling into the pop/rock genre. Still, the globally minded will find plenty of interest. I'll be there on Monday, finally getting a chance to see the Canada based Indo-Celtic troupe Delhi 2 Dublin as well as African guitarslinger Vieux Farka Toure (VFT video).

[mp3] Vieux Farka Toure: Fafa
from the album Fondo

Here are Bumbershoot's global highlights:

Saturday 5 September
Adrian Xavier (2:15pm, Fisher Green Stage): Considered to be among the finest American-born reggae artists, Adrian Xavier takes elements of hip-hop, funk and ska to create deep, powerful grooves and heavy dub reggae sounds. His latest album, R Nature, reflects Xavier's connection with the earth and his global viewpoint.

Cordero (5pm, Northwest Court Stage): Fronted by Ani Cordero, this quartet blends indie pop with the earthy vibe and sultry tone of Latin pop to create songs with a romantic flair. A mix of Spanish and English lyrics, a trumpet player and rhythmic blends have propelled Cordero to the adoration of fans and critics alike.

Os Mutantes (7:30pm, Fisher Green Stage):
psychedelic-rock pioneers Os Mutantes were formed by the Baptista brothers in 1965. Considered one of the most dynamic, talented and radical bands of the psychedelic era, the original trio reached international success in the '70s. A revamped Os Mutantes returned from hiatus in 2006 for their first world tour in a decade.

COBU (8:15pm, Performing Arts Stage): Founder and member of the off-Broadway hit STOMP, Yako Miyamoto directs COBU, combining elements of Taiko drumming with rhythmic tap dancing. COBU's style of "dance like drumming, drum like dancing" has made them one of the most unique and mind-blowing groups of our time. This is COBU's West Coast premiere. Presented as part of Bumbershoot's Arts Integration Project.

Sunday 6 September
Kore Ionz (12:30pm, Fisher Green Stage): Seattle's Kore Ionz connect roots reggae with dynamic rock and world rhythms, producing high-energy grooves with a conscious message. With their global sound and voices, the band promotes awareness of social injustice, donating half the proceeds of their album Half-Hour Revolution to Seattle non-profit The Service Board.

COBU (1:30pm, Performing Arts Stage): Founder and member of the off-Broadway hit STOMP, Yako Miyamoto directs COBU, combining elements of Taiko drumming with rhythmic tap dancing. COBU's style of "dance like drumming, drum like dancing" has made them one of the most unique and mind-blowing groups of our time. This is COBU's West Coast premiere. Presented as part of Bumbershoot's Arts Integration Project.

Extra Golden: (4pm, Fisher Green Stage): With two members hailing from America and two from Kenya, Extra Golden is truly a cross-cultural group. Their exuberant mix of African and American musical traditions includes bluesy slide guitars, dance-inducing African rhythms, soulful organs, and swiftly picked electric guitar-perfect for a sunny day.

Michael Franti & Spearhead (7:15pm, Samsung Mobile Mainstage):
Michael Franti & Spearhead are known for their soulful music and thought provoking lyrics. Their 2008 release, All Rebel Rockers, features the legendary rhythm section of Sly & Robbie. The album is being called their most ambitious and musically stimulating record to date.

Monday 7 September
Delhi 2 Dublin (2:15pm, Fisher Green Stage): Delhi 2 Dublin includes musical elements from all corners of the world, combining electronica and acoustic sounds to create a sound that is truly a fusion of world music. The quintet takes listeners on a musical journey, stopping by Delhi to pick up a little bhangra flavor, mixing in funky backbeats, and adding a sprinkle of Celtic fiddle.

COBU (3:45pm, Performing Arts Stage): Founder and member of the off-Broadway hit STOMP, Yako Miyamoto directs COBU, combining elements of Taiko drumming with rhythmic tap dancing. COBU's style of "dance like drumming, drum like dancing" has made them one of the most unique and mind-blowing groups of our time. This is COBU's West Coast premiere. Presented as part of Bumbershoot's Arts Integration Project.

Vieux Farka Toure (7:30pm, Fisher Green Stage): Son of legendary musician Ali Farka Touré, Vieux is a fast rising Malian singer-songwriter. Following his father's musical greatness, Vieux has produced two albums of dance floor crushers and hip-hop infused funk. Mixed with dubbed-out electronica, his hypnotic and energetic vocals deliver music that keeps you moving.

Sly & Robbie & the Taxi Game (9:15pm, Fisher Green Stage): As producers and musicians, Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare have changed the Jamaican music scene, welding together reggae sounds with dancehall beats. It's estimated they have played on over 200,000 tracks since their meeting in 1975. 2006's Rhythm Doubles earned the duo a Grammy nomination for Best Reggae Album.


*Though of course real Cascadians shun the umbrella in favor of the layered look with an outer waterproof shell. This may be because we like to keep both hands free, or because the rain -- though incessant -- is usually not heavy and one looks silly using an umbrella in a light mist.

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