IFEST ANNOUNCES MUSIC LINEUP FOR 2008 EVENT IN DOWNTOWN HOUSTON SPOTLIGHTING “OUT OF AFRICA”
HEADLINERS INCLUDE BUDDY GUY, THE NEVILLE BROTHERS, THE WAILERS, HUGH MASEKELA, THE NATIONAL DANCE THEATER OF ETHIOPIA, HABIB KOITE, THE GARIFUNA COLLECTIVE, EMELINE MICHEL, SHEMEKA COPELAND, BETTYE LAVETTE, THE LOWRIDER BAND, GRUPO FANTASMA, SAMARABALOUF, CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE, SONNY LANDRETH, TROMBONE SHORTY, CAROLINA CHOCOLATE DROPS, RED STICK RAMBLERS, SOUL REBELS, STEP RIDEAU, TERRANCE SIMIEN AND MANY MORE!!!
HOUSTON – The 2008 Houston International Festival, honoring “Out of Africa: The Three Journeys,” is proud to announce the music lineup showcasing a host of top artists from around the globe. The 37th annual Festival returns to downtown Houston April 19-20 & 26-27, featuring continuous music, dance and cultural performances on ten stages.
Headlining the Bud Light World Music Stage are Chicago blues guitar hero Buddy Guy, April 19; Jamaican reggae legends, the Wailers, performing the classic hits of Bob Marley, April 20; New Orleans funk masters, the Neville Brothers, making their iFest debut April 26; and South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela, leading a Pan-African finale April 27. African, Afro-Caribbean and African-American bands will perform side by side throughout the day, demonstrating the cultural continuity from Africa to the Americas and back again. International acts include Habib Koite (Mali); Emeline Michel (Haiti); Major Riley (Trinidad); Joaquin Diaz (Dominican Republic); and The Garifuna Collective (Belize) performing a tribute to the late world music hero Andy Palacio. They will be joined by blues belter Shemeka Copeland; soul revivalist and GRAMMY award nominated Bettye LaVette; salsa/cumbia kings Grupo Fantasma; and the ultrafunky Lowrider Band, featuring the original members of War, plus Houston’s own D.R.U.M. Some of Texas’ finest DJ sound systems will keep the party going between sets.
WaMu Center Stage, built over the Reflection Pond in front of Houston’s City Hall, will
showcase the North American debut of the National Dance Theatre of Ethiopia both Festival weekends. This colorfully clad, 16-member troupe will perform a stunning variety of traditional and modern choreographed routines. Their incredible performances will be accompanied by a live band playing Ethiopian-style music that has developed at the crossroads of East Africa, North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.
The Cotton Club, a recreation of Harlem’s fabled Prohibition Era nightclub, will draw a crowd with the theatrically showcased sounds of 1920s and 1930s traditional jazz and blues. Some of Houston’s most respected African-American singers and musicians will honor the legends of black music, including Nelson Mills III (Cab Calloway), Gloria Edwards (Dinah Washington), Diunna Greenleaf (Bessie Smith), Barrie Lee Hall (Duke Ellington), Carolyn Blanchard (Lena Horne) and Leo Polk (Louis Armstrong).
The Louisiana Stage now in its third year will again feature a distinctive Gulf Coast gumbo of blues, zydeco, Cajun and New Orleans brass bands, along with side helpings of gospel, swing, country and rock. On April 19, the French gypsy trio, Samarambalouf, will co-host a Cajun/swing jam session with Lafayette’s amazing Red Stick Ramblers and the Carolina Chocolate Drops, a young trio playing authentic African-American string band music in the 1920s style. April 20 boasts a killer lineup of blues harmonica hero Charlie Musselwhite; blues-rock guitar ace Sonny Landreth; New Orleans’ 2007 musician of the year Trombone Shorty; and GRAMMY-award winner zydeco accordionist Terrance Simien. The second weekend offers more zydeco with local faves Brian Jack (4/26) and Step Rideau (4/27); New Orleans’ hip-hop brass band the Soul Rebels (4/26); Houston blues queen Trudy Lynn (4/27); and gospel burners the Jones Family Singers (4/27). Texas’ Hollisters (4/26) and Louisiana’s Bluerunners (4/26) bring a rock edge to Gulf Coast idioms country and zydeco, while Soulfruit (4/27) brings a hip-hop flavor to contemporary gospel music.
The Chron.com Houston Stage, a popular new addition to last year’s music schedule, will again feature top local bands representing a spectrum of Houston music, from blues, R&B and jazz, to reggae, rock and country. April 19 focuses on the blues, with Little Joe Washington, Earl Gilliam, Sonny Boy Terry and the Zydeco Dots. On April 20, longtime local hero Kyle Turner headlines a smooth and funky jazz “Saxophone Summit” with Mike Reed, Kelly Dean and Cameron Scott. April 26 is alt-country day, with folk-rockers Sugar Bayou followed by local chip-kickers Miss Leslie, Sean Reefer and the Resin Valley Boys, Johnny Falstaff and the Hollisters. April 27 boasts an eclectic lineup with the Free Radicals (avant-jazz), the Trenchtown Texans (ska and reggae), Spain Colored Orange (indie-rock) and Plump (jam-band rock).
This year’s Latin Stage boasts an exciting and fresh mix of rock en español, Latin hip-hop and salsa, alongside more traditional conjuntos, mariachi and ballet folklorico. Local faves Felipe Galvan y los Skarnales will headline April 19 along with the Flamin’ Hellcats, Triple and Mariachi Los Coyotes. Pastilla, from Los Angeles, rocks the stage April 20 with Cuervo and Yoko Mono. On April 26, in cooperation with Rockvivo, iFest is pleased to present Mexico City’s Somabit, plus Joaquin Diaz, Los Pistoleros and Espantaparajos. Houston’s rising Latin hip-hop star Karina Nistal and her Rebel Crew headline April 27, with salseros Grupo Batacha and Mary’s Band.
The H-E-B Cultural Stage and the Gullah Stage, both located in the Out of Africa Zone’s educational Living Museum area, represent the cultural heart of this year’s “Out of Africa” theme. From daily drum circles and dance lessons, to griot storytelling, gospel choirs and theatrical vignettes, these stages honor the ongoing ancestral connection between Houston’s African-American and African-Caribbean communities and their African heritage.
The Target International Kids Stage in the Target Kids Zone will again present a daily variety of local dance troupes showcasing Houston’s abundance of cultural diversity – from Africa and Asia to Europe and the Americas – as well as talented young local gospel, R&B and hip-hop performers demonstrating their singing and rapping skills. And for further evidence of Houston’s importance as an international center, the Sister Cities Stage will feature programming by the local Sister Cities Associations.
In addition to the stage and tent performances, the Festival will also present street performances in its entertainment zones, cultural dance performances, as well as an Ethiopian fashion show.
The Festival will take place April 19-20 & 26-27. Saturdays 12 p.m. – 10 p.m. and Sundays 12 p.m. – 8 p.m. The Festival will also host free Friday lunchtime concerts April 18 & 25, 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Tickets go on sale March 10 at Houston area H-E-B stores and online at www.ifest.org.
Early Bird Discount Tickets: $8.50 until April 16. Advance discount tickets will be $12.50 April 16 until April 27 and $15 at the gate; New this year, Target Kids Free (kids 12 and under are FREE).
All proceeds benefit Festival arts and education programs. The Festival suggests easy access parking in all downtown Theater District lots for $6.
For more information on the 2008 Houston International Festival, call 713.654.8808 or access the Festival’s official website at www.ifest.org.