(September 26, 2011- Middletown, Ohio) – – Each year, Middfest provides an exciting line up of performers and entertainers for the Middfest Weekend event. This year Donham Plaza comes alive with the sounds and rhythms of Peru. The audiences are also treated to music, culture and dance from other parts of the world including Indonesia, Thailand, Middle Eastern and African, Eastern European, Cuba, Brazil, Haiti and Eastern Mediterranean.
Three national acts will take one of the two stages on Donham Plaza. Inca Son, a Boston based group, will bring Peruvian culture to life on stage. With their distinctive sound on pan flutes and the many beautiful instruments they make themselves, they share traditional songs and original compositions as they tell the story of the Inca culture of these Native South Americans. Inca has received numerous musical awards including the Boston Music Award for “Best World Act”, 2007 Independent Music Award for “Best World Song”, 2008 Los Angeles Music Award for “Best Traditional World Artists”, 2009 Gold Star Award Massachusetts Cultural Council for Excellence in School Residencies and the 2010 “Best in Performance” Award, City of Cambridge.
Mecca Bodega, featured on ABC “World News Now”, and on New Sounds on “National Public Radio” has toured extensively throughout the U.S. and Australia. Their unique percussive driven sound is created with instruments, including hammered dulcimer, flutes, found objects, guitars, didgeridoo and voice. The result is a lively beat of African drums and Middle Eastern percussion. Founded by brothers Marc and Paul Mueller, they have recorded film scores with a diverse list of industry notables from director Jonathan Demme on HBO’s Subway Stories, to working with Public Enemy and Stephen Stills on the soundtrack for the Spike Lee movie, He Got Game. Most recently, the group is featured in the German documentary, Musik Im Untergrund.
Middfest is also pleased to present Edward Perez, a jazz bassist who will lead a five piece band in sounds of Peruvian Jazz. Perez comes to Middfest fresh from shows in Spain with his Trio at the Guggenheim in Bilbao and Bogui in Madrid. Based now in New York, Perez has worked with a long list of bandleaders including jazz vocal legend Mark Murphy, Latin-jazz Grammy nominees Hector Martignon and Jane Bunnett, Colombian singer Lucia Pulido, trumpet virtuoso Joe Burgstaller of the Canadian Brass, and a host of modern jazz musicians including Martin Bejerano, Anat Cohen, Javier Vercher, Misha Piatigorsky, Francisco Mela, and Gilad Hekselman. Perez spent two years in Lima, Peru exploring afro-Peruvian sounds.
“We are really excited about this year’s performers,” said Virginia Ritan, Middfest Executive Director. “The combined energy of these groups is going to keep everyone moving. Middfest is committed to providing the full cultural exposure for our audience and we are fortunate to be able to do that with local, regional and national acts.”
Local veteran Middfest performers Jim McCutcheon and Columbus based The Ark Band are included in this year’s line -up. McCutcheon, who has been playing Middfest since 1981, is a classical Guitarist who teaches at the University of Dayton and Miami University. His sets include an intricate classical program for adults and whimsical selections especially for children. This is the third Middfest appearance for The Ark Band. Look forward to hearing this award winning group conjure up images of the islands with their own mix of Reggae Calypso and Soca.
Making their first Middfest appearance are the Indonesian Dancers of Illinois. Their performances blend culture and education with entertainment providing audiences with a unique variety of Indonesian dances from different provinces of the country.
As Middfest has done consistently for the last thirty years, there is always an educational component. This year, in honor of the complex history of Peru, Middfest welcomes performer Hank Fincken who will play two roles at Middfest. He will portray Francisco Pizarro credited with conquering the great Inca Empire in the name of Spain in his ONE MAN THEATRE shows. He will also take the role of storyteller during Middfest week under the sponsorship of the Middletown Library System. He will appear in the library’s three branches and in schools throughout the area. Through stories from Peru, he will tell traditional tales passed down through many generations by the Andean people. Fincken has toured extensively throughout the U.S. performing his eight original one-man plays in schools, parks, libraries, festivals and universities throughout the United States. He has published some twenty plays and stories, dozens of essays and one book and was awarded the title Master Artist by the Indiana Arts Commission, Outstanding Performer by the Indiana Theatre Association, and won two national Pinnacle Awards for his teaching of the arts and history through video conferencing.
For a full schedule of performances and exhibits, please visit: www.middfestinternational.org
Middfest is a premier cultural event that celebrates a different country each year through a wide range of programs in the arts, culture and business. These programs culminate on the first weekend of October in and around the Middletown City Building on Donham Plaza in Middletown, Ohio when the featured country is showcased with live entertainment, food, art exhibits, lectures, movies, children’s programs, sports, a business conference, and much more. Since 1981, Middfest International has used its unique approach to presenting a country’s culture to the Midwest and in the process promotes international understanding and peace.
When: Middfest International Weekend – Friday, Sept. 30-Sunday, Oct 2, 2011
Where: One Donham Plaza, Middletown Municipal Building
Admission: $5.00 for Adults; Children under 12 are free
Time: Friday-5:30until 10 pm
Saturday-noon until 10 pm
Sunday-noon until 8 pm (6:00 pm is Peruvian Finale Celebration)