It’s a weekend of “firsts” for the World Music Celebration.It’s the first time traditional Chinese music will be featured, the first time local event participants will collaborate with Chinese musicians and the first time the Chinese musicians will have visited the U.S. The event begins Friday night on the University of Idaho campus.
“It’s brand new for all of us,” said Navin Chettri, event organizer.
Although the event is in its fifth year, this is the first time it has included Chinese traditional instruments and musicians, a connection that was developed in partnership with the UI Confucius Institute.
“I’ve never played with a Chinese musician,” said Chettri, who is a Nepalese master drummer. “But the music has similar sounds as our (Nepali) folk music, there are similar scales and modes.”
Still, the fusion of Chinese, African and Nepali music will be an experiment of sorts, as students and musicians weave varied styles together. The evening concerts will include individual performances as well as collaborations with student musicians and vocalists.The UI Jazz Choir, Jazz Band, World Beat Ensemble and Flute Ensemble will perform.
Although conversations will rely heavily on translators, Chettri believes the collaborative process will flow much more readily once they participate together in the common language of music.
Between the Friday and Saturday concerts is a Saturday afternoon workshop that is free and open to the public. The workshop will give the visiting musicians an opportunity to share more about their music and musical instruments. In addition, Chettri will hold a workshop on spoken rhythms, which is the use of voice to emulate the sounds of traditional drums, a technique featured in the evening performances.
The event is designed as a “field trip in reverse.” Instead of bringing students and community members to foreign cultures for music exposure and experiences, world musicians are brought to them. In addition to broadening their musical horizons and piquing curiosity, the event serves to demonstrate similarities.
“More than the differences, I think there are a lot of commonalities,” Chettri said. “So it’ll be fun to see that.”
If you go:
WHAT: World Music Celebration
WHEN: Performances at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; workshops 1 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Haddock Performance Hall in the Lionel Hampton School of Music on the University of Idaho campus
COST: $8/adults, $5/students and senior citizens with tickets available at the door; workshops are free of charge