Inner Asian and Uralic Regions Represented at Lotus 2013 World Festival
The 2013 Lotus World Music Festival ran from September 25th to September 29th, reaching a large range of audiences through a variety of ticketed and free to the public events. 2013 was a particularly special Lotus as it celebrated its 20th anniversary. This year the IAUNRC was proud to sponsor performances by three groups: Frigg (Finland/Norway), Kardemimmit (Finland), and Srinivas Krishnan, Abbos Kosimov, Homayun Sakhi, and Friends (Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, India).
Frigg combines talents from Finland and Norway into a musical blend all their own that they call Nordgrass. Combining Nordic new-grass and American bluegrass, Nordgrass is high energy string music played on fiddles, an upright bass, guitar, and mandolin. Frigg first performed at Lotus in 2004 and quickly won over audiences, though these days their tours take them all around the world. Their grassroots music showcases a grassroots approach to life, or as they say “Energy, fun, humour, and interaction are Frigg’s most important virtues on any gig.” Audiences at the Thursday and Friday evening performances livened up the Buskirk-Chumley Theater by often dancing along.
The Finnish female folk-band Kardemimmit gave a number of performances during Lotus 2013, including a free demonstration at Lotus in the Park on Saturday. Kardemimmit is a quartet of women who all play the kantele, a Finnish zither with 15-string and 38-string versions, and sing. During their Lotus in the Park demonstration, Kardemimmit demonstrated how the two types of kantele are built and played differently and discussed the legacy of Finland’s musical preservation and education efforts. Many of the oldest folk songs only had lyrics recorded, as folk melodies were considered too simplistic and common. This is one reason Kardemimmit is so renowned in Finland, as they are adept at writing new tunes and musical arrangements for these traditional folk lyrics.
Srinivas Krishnan, an Indian master percussionist at Miami University (of Oxford,OH) is renowned for bringing diverse, exciting ensembles to play at Lotus Fest for every one of its twenty years. A feature performer this year is Abbos Kosimov from Uzbekistan. He is a master of the doria, or dayereh, a frame drum with jingles that is popular throughout Iran, the Balkans, and many Central Asian countries. The Doira is used in many ritual ceremonies of the Uzbeks and is closely tied to Uzbek history, religion, heritage, and cultural traditions. Another feature performer this year is Homayun Sakhi from Afghanistan. A virtuoso performer of the rubâb, a lute-like stringed instrument, his style was honed during Afghanistan’s long years of armed conflict, a period when music was censored, repressed, and even banned at times. All the performers gave solo demonstrations and then played pieces together, showing audiences a truly impressive virtuoso performance.