Peace Arch concert series celebrates traditional music from diverse cultures

Concerts feature music and dance from Brazil, West Africa, Tibet and India

The Washington State Parks Folk and Traditional Arts Program invites the public to the annual International Concert Series at Peace Arch Historical State Park on the U.S.- Canadian border in Whatcom County.

The free one-hour concerts start at 2 p.m. each Sunday in August, beginning Aug. 5, at Peace Arch Historical State Park, 1900 A St., Blaine. The series celebrates the Pacific Northwest’s rich tapestry of cultures and traditions with music and dance performances from communities around the world, including Brazil, West Africa, Tibet and India.

Photo by Morf Morford

Photo by Morf Morford

Concerts are scheduled as follows:

Aug. 5: Eduardo Mendonça & Show Brazil

This performance showcases the culture of Brazil with music, martial arts and dancing. Eduardo Mendonça and his vibrant group will perform a variety of music and dance forms from Brazil including:

Bossa nova and samba.

Música popular brasileira (MPB), Brazilian popular music.

Ijexa, the music and rhythm from Candomblé religious rituals.

Baiao, rural music from the state of Pernambuco; dances and elaborate costumes associated with carnival.

Maracatú, an ancient carnival tradition.

Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art form performed to music.

Aug. 12: Gansango Music & Dance

Gansango Music & Dance is a multicultural group of international dancers and musicians who perform traditional and contemporary dance and music from West Africa. The company is directed by Etienne Cakpo. Originally from Benin in West Africa, Cakpo is now a teacher and choreographer based in Seattle. Performances often feature:

Traditional dance from Benin, including Vodoun ritualistic dances.

Regional social ceremony dances such as the Chenkoumé dance from Savalou in Benin.

Royal historical dances such as the Zehli dance from the late 1800s.

The group plays a variety of instruments including the kora, a 21-string harp, and such African drums as  the djembe and the djun-djun. The group’s modern dance arrangements are based on traditional movement and rhythms, and their West African costumes provide color and cultural context.

Photo by Morf Morford

Photo by Morf Morford

Aug. 19: Lharik Dhakpa and Tsering Dolker

Lharik Dhakpa and Tsering Dolker trained at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts based in Dharamsala, India—the premier institute for the preservation of the exiled Tibetan artistic and cultural heritage. They perform several styles of song and dance from across the Tibetan plateau including:

Tashi Sholpa,a masked dance usually performed at the beginning of a function to bring good luck and success.

Dranyen Shapdo, a quick-step Tibetan lute dance.

Nangma, classical music from central Tibet

Traditional folk songs.

Aug. 26: Srivani Jade Ensemble

The Srivani Jade Ensemble plays soulful North Indian music featuring harmonium, tabla (a North Indian drum) and rich vocals. Founder Srivani Jade trained at an early age in the Carnatic musical traditions of Southern India. Since relocating to Seattle from India, she embraced the Hindustani musical traditions of Northern India. Hindustani classical music is beautiful, highly complex and allows for improvisation and exploration of musical modes known as ragas. Jade is the recipient of a Fellowship Award from Washington State Arts Commission, two Folk Arts Master-Apprentice grants and an Artist Support Program residency from Jack Straw Productions.

The concerts are free. A Discover Pass is required for vehicle access to the park. www.discoverpass.wa.gov.

About the Folk and Traditional Arts Program: The Peace Arch International Concert Series is a part of a broader series of events celebrating Washington’s diverse cultures presented by the Folk and Traditional Arts Program, with funding provided by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as support from the Washington State Parks Foundation.

For more information about the Folks and Traditional Arts program, including upcoming events, visit: http://parks.state.wa.us/folkarts, or contact Makaela Kroin, Program Coordinator, at Makaela.Kroin@parks.wa.gov or (360) 902-8635.

About Peace Arch Historical State Park: The 30-acre park, which lies on the boundary between the United States and Canada, is the ideal setting for this concert series, which celebrates the rich cultures of the Pacific Northwest. The day-use park is known for its lush gardens, vast lawns, panoramic views of Point Roberts and Vancouver Island and the 67-foot Peach Arch monument. For more information about the park, visit: http://parks.state.wa.us/562/Peace-Arch

– Washington State Parks