26th Annual Lotus World Music & Arts Festival Sept. 26-29

(BLOOMINGTON) – The 26th annual Lotus World Music & Arts Festival will once again fill the streets of Bloomington with sounds and sights from around the globe from September 26-29.

This year’s festival brings 28 artists to 12 venues throughout downtown Bloomington. The bands come from Bali, Brazil, Chad, China, Congo, Finland, France, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, Mexico, South Korea, Sweden, the United States and beyond.

Established in 1994, the Lotus Festival is one of the oldest world music festivals in the United States and the only festival of its kind in the state of Indiana.

Guilhem Desq is an electric hurdy gurdy player from France, offering a surprising journey around his unusual instrument. Although he draws his energy from his instrument’s tradition, he gets his inspiration mainly from modern music and improvisation. He keeps exploring the endless sound possibilities of the hurdy gurdy to create a universe where places, times and feelings are mixed all together

The festival is well known for debuting world-music artists in the U.S. and has become a must-play festival for the best international performers and creative talents.

KOKOKO! is a collective born in Kinshasa capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a creative collision of different artists which fused at a block party. They’re best known for creating a contemporary aesthetic all their own by re-wiring and up-cycling materials such as metal, cans, engine parts and plastic containers found in Kinshasa’s streets into vital sculptural resonant dance music.

The festival kicks off with a concert at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater on Thursday, September 26, at 7 p.m., featuring Çudamani, a full gamelan orchestra from Bali.

The remarkable Çudamani ensemble of musicians and dancers is based in the village of Pengosekan, Bali, a district known for its traditional arts, craft, and dance. Its full gamelan orchestra (including metal gongs, xylophones, metallophones, drums, and bamboo flutes) accompanies dancers whose expressive, precise movements often mirror or answer the music. Performances bring to life tales of gods and heroes in Balinese myth and history.

At the kickoff concert, a special short film by Jim Krause will be debuted, showcasing 25 years pf Lotus history and art.

KOKOKO! is a collective born in Kinshasa capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It consists of musical instrument inventors from the Ngwaka neighbourhood, electronic producer débruit, Makara Bianko (aka the Lingwala devil) and his dancers bursting forth from the Lingwala neighbourhood.

Starting September 27, the festival revolves around evening showcases on Friday and Saturday nights, when attendees can sample dozens of varied sets each evening.

A complete schedule of performances is available online.

Lotus also offers a robust and easy-to-use mobile schedule for download here.

In addition to two packed days of artist appearances, 2019 festival attendees can also take advantage of great free events.

This year, for the first time in nearly 20 years, Lotus is offering a free outdoor performance, “Lotus in the Meadow”, along with campus partner the Indiana Memorial Union, on Thursday, September 26, at 9 p.m. in Dunn Meadow.

47Soul is a Jordanian Palestinian electronic music group who are one of the main forces behind the Shamstep electronic dance music movement in the Middle East.

Lotus in the Meadow features Jordanian/Palestinian artists 47Soul. Other free events on Saturday, September 28, include the family favorite Lotus in the Park, Festival Unwind Yoga I, an interactive workshop with festival artists Frontera Bugalu, and a special nighttime street performance by IU’s
Marching Hundred Drumline.

They’re best known for creating a contemporary aesthetic all their own by re-wiring and up-cycling materials such as metal, cans, engine parts and plastic containers found in Kinshasa’s streets into vital sculptural resonant dance music.

Other free events on Saturday, September 28, include the family favorite Lotus in the Park, Festival Unwind Yoga I, an interactive workshop with festival artists Frontera Bugalu, and a special nighttime street performance by IU’s Marching Hundred Drumline.

Frontera Bugalu pays homage to music unique to the long Texas/Mexico border that stretches from Brownsville to El Paso: high-energy cumbia blended with the “border folk” of traditional accordion-fronted Mexican music and of other Latin rhythms.

More free events on Sunday, September 29 include Festival Unwind Yoga II and a songwriting workshop with Sofia Viola with Dat Garcia. The festival ends with the Sunday Closing Concert where the purchase of a Festival pin is the admission price.

Following a large 25th anniversary celebration in 2018, this year’s festival will unfold under the leadership of new Lotus Executive Director Tamara Loewenthal, who was appointed in June.

Although new to the executive director role, Loewenthal has more than 20 years of experience with the Lotus organization and festival in various capacities, and she says this year’s lineup offers an excellent mix of old favorites and new discoveries.

“The Lotus Festival has been close to my heart for a long time,” said Loewenthal, “and I could not be more pleased to have a leadership role in bringing the 26th festival alive in Bloomington. Lotus ‘regulars’ are going to be thrilled by the return of groups such as Movits!, Väsen, and Le Vent du Nord, but we’re also bringing wonderful new surprises such as Çudamani, Frontera Bugalú, and the Congolese street band KOKOKO! It’s a dynamic lineup, all around.”

A complete list of artists is available at lotusfest.org.

All-inclusive, weekend, and single-day passes are available online, by phone, and in-person purchases via the BCT Box Office.

The Lotus World Music & Arts Festival is made possible by the generous support of community partners, businesses, and granting agencies, including presenting sponsors Indiana University and the IU Bloomington Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President.

A complete list of sponsors can be found here.

About Lotus Education & Arts Foundation

The Lotus Education & Arts Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization based in Bloomington, Indiana, with a mission to create opportunities to experience, celebrate, and explore the diversity of the world’s cultures, through music and the arts. For more information, visit www.lotusfest.org/ or call 812-336-6599.

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