HOUSTON - The 2012 Houston International Festival, spotlighting Argentina, takes place April 21-22 and April 28-29 in the streets, plazas and parks of downtown Houston.
The festival features six stages of music and dance, educational and cultural exhibits in the Chevron Living Museum, children's activities in the Green Mountain Energy Kids World, international arts and crafts markets, international cuisine vendors, street performances, and much more.
Headliners on the Bud Light World Stage include Los Lonely Boys, Galactic, War and Steel Pulse.
Gates open at 11 a.m. and the festival ends at 8 p.m. Advance tickets are $12 adults, $4 children 3-12. Tickets at the gate are $18 for adults, $5 for children 3-12.
On Saturday night, April 21, the Houston International Festival is proud to present "Eternal Tango," featuring the Hector Del Curto Orchestra and Dancers, performing in the Hobby Center's Sarofim Hall. Hector Del Curto is considered to be the finest tango musician of his generation, and his group includes members of the longtime touring production "Forever Tango."
Rick Mitchell, Director of Performing Arts recommends twelve can't-miss acts at the 2012 Houston International Festival you may not know about. For more, visit http://www.ifest.org
Austin Piazzolla Quintet
April 21, 12:30 p.m. 29-95 Texas Entertainment Stage, 6:30 p.m. H-E-B Cultural Stage
This band features some of the best and most versatile musicians in Austin, including accordionist Mike Maddux and pianist Jonathan Greer, playing the music of Argentina’s Astor Piazzolla, whose harmonically-complex compositions present tango as an artistic equal to jazz and classical music, and who is now rightfully considered to be one of the greatest formal musical minds of the 20th Century, in the pantheon with Bartok, Stravinsky, Copeland and Ellington.
April 21, 2:30 p.m. Bud Light World Stage, 6:30 p.m. Center Stage presented by KHOU 11
April 22, 1:00 p.m. Center Stage Presented by KHOU 11, 4:30 p.m. H-E-B Cultural Stage
Born in Ecuador into a famous musical family and raised in New York’s Golden Age of Punk listening to rock, funk and reggae, guitarist/vocalist Cecilia Villar Eljuri plays Latin rock with passionate vocals, heavy basslines and some serious guitar solos. She has released two critically acclaimed albums with producer Yossi Fine (David Bowie, Lou Reed) and the drum’n’bass section of Sly and Robbie. The 4:30 p.m. set on April 22 will be solo and unplugged, and could tilt in a more traditional direction.
Los Amigos Invisibles (Pictured above.)
April 21, 4:30 p.m. Bud Light World Stage
April 22, 2:30 p.m. Center Stage presented by KHOU 11
Formed 20 years ago in Venezuela as an alternative to both traditional Latin dance music and heavy rock en espanol, Los Amigos Invisibles was introduced to North American audiences with the superb, club-friendly 2004 album The Venezuelan Zinga Son, Vol. 1, released on David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label. The group has since scored multiple Grammy nominations in the Latin Alternative category, including a 2012 nomination for the album Not So Commercial. The group has a reputation for wild live performances, mixing South American styles such as cumbia and samba with North American jazz and funk influences into a steamy, spicy-hot tropical stew.
Hector Del Curto Tango
April 21, 2:30 p.m. Center Stage Presented by KHOU 11; 8:00 p.m. Hobby Center Sarofim Hall
April 22, 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. Center Stage presented by KHOU 11
April 29, 2:30 and 6:30 p.m. Center Stage presented by KHOU 11
Hector Del Curto plays the bandoneon, an Argentine accordion and the essential melodic and textural instrument in tango music. As a teenager, he played in the classic dance orchestra of Osvaldo Pugliese. More recently, he has served as the orchestra director for the spectacular Broadway show “Forever Tango” and currently tours with pianist Pablo Ziegler, Astor Piazzolla’s last music director, whose Nuevo Tango ensemble is considered to be the living heir to Piazzolla’s legacy of brilliance. Del Curto’s musicians and dancers include several current and former members from the cast of “Forever Tango.” They’ll be performing twice daily on Center Stage on April 22 and April 29. But for the total “Eternal Tango” experience, with dramatic lighting and elegant costume changes spotlighting a troupe of the world’s finest tango dancers, you need to be at the festival’s official Opening Night concert at the Hobby Center’s Sarofim Hall, 8:00 p.m., April 21. Buy your tickets to Eternal Tango here.
April 22, 2:30 p.m., Bud Light World Stage
This South African band mixes reggae with traditional Zulu styles such as mbaqanga as well as rock, blues and ska on its fifth album, Manifesto. They have been bridging racial and cultural divides from Cape Town to Amsterdam with a politically-conscious message for the past decade, and recently backed Ziggy Marley on his “Africa Unite” tour of the Motherland. This performance marks Tidal Waves’ Houston debut.
April 28, 2:30 p.m., Bud Light World Stage
Guitarist Omar “Bombino” Moctar hails from the caravan outpost of Agadez, in the West African nation of Niger. His electrifying jams recall the celebrated desert blues of the late Ali Farka Toure and fellow Tauregs Tinariwen, as well as rock and blues guitar gods Jimi Hendrix, John Lee Hooker and Jimmy Page. His debut album, Agadez, was cited on a number of influential Top 10 World Music critics’ lists, and he is currently embarked on his first North American tour.
Jacqui Sutton with the Frontier Jazz Orchestra
April 28, 2:30 p.m., Americas Stage
Jacqui Sutton arrived in Houston in 2008 after a successful career as a stage actress on the West Coast and in New York. A lyric soprano, she is now becoming known as one of the city’s finest jazz vocalists. As indicated by the title, her debut album, Billie and Dolly, honors the unlikely kindred spirits of Billie Holiday and Dolly Parton, and her Frontier Jazz Orchestra features several of Houston’s top jazz players playing unconventional arrangements that sometimes call for banjo and cello.
April 28, 4:30 p.m., Bud Light World Stage; 6:30 p.m., Center Stage presented by KHOU 11
Chico Trujillo is the most popular band in Chile – there are YouTube clips showing soccer stadiums full of fans bouncing up and down -- and one of the most popular party bands in South America. The band’s exuberant sound is rooted in cumbia, which originated in Colombia but is now regarded as pan-Latin dance music, and incorporates elements of bolero, reggae and traditional Chilean music under the flag of alternative youth culture. These performances mark the band’s Houston debut, and promise to be a party to remember.
Sol Driven Train
April 29, 12:30 p.m., Americas Stage; 4:30 p.m. 29-95 Texas Entertainment Stage
From Charleston, SC, SDT has been touring pretty much fulltime since 2005. Their sound, which would fit loosely into the category of “jam band,” combines Southern rock, swampy funk, world beat grooves and pop melodies. They’ve shared bills with everyone from Michael Franti to Blues Traveler, and are becoming regulars at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
April 29, 2:30 p.m., Americas Stage; 5 p.m. Center Stage presented by KHOU 11
Pedrito Martinez is considered by some to be the world’s greatest living conga drummer. He is much in demand as a sideman on recordings, and he previously played the festival as a member of the popular touring band Yerba Buena. Born in Havana, Cuba and based in New York, Pedrito’s sound is rooted in Afro-Cuban rumba and the polyrhythms and chants of Santeria. His band includes second percussionist Jhair Sala, from Peru, bassist Alvaro Benavides, from Venezuela, and pianist/vocalist Araicne Trujillo, from Cuba.
April 29, 2:30 p.m., Bud Light World Stage
SOJA is a reggae band on the move, having sold more than 150,000 albums worldwide, with fans that follow from town to town like a wandering tribe of Deadheads. Buenos Aires has a particularly devoted fan base. Formed in Washington D.C. by singer-guitarist Jacob Hemphill, the group cites influences from Bob Marley to Johnny Cash and Rage Against the Machine. The band’s most recent album, Strength to Survive, was produced by John Alagia, who previously has worked with Dave Matthews and John Mayer, among others.
Seun Kuti and Egypt ‘80
4:30 p.m,, Bud Light World Stage
Seun Kuti is the son of Fela Kuti, who is to contemporary Afropop what James Brown is to funk and Bob Marley is to reggae – it is impossible to imagine what the music would sound like without him. Egypt ‘80 is his late father’s former band, playing extended funk grooves underpinned by Nigerian tribal drumming, with an updated but no less politically-pointed lyrical focus. From Africa With Fury: Rise, Seun Kuti’s second album, was co-produced by Brian Eno and John Reynolds, and was nominated for a 2012 Grammy in the World Music category.
For more, visit http://www.ifest.org