Houston - The 2012 Houston International Festival (HIF) honoring Argentina is pleased to announce the performance stage lineup featuring artists from around the globe as well as national, regional and local headliners. Currently celebrating its 42nd year, the festival returns to Downtown Houston on April 21-22 and April 28-29 with continuous music, dance and cultural performances on seven stages.
“This year’s lineup showcases performers representing Argentina, as well as the South American nations of Venezuela, Chile, Ecuador and Brazil. It will be the most impressive lineup of headliners we have ever had,” said Rick Mitchell, iFest Director of Performing Arts.
The performances are as follows:
Bud Light World Music Stage
On Saturday, April 21, Texas favorites Los Lonely Boys (LLB) headline the Bud Light World Music Stage in Lower Sam Houston Park with their Latin-flavored mix of original and classic rock. Preceding LLB will be Venezuela’s tropical funk legends Los Amigos Invisibles and Ecuadorian rock/reggae singer-guitarist Cecilia Villar Eljuri. Houston’s Espantaparajos, led by transplanted Argentine guitarist Pablo de Viera, kicks off what promises to be a full day of international rock en espanol the likes of which Houston has rarely seen.
On Sunday, April 22, New Orleans’ interplanetary funk ambassadors Galactic, featuring vocalists Corey Glover (of Living Colour) and Corey Henry (of the Rebirth Brass Band), share the Bud Light World Music stage with blue-eyed Southern soul shouter JJ Grey and MOFRO. South Africa’s top-ranking reggae band Tidal Waves, fresh off a tour of the Motherland with Ziggy Marley, will perform earlier in the afternoon, following an opening set by original rock en espanol band Bomba Chica.
The funk continues on the festival’s second weekend with the April 28 Bud Light World Music Stage appearance by War, featuring founder/lead singer Lonnie Jordan, and performing such timeless favorites as “The Cisco Kid,” “The World Is a Ghetto” and, of course, “Low Rider.” Coming on in front of War will be contemporary cumbia kings Chico Trujillo, Chile’s most popular band and one of the hottest live acts in all of South America. Also performing on April 28 is Niger’s acclaimed “desert-blues” guitarist Bombino. The Presidents, a band consisting of Filipino-Americans that has long been one of Houston’s favorite revolutionary reggae bands, opens the day.
The festival’s final day on April 29 will feature rising reggae stars SOJA – the most popular reggae band in South America – followed by Nigerian Afro-pop prince Seun Kuti leading his late father Fela’s massively funky orchestra, Egypt 80, and Steel Pulse, the best reggae band ever to come out of the United Kingdom. Sur, an internationally-known, Houston-based band that plays South American folk music of the Andes, goes on first.
The programming on Center Stage, located on the steps of Houston’s City Hall, focuses on this year’s theme honoring Argentina. Hector del Curto, hailed as the greatest bandoneon (Argentine accordion) player of his generation, will perform with his quintet and dancers twice daily on April 21, April 22 and 29.
In addition to Hector del Curto, Center Stage will also play host to some of Latin America’s best contemporary bands, including Sur (Argentina) on April 21, Eljuri (Ecuador) on April 21 and April 22, Los Amigos Invisibles (Venezuela) on April 22, Chico Trujillo (Chile) on April 28 and Pedrito Martinez (Cuba) on April 29. On April 28, Rene Casarsa, an Argentine native now living in Texas, will present Tango Time, showcasing the finest tango musicians and dancers living in the United States. On April 21, the Brazilian Nuts Band will be joined by the Brazilian Arts Foundation Dancers. Each day, the programming on Center Stage will open with a presentation of traditional Latin American music and dance from South American, Central America and Mexico.
The newly renamed Americas Stage in Tranquility Park will feature a distinctive Gulf Coast gumbo of zydeco, blues, funk, jazz, rock, alternative country, and Latin music. On April 21, Austin’s blues/gospel soul-songstress Ruthie Foster headlines a power-house all-Texas blues/rock and roots-country lineup with former Houstonians Hadden Sayers (who will also perform with Foster’s band) and Jesse Dayton, plus the funky street-strut of the Texas Brass Band.
On April 22, Southwest Louisiana zydeco king Keith Frank and the Soileu Zydeco Band tops an eclectic bill with critically-acclaimed alt-country singer-songwriter Jason Isbell (formerly of the Drive By Truckers) and the 400 Unit, Austin’s roots-country stalwarts Stone River Boys, featuring Mike Barfield and Dave Gonzalez, and local zydeco accordionist Curtis Poullard.
Fast-rising regional zydeco faves Lil Nathan and the Zydeco Big Timers, from Lafayette, Louisiana, headline another strong Americas Stage lineup on April 28 notable for the festival debut of the legendary blues singer/guitarist Joe Louis Walker. Vocalist Jacqui Sutton, a recent arrival to Houston already recognized as one of the city’s finest singers, will add a touch of class to the proceedings with her Frontier Jazz Orchestra, which pays equal homage to both Billie Holiday and Dolly Parton. Nationally acclaimed blues mandolonist Rich DelGrosso opens the day. The rejuvenated Texas Tornados, featuring Flaco Jimenez on Tex-Mex conjunto accordion, headline a Latin-flavored bill on April 29 with Austin’s flamenco-rockers Del Castillo and New York’s Pedrito Martinez, hailed by many as the world’s greatest living conga drummer, with his Cuban jazz/rhumba quartet. New Orleans’ funky Sol Driven Train kicks off the fun.
The 29-95 Entertainment Stage
The 29-95 Entertainment Stage, on the patio behind City Hall headliners included Jesse Dayton (April 21), the Stone River Boys (April 22), The Presidents (April 28) and glam-rockers Roky Moon & Bolt (April 29). Also appearing on this stage are the Texas Brass Band, Espantaparajos and the Austin Piazzolla Quintet (April 21); the Hadden Sayers Band, Beetle and Latin Carnaval (April 22); Rich DelGrosso (performing A Tribute to Lightnin’ Hopkins in the 100th centennial of his birth) and Dharma (April 28); and the Rozz Zamorano Group, Zydeco Dots and Sol Driven Train (April 29).
The H-E-B Cultural Stage
The H-E-B Cultural Stage serves as the cultural heart of the festival’s tribute to the music and culture of Argentina. Each day will end with a performance of traditional Argentine music, including the Austin Piazzolla Quintet (April 21) playing the music of the great nueva tango composer Astor Piazzolla; Latin Carnaval (April 22) playing a mix of Argentine tango, classical and folk music; Barandua (April 28) performing a tribute to the great Argentine topical songwriter Mercedes Sosa; and Sur (April 29) performing a traditional Missa Criollo (Argentine mass) with a choir. Each day will also include solo performances and workshops on Argentine music and dance, as well as Argentine and South American cooking demonstrations presented by Goya Foods.
In addition to the five main music stages, the festival features several smaller stages and performance areas. Houston’s Sister Cities Association will again program its own stage featuring music and dance representing Houston’s international communities. Tango lessons. folk dancing and story-telling will take place in the Chevron Living Museum, located in Upper Sam Houston Park, while fashion shows and various street performance will occur in the African-Caribbean Market.
The Festival will take place Saturdays 11a.m. - 8p.m. and Sundays 11a.m. - 8p.m. Tickets currently are on sale at ifest.eventbrite.com and at www.ifest.org.
Adults $12 advance, $18 at the gate; Children ages 3-12 are $4 advance, $5 at the gate. Free for children under 3 years old.
Discount pricing for early birds, groups, and VIP tickets are available online.
All proceeds benefit the Festival’s arts and education outreach programs.
For more information, call 713-654-8808.
Follow HIF on Twitter @iFest with hashtags #HIF2012, #HIF & #IFest.
Also, “Like” HIF on Facebook at facebook.com/ifest.
Source: Medley Inc.