Lineup: Landfall Festival of World Music returns to Cedar Rapids, adds a few Des Moines shows

Musicians from around the world will descend upon Iowa for the eighth annual Landfall Festival of World Music Sept. 15 – 19 at various venues in Cedar Rapids and even a few in Des Moines (a new expansion for the festival).

This year’s event will feature music from Poland, Republic of Georgia, Morocco, Ethiopia, Israel, South Korea, Estonia, US/Brazil, Colombia, Canada and Mexico. Landfall will offer many free shows, including a few “pop-up” shows taking place around Cedar Rapids. As a disclosure, Little Village is a proud sponsor of the Landfall Festival of World Music.

Festival Schedule

Subject to change; descriptions courtesy of CSPS

Tues, Sep 15
6:30 pm — Matuto (Colombia/Canada/Mexico) at Opus Concert Café, 119 Third Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, free

This New York City-based group combines the sound of a Brazilian Carnival with bluegrass, swamp rock and more. Dynamic percussion instruments rumble beneath blues-drenched vocals, telecaster twangs, accordion acrobatics and folksy fiddle tunes. Described as “weird and wonderful… unorthodox and delightful” by Jazz Times Magazine.

8:00 pm — Zedashe Ensemble (Republic of Georgia) CSPS Hall, 1103 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids, free
The folk musicians and dancers of Zedashe Ensemble breathe new life into the ancient chants of the Orthodox Christian liturgy, as well as field-songs, love songs, historical ballads, war dance songs and ritual circle dances that are traditional to the Caucasus region of Georgia. Zedashe learned their repertoire from relatives, village song-masters and old publications; they collected songs and dances in the highlands, and studied hymn singing in some of Georgia’s holiest monasteries.

Wed, Sep 16
12:00 pm — Pop-up concert by Matuto at CR Public Library, 450 Fifth Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids, free

6:30 pm — Karolina Cicha (Poland) Cedar Rapids Public Library, free
Hailed as one of the most exceptional musicians of Eastern Europe, Karolina Cicha plays accordion, harpsichord, horsehead fiddle (often all at the same time); sings in Ukrainian, Belarusian, Lithuanian, Russian, Tartar, Yiddish and Esperanto (often in the same song), and effectively merges stage singing with rock, jazz and traditionals. Much of her music recalls the landscape of her native Podlachia in eastern Poland.

7:30 pm — Zedashe Ensemble at St. Raphael Orthodox Church, 722 E College St, Iowa City; $15-25 suggested donation

8:00 pm — Boogat (Colombia/Canada/Mexico) at CSPS Hall, free
Montreal-based MC, rapper and producer Boogat blends hip hop, electronica, nueva cumbia and dancehall to explosive effect. The son of immigrants from Paraguay and Mexico, Boogat grew up in Québec and has lived 12 years in Montréal. He is joined live by a percussionist, drummer and trombone player.


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Thu, Sep 17
6:30 pm — Karolina Cicha at CR Public Library, free

8:00 pm — Aziz Sahmaoui & University of Gnawa (Morocco) at CSPS Hall, free
This Moroccan poet-singer accomplishes a glorious harmony between Maghreb rock, jazz and gnawa music. With the full fire of his spellbinding voice, the cofounder of the Orchestre National de Barbès confirms his reputation as one of the foremost singer-songwriters of contemporary world fusion music. Gnawa is the mixture of Arabic music and African “desert blues” from the Sahara. His melodies and vocal lines are embedded in the irresistible grooves of his Senegalese band, University of Gnawa.

10:00 pm — Boogat at Des Moines Social Club, 900 Mulberry St, Des Moines, $10 advance, $12 at the door

Fri, Sep 18
6:30 pm — Pop-up concert by Matuto at NewBo City Market, 1100 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, free

8:00 pm — Ester Rada (Ethiopia/Israel) at CSPS Hall, free
Critics describe her sound as “gracefully combining Ethio-Jazz, funk, soul and r&b, with mixed undertones of black grooves.” Ester Rada’s cross-cultural sound is a deep reflection of this Israeli-born Ethiopian’s heritage. Growing up in a highly religious Jewish family in the roughest neighborhoods of Tel Aviv was a driving force behind her genre-defying music. With strong influences from early 20th-century soul power women Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald — as well as contemporary black divas Eryka Badu, Lauryn Hill and Jill Scott — Rada is bringing a new voice to global soul.

Sat, Sep 19
1:00 pm — [su:m] (South Korea) at McGrath Amphitheater, 475 1st St SE., Cedar Rapids, free
Korean multi-instrumentalists Ji Ha Park and Jungmin Seo compose and perform original compositions on traditional Korean instruments like the piri (bamboo oboe), saenghwang (breath-played pipe organ), yanggeum (dulcimer) and gayageum (25-string zither). The name translates as “a rhythmic space, a pause for breath”; and in their music, traditional timbres and resonances meet the breathless rhythmic patterns of urban life, only to return to an inner space for pause, a breath or sigh. It’s no wonder Songlines likened their performances to monastic ritual. The Seoul duo had their sophomore release nominated for a Korean Music Award.

2:30 pm: Matuto at McGrath Amphitheater, free

4:00 pm — Maarja Nuut (Estonia) at McGrath Amphitheater, free
Estonian fiddler and singer Maarja Nuut enchants audiences with inventive arrangements of traditional songs from her homeland. Alone on stage, she blends her crystalline voice with violin and electronics, creating layers of haunting loops. “Her music takes us far away, in a country still wild and very close to nature,” said one critic. “When angels sing they probably sound like this,” said Duran Duran’s Simon Le Bon.

5:30 pm — Otava Yo (Russia) at McGrath Amphitheater, free
Otava Yo turns Russian folk songs into powerful dance music: a “new Russian beat.” Taking concert halls and clubs with their singular Slavic fire, the six-piece group features lyrical gusli, global guitar, wailing bagpipes, expert dual fiddle-scraping, pumping bass and pounding drum. These are songs of rural romance, heroic sailors, goats and pancakes, delivered with bursts of ensemble choreography.

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