Since the early ’70s, the annual CalArts World Music and Dance Festival has brought musical traditions from around the world to the CalArts campus. This year the festival consisted of eight outdoor concerts that took place over the course of three days (April 29 – May 1).
Visiting artists included Ghanaian master of the gyil, SK Kakraba and distinguished sarangi artist Ramesh Misra.
Day one featured Javanese music and dance. The CalArts Javanese gamelan ensemble played experimental compositions under the direction of Ki Djoko Walujo Wimboprasetyo. The dance accompaniment was led by Nanik Wenten and consisted of two court dances, Floret from the Paku Alaman palace and traditional Serimpi Pandelori from the Hamengkubuwono court in Central Java.
Day two consisted of four concerts, The first of which featured baltic folk, two world music fusion ensembles and the CalArts Japanese Ensemble.
Following that musical array, the CalArts Balinese Gamelan Gong Kebyar played Burat Wangi as a dance ensemble performed the dance Taman Sari. Gong Kebyar is one of the most elaborate and expressive forms of the Balinese gamelan orchestra and is performed instrumentally or for dance accompaniment.
The third concert, titled A Mystical Journey, joined artists from Iran and Palestine in order to showcase the diversity of devotional expressions.
As a closing performance, CalArts faculty and renowned tabla virtuoso, Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri performed alongside Pandit Ramesh Misra, master of the string instrument Sarangi.
The closing day begun with a concert by the CalArts Tabla Ensemble and the Student Persian Ensemble. The Tabla Ensemble was led by Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri and played one of his compositions. The Student Persian Ensemble was led by Randy Gloss and played mystical compositions evocative of Rumi’s poetry.
As a following act, the CalArts World Percussion ensemble brought to the stage an eclectic mix of percussion, drumming and world music.
The grand finale of the three-day festival was an explosive session of African Music and Dance led by Nani Agbeli and Andrew Grueschow.