Showcasing the world

BY WENDY CZAKO-MAH

A Kitchener woman brought the world and all its culture to the city during her second annual Show the World fall festival.

The two-day event on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 featured music from around the world with a touch of Canadian culture blended in.

As artists from abroad come to Canada and mix with musicians here, the music takes on a new flare. The purpose of the festival is to give this music a platform, a place to show the blending of cultures while keeping some of its origin intact.

The idea is the brainchild of Chilean actress Isabel Cisterna, who arrived in Canada 10 years ago as an out-of-work actor.

She found the streets looked very different to her from what was being portrayed. The culture of the music was not being seen. It was being blended into something new, leaving the origin behind.

She started writing and performing her own work and eventually became known for her monologues. This eventually led to Cisterna starting Neruda Productions in 1998, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to building bridges in the community through music, drama, dance and visual arts.

The final day of the 2012 festival featured three performances. First on stage was Aditi Date, who has been performing since she was three. She learned the art of Indian dance from her mother as they had a dance studio back in India.

“Most people know of Bollywood dance but they don’t know about the classical art forms which are very old,” Cisterna said.

Date has opened her own dance studio in Waterloo. She thinks it is a dying art form and felt the need to teach it. She added she can have a conversation without using words because the dance is a form of sign language.

D Eve Archer, originally from Jamaica, was the second performer. She is a master vocalist who mimics the sounds of various instruments and background vocals. By the end of her performance, she had created an entire band just with her voice.

Archer mimics the sound she’s looking for, then technology built into her electric piano records and repeats it over and over after she pushes a pedal. One by one she added several loops consisting of drums, symbol, background vocals and more, all created by her voice.

“You have to have a lot of rhythm and you have to be right on beat to make sure the loops tie in together,” she said.

The final group was a blend of Indian and flamenco-style dance performed by a group of seven. They featured flamenco guitarist Jorge Miguel, flamenco dancer Lisa La Mantia, and a Kathak dance performed by Tamanna Koovarjee.

Cisterna loves world music and was greatly concerned about what happened to it when it was imported. She points out that cultural diversity has led to a blending of many cultures’ music, a fusion of sorts. What ends up happening is a loss of the original style and culture of that music. The festival is one way to keep it in the forefront.

Prior to the festival, Cisterna produced a concert series also called Show the World. Two years ago she decided a year-end festival was needed to encompass all the world music they had showcased over the years.

Cisterna used the 2012 festival as a pilot for this year’s event, which she hopes will be a four-day festival with an aboriginal theme.

The idea is to have a one-price pass that would cover all four days. This was the reason the 2012 event had a two-day, pay-one-price pass.