The 41st annual Harrison Festival of the Arts is aiming to challenge popular conceptions of traditional music, in what it calls a “global potpourri of sounds.”
The Harrison Festival Society released its line up of performers for this year’s July festival on Wednesday (April 17), with a focus on 17 different musicians from Canada to Korea to Mexico.
“We in the west tend to think of cultures from other parts of the world as stuck back in time,” executive director Andy Hillhouse said in a release.
But that’s not the case for many of the performers coming to this year’s festival, including Niger’s Tal National — who describe their sound as a “joyously hypnotic, highly unique contribution to West African guitar music” — and Korea’s Black String, who bring improvisation and jazz melodies to traditional Korean instruments.
“Young roots musicians from around the world are incorporating the avant-garde into their work, as a way of expressing their cultural identity within a contemporary, global context,” Hillhouse added.
Ethopian-Irsaeli singer-songwriter AvevA will be returning to Canada to perform her profoundly personal music, as will flamenco singer Marinah.
Canadian musicians have also been included in the festival line up, bringing cultural influence from all corners of the country to their performances.
Indigenous electronic-dance artist iskwē will be bringing her Juno-nominated sound to the Harrison Festival on July 21, and will be joined by Inuk throat singer Riit.
Canada’s European heritage will be represented by Newfoundland’s Matthew Byrne, with his repertoire of traditional tunes, and Cape Breton’s Beòlach. Other Canadian artists include blues musician Harry Manx, the Afro-Cuban duo Okan, Toronto’s Blisk, and Vancouver’s Haram, Dalava and The Aerialists.
The Harrison Festival of the Arts will run from July 12 to 21, featuring concerts on the ungated “Beach Stage” as well as ticketed evening shows in Harrison’s Memorial Hall.
In addition to the musical performances, the festival will also include a literary cafe and the popular artisan market on the waterfront.
In conjunction with the festival, an art show at the Ranger Station Gallery will showcase West Coast Indigenous art during the month of July.
The festival will also include an evening of theatre on July 16, with the Chilliwack School of Performing Arts performing “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime.” The play, based on Mark Haddon’s novel about a teen on the autism spectrum, was named Best New Play at London’s Olivier Awards in 2013.
Of course, the Harrison Festival wouldn’t be complete without its Children’s Day, this year taking place on July 17.
Children’s Day will include everything from crafts to theatre games, as well as performances by hip-hop artist Rup Loops, Bollywood dancer Karim Essa and Mexico’s Flor Amargo y Pachamama.
Tickets for the Harrison Festival will go on sale in mid-April.
To keep up to date with festival programming, visit the Harrison Festival’s website.