Among the bluegrass fiddlers and zydeco Creole musicians, several eclectic and cultural theatre and dance performances are hitting the Triad this week as part of the National Folk Festival.
Friday through Sunday at various locations in Greensboro enjoy learning about French musical and dance heritage with Le Vent du Nord (the wind from the north). A traditional Québécois band, the quartet is performing songs and spirited step dances passed down for more than 400 years.
Grupo Rebolú will perform a colorful concert Friday through Sunday as the group sings in Spanish and performs on a mix of indigenous, African and modern instruments. The band’s instrumentation includes gaita, a native flute made of a hollowed-out cactus stem; maracas; a llamador, a small drum native to the Caribbean coast of Colombia; an alegre, a hand drum similar to an African djembe; and a tambora drum.
Saturday, Chaksam-pa, a Tibetan opera, will begin their showcase with ngonpey dhon, a ritual featuring flat masks representing the constant presences of sun and moon. The ensemble performs a wide variety of traditions, including pentatonic traveling songs from mountainous Kham (Eastern Tibet), foot-stomping dance songs from the central Lhasa district, and the classical nangma (a typical entertainment for picnics and festivals). The group’s folk operas, lhamo, are influenced by Buddhist morality plays and share historical dramas and traditional folk tales.
Saturday through Sunday discover the art of Brazilian puppet theatre during Chico Simões’ performance of traditional mamulengo. The show includes a 16 th -century theatrical tongue called Grammelot, a structured form of gibberish designed to communicate across cultures, as well as the universal language of human emotion, and the creative give-and-take between a masterful performer and enthusiastic audience.
Hailing from Charleston, South Carolina, the Dancing on Air Crew performs its breakdancing choreography Saturday and Sunday.
Perhaps the most interesting performance to hit the stage this week is the Alberti Flea Circus, which will run Saturday and Sunday. Brought to the States in the 1880s by Alberti’s great-great uncle, the Alberti Flea Circus is one of only a few remaining shows of its kind. In addition to the flea circus, in which one will be shot from a cannon, Alberti plans to bring his vintage, hand-painted street organ. !