Momentum: A Free Three Day Arts & Musical Festival This
Sojourner’s Truth Staff
The Toledo Arts
Commission’s 2018 Momentum Festival will be held Thursday
September 13 to Saturday, September 15, encompassing
Promenade Park, as well as spaces linked to Imagination
Station. The free three-day festival, expanded this year,
will feature new interactive art works by regional artists,
commissioned specifically for Momentum; Friday will feature
a concert by Havana, Cuba-based Orquesta Akokan, performing
for the first time in Toledo and on Saturday the Toledo
Opera will be on the stage performing Tan Dun’s “Water
And that’s just a small
part of it.
The festival opens on
Thursday with a Hot Glass Awards Ceremony in the lobby of
300 Madison. Other events on Thursday include the
INTER/ACTIVE Projects Launch, outdoor yoga, a Birds Eye View
Circus, Fantastic Planet and Arts in Public Places.
One artist whose work has
been woven into the landscape of the Glass City is Yusuf
Lateef, who, in partnership with fellow artist Julia Labay
Darrah, will be presenting an interactive piece.
On Friday, the Orquesta
Akokan will headline the concert on the Promenade Park
stage, starting at 7:30 p.m.
Orquesta Akokan is a big band
comprised of some of Havana’s top musicians, young and old,
who have joined forces with some of the talented artists
from New York’s Latin music scene. The band is a product of
a collaboration of singer Jose “Pepito” Gomez, producer
Jacob Plasse and arranger Michael Eckroth. The group
reinvigorates the sound of the golden era of Cuban mambo
with new energy.
Gomez began his musical
career in Camaguey, a province in central Cuba. He has sung
and toured with a variety of Cuban groups such as Maravilla
de Florida, Cole-Cole, Azucar Begra and, ultimately, Pupy y
Los Que Son, Son, working on his own music.
Plasse and Eckroth wanted to
put Orquesta Akokan in order to work with Gomez. They began
their venture in New York but were unable to capture the
sound they were seeking and eventually Gomez talked them
into going to Cuba with him. The musicians there brought the
project to life.
There they brought on board
musicians who had long been heroes and inspirations to
Plasse and Eckroth: A saxophone section made up of Jamil
Shery and José Luis "El Chewy" Hernandez on
tenors, with Evaristo Denis on baritone, and of
course César Lopez on alto. On trombones, Carlos "Afrokán"
Alvarez Guerra of Cubanismo fame, Heikel
Fabián Trimiño, and Yoandy Argudin. Santiago Ceballos
Seijido and Harold Madrigal Frías on trumpets.
Itai Kriss on flute. Eduardo Lavoy Zaragoza on
bongo, with Otto Santana Selis on conga and sharing
timbale duty with Carlitos Padron. Coros would be
sung by Eddie Venegas and Luis Soto. Though
Plasse himself rose to the occasion to play a bit of tres,
and Eckroth handled the lion's share of keys with inspired
prowess, they did convince Pedroso to lend an inspired piano
performance on "Cuidado con el Tumbador." These
musicians, armed with Eckroth's hard-boiled arrangements and
fronted by Gómez' soaring vocals, were to be the backbone of
is a Yoruba word used by Cubans to man “from the heart” or
On Saturda, the INTER/ACTIVE
projects, the Hot Glass, Fantastic Planet on View continue
and a wide range of musical acts will be performing: Delta
blues, rock 7 pop, rock and jam, hip-hop, drum corps, soul
and R & B, belly dancing and Middle Eastern folk dance,
electro-pop, New Orleans-style brass band.
The headliners will be the
Toledo Symphony Orchestra performing Tan Dun’s “Water
Concerto.” Tan Dun, an Academy Award winning– for
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon – classical music
composer created the music for the 2008 Beijing Olympics
Many of Tan Dun's works call for instruments made of materials
such as paper, stone, or water, but the compositions that he
classifies as "organic music" feature these instruments most
prominently. According to the composer, the sounds made by
the soloist are inspired by the sounds of everyday life
growing up in Hunan, China. Basins are filled with water,
and the contents are manipulated with bowls, bottles, hands,
and other devices. Other water instruments used include the
waterphone. Various means of amplification are
contact microphones on the basins.
Momentum starts Thursday at
5:00 p.m; on Friday at 9:00 a.m. and on Saturday at noon.
For more detail, call the Arts Commission at 419-254-2787,
check out the website at momentumtoledo.org or email