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Momentum: A Free Three Day Arts & Musical Festival This Upcoming Weekend

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 Concerto.”

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 Orquesta Akokán.

Akokan is a Yoruba word used by Cubans to man “from the heart” or “soul.”

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 medal ceremonies.

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 used, including 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 cphelps@theartscommission.org.




Copyright © 2018 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 09/13/18 05:59:32 -0700.

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