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From April 23 - 25, the 35th annual Festival International, and second Virtual Festival, will boast a lineup representing a tapestry of cultural sounds and sights. The polyrhythmic, funk-melodic, grit-soul sounds of Cuban sensation, Cimafunk, are primed to please after the pandemic placed a pause on his rise to superstardom. Fest favorites and Grammy-nominated, Tank and The Bangas will provide a cross-section of aural delights cooked up in the cultural crossroads of New Orleans, and Ukranian band DakhaBrakha will showcase what’s made them one of the most successful international touring bands.
Natu Camera, of Guinea, Afrikana Soul Sister, of Mali, Montreal-based, international touring artist Zachary Richard, of Lafayette, and French guitarist Thomas Dutronc – son of French singers Jacques Dutronc and Françoise Hardy – are representing the Francophone contingent of Festival International. Women-led group OKAN, which takes its name from the Afro-Cuban religion of Santeria, is set to perform, as well as several other international artists.
There will be performances from national acts, such as New Orleans’ Hot 8 Brass Band and Samantha Fish, as well as from national and international touring artists hailing from Acadiana, some of whom are Grammy nominees: Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole; Curly Taylor & Zydeco Trouble; Sweet Crude; Cameron Dupuy & The Cajun Troubadours and Lil Nathan & The Zydeco Big Timers.
“We have lined up an eclectic spectrum of artists and music,” said Lisa Stafford, programming director of Festival International, “ranging from contemporary pop, all the way down to fiddles and feet tappin’.”
Stafford said she is also excited about international acts The Reminders, who feature a Belgian emcee and a positive message for all ages. “We are also thrilled to be showcasing a zydeco group from Japan, the Zydeco Kicks!”, who were frequently requested by local musicians, and possible to secure this year because of the virtual format.