An adventure in music

Music and dance from around the world are making their way to Moscow for the eighth year in a row



Navin Chettri, artistic director of the World Music Celebration, will perform voice and percussion pieces at the event tomorrow and Saturday.

EMMA LEDBETTER, Evergreen reporter

The Lionel Hampton School of Music at the University of Idaho is hosting the eighth annual World Music Celebration tomorrow and Saturday.

Student ensembles and visiting international artists will perform collaboratively for the event, Navin Chettri, artistic director of World Music Celebration, said.

“The inspiration was to bring music from different parts of the world and different cultures and share here in the Palouse area,” he said. 

Chettri said this year’s performances include an exploration of northeastern Brazilian music, songs by Nepalese sitar player Bijay Shrestha and dances by UI’s World Beat Ensemble, among others.

Barry Bilderback, associate professor of music at UI, directs the World Beat Ensemble and focuses on Ghanaian drumming and dance. Bilderback said he and Chettri traveled to Ghana in 2010, which inspired the event.

“We began laying down the foundation of, ‘what more can we bring in the way of world music to the community here?’” Bilderback said.

Performers spend a lot of time preparing for the event, he said, especially in the week leading up to it. Guest performers normally arrive only a few days before they are scheduled to play, so everything is organized and rehearsed quickly. 

Chettri’s connections in Nepal and with international musicians help make the celebration possible, Bilderback said. 

“It’s like the Thanksgiving Day parade for [Chettri],” Bilderback said. “Every year after it’s over, he’s thinking about the next year — who he’s going to bring in … who is going to contribute to the ensembles.”

Judy Drown, dancer in the World Beat Ensemble, will perform this year and said she has participated in the World Music Celebration for the last four years. 

World Beat Ensemble is a one-credit course for UI students and community members to learn drumming and dancing with African influence, Drown said. This year, they will perform an African processional called “tipa.”

“It starts off kind of somber and quiet and calm,” Drown said. “Then we hit the drums and we fly through the ending.”

Bilderback said locals don’t often have the opportunity to see musical performances such as these, but that audience members have been very receptive.

“It may appear on paper that we’re in a remote area,” he said. “The people here are really very dynamic and understand the importance and need of diversity.”

The World Music Celebration begins with a concert at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow in the UI Auditorium. Tickets for the concert are $8 for the general public and $5 for students and seniors. The celebration continues at 4:15 p.m. Saturday in the Haddock Performance Hall with a free masterclass called “Discovering the Sound of Sitar.” 

“It’s very rare to have an event like this, in this part of the region,” Chettri said. “You don’t want to miss it … to have that adventure in music.”