News Column

International Festival of Arts & Ideas presents Funkadesi and Kronos Quartet

June 21, 2013

YellowBrix

June 21--NEW HAVEN -- They're having a party Bhangra style -- which is not to be confused with gangnam style.

When the Chicago-based Funkadesi takes to the stage Sunday at 7 p.m. on the Green for its free concert at the International Festival of Arts & Ideas, it will be after it has introduced its audience to all its best Bhangra moves, which come from the Punjab Province where participatory dance is a way of life meant to be spread, like good cheer.

So get there at 6 p.m. when actress, dancer and choreographer Reena Shah preps the audience with a workshop in Bhangra dance moves. Then settle down in your beach chair or on a blanket by 7 to find what a real multicultural concert sounds like.

The award-winning Funkadesi makes a stew of sounds from which you'll hear a little bit of funk, reggae, a Bollywood vibe, Indian folk and Afro-Caribbean, which is to say, move-to music that could sit itself in any neighborhood and find a comfy spot.

While party may be the first thing that comes to mind when Funkadesi gets going, it also brings a diversity that's front and center in both face and sound.

Even President Barack Obama couldn't resist the energy infusion at an appearance a few years ago, which is dutifully included on the band's website.

The group not only engages the community in its concerts, but also actively participates in its own Chicago and larger-world community by playing for fundraisers such as Hurricane Sandy relief and speaking out on discrimination and injustice.

They're a fun group to bring the family to. In fact, they run a summer camp for children ages 8-17.

And speaking of children, there's a ton of kids' stuff and free family-friendly activities on the Green to take advantage of as the festival winds into its final 10 days.

The popular Pizza Fest, which benefits New Haven's Connection Fund, returns with New Haven pizzeria pizza noon-2 p.m. today and June 27 and 28.

Shows are all at 1:15 p.m. on the Family Stage:

Today, mime Antonio Roche's Jungle is a repertoire of tales with fun sound effects.

Tuesday, Dan Stevens and the Fiery Band perform a family show featuring the bottleneck slide.

Four-time Grammy-nominated Beethoven's Wig is a fun, irreverent revue of famous classical works featuring Richard Perlmutter.

Thursday, Orquesta Afinke will teach its young audiences how to salsa, meringue and an Afinke conga line in a music workshop of Latin American sounds.

Finally, on June 28, Vanessa Trien and the Jumping Monkeys hit the aisles with their lively folk dancing and singing.

Before the Kronos Quartet, celebrating its 40th anniversary, takes the stage Saturday evening on the Green, there will be a String Musicians Play-In at 6 p.m., hosted by Music Haven. All string players are asked to download the music from artidea.org and bring their instruments for a fun welcome to them.

David Dimitri's "L'homme Cirque" one-man circus show continues daily except Monday (tickets are $35, with a select number of pay what you wish: artidea.org, 203-562-5666.

Contact Donna Doherty at 203-789-5672.

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