The 34th Annual Festival International lineup features performers from more than 25 countries and regions and combines new artists with some returning favorites. The eclectic lineup features Palestinian-Jordanian group 47 SOUL, self-styled “Shamstep” pioneers, which brings a new genre all its own to Festival. French swamp-blues trio, DELGRES, is unlike any of its predecessors, yet takes influences from South Louisiana’s musical heritage and is sure to intrigue.
Acadian band RADIO RADIO return to Festival with distinctive raps in their regional dialect CHIAC (English-influenced Acadian French). FIVE ALARM FUNK, of British Columbia, are sure to fan the flames of funk, and THE MEDITATIONS will bring their chill grooves from Jamaica to cool things down. NOMADIC MASSIVE once again will bring their multinational and multilingual sound to the stages of Festival.
I say this every year, but there’s something for everyone, from the traditional Irish music of Doolin’, to the rural Puerto Rican music of La Raíz. That’s all on the more traditional end of the spectrum, but we also feature the more contemporary and innovative end of the spectrum with modern music the likes of 47 Soul, Nomadic Massive and up-and-coming Cuban superstar, Cimafunk.Lisa Stafford, Programming Director
CIMAFUNK, of Cuba, will be Festival’s Sunday closer and was named to Billboard’s “10 Latin Artists to Watch in 2019” list. CIMAFUNK features high-energy, gritty funk-soul, in the tradition of James Brown or vintage, Southern-soul cuts, with his own Afro-Cuban, poly-rhythmic identity and flair.
As always, Festival International emphasizes bringing in Francophone musicians to share diverse language and culture with audiences. LES FILLES DE ILLIGHADAD, of Niger, boasts one of only two known female Tuareg guitar players in the world. RAM are the old guard of the Haitian music scene, and LAKOU MIZIK are carrying on that tradition. Both bring their high-energy Caribbean pulsations to Festival’s stages. The sounds of ARYAD will take festivalgoers to Morocco by way of Montréal and back to Festival again.
Festival fans can expect an assortment of artists from a diverse range of all countries and cultures, however. That includes the tropical, traditional pop melodies of NATU CAMERA, of Guinea, the highland-folk harmonies of THE WAIFS, back from Australia by popular demand, and the singular sounds of Sudanese heavyweight, SINKANE.
International de Louisiane also presents a stellar lineup of Louisiana’s home-grown artists. Thursday night will feature a tribute to the late greats, international icons and Louisiana legends: Art Neville, Allen Toussaint and Dr. John. They may have left this Earth, but they remain in the collective cultural conscience. Billed as “Pianorama: To Allen, Mac and Art, with Love,” the tribute will feature Marcia Ball, Ivan Neville, Jon “Papa” Gros, and David Torkanowsky — four piano legends who will come together to honor our fallen heroes.
WARREN STORM will lend his swamp-pop legend to the stage, as will renowned bayou-blues guitarist, TAB BENOIT. NATHAN AND THE ZYDECO CHA-CHAS are set to perform, and Stafford said they are in “prime form” after witnessing them bring the house down in New York City in January. The current darlings of Cajun music, THE DAIQUIRI QUEENS, will return to Festival among their bevy of bookings. THE BUCKS, formerly billed as The Haggard Bucks, will deliver a blend of two-steppin’ and honky-tonkin’ to Festival.
Lafayette’s own, BROTHER DEGE, also will bring his well-traveled rock ‘n’ roll Brethren to the stages after heavy European touring. Other local favorites to catch during Festival International are: BOMA BANGO, featuring members of The Revelers; SOUL CREOLE, fronted by Corey Ledet and Louis Michot of Lost Bayou Ramblers; JELLY TOAST, featuring Tiffany Lamson and Julie Odell; and more fan favorites.
Local acts on the ascent and playing Festival for the first time include: THE GOOD DUDES; indie-rock quartet, THE DEBTORS; and disco, death-rock duo SICK RIDE. 10-year-old BURKE RILEY and his quintet will also grace the stage at Scène des Jeunes and carry the torch of Cajun music forward in the footsteps of his father, Steve Riley. Festival International takes pride in showcasing Louisiana talents along with the top bands from around the world.
More information will be coming soon about the full schedule, theaters, special exhibits, cirque de la rue [street animation], poetry, art exhibits and other special events.