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CalArts Presents Annual World Music and Dance Festival, April 27—29, 2018

CalArts Presents Annual World Music and Dance Festival, April 27—29, 2018

Presented by California Institute of the Arts’s (CalArts) pioneering World Music Program in collaboration with the DW Music Foundation (DWMF) and Latin Percussion (LP).

For the First Time in its 30+ Year History this Free Family Event Expands to Feature Two Stages, Twice the Concerts, a Vendor Village and All-Star Line-Up of World Percussion Greats.

Get ready for revered tabla virtuoso Maestro Swapan Chaudhuri, contemporary Indian guitar innovator Debashish Bhattacharya, and LP Artists: flamenco percussionist Kassandra Kocoshis, legendary Latin drummer Joey De Leon, and pan-world percussionist Randy Gloss.

Valencia, Calif. (March 29, 2018) – From Friday, April 27, through Sunday, April 29, 2018, the CalArts World Music and Dance Festival will transport musical traditions from around the globe to Southern California. Over one spectacular weekend, audiences will experience 15 free outdoor concerts on the campus of California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in Valencia.

Presented by The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts in collaboration for the first time with DW Music Foundation (DWMF) and Latin Percussion (LP), this year’s festival includes the exciting addition of a second Latin Percussion (LP) Stage – allowing for double the amount of performances – as well as a vendor village featuring instrument makers, food trucks, and more. The first 100 people to arrive daily will receive a free, limited edition Chick-ita™ mini maraca from LP.

Part of CalArts’ critically acclaimed Wild Beast Concert Series, concerts will take place at both The Wild Beast concert pavilion and on the LP Stage, both highly flexible and acoustically optimized outdoor venues. Over the weekend, more than 100 CalArts students will take part in the Festival – performing as well as running tech, crew, concessions, and more – as an example of CalArts’ method of “learning by doing” in an effort to prepare them for careers in the music industry.

Since the early 1970s, this one-of-a-kind annual festival has brought celebrated international artists to perform with CalArts’ renowned World Music faculty and students. One of the first schools in the United States to offer degree programs in World Music performance, CalArts has a long history of nurturing traditional and new forms of music from a variety of cultures.

“For many years, the World Music and Dance Festival has been a beloved highlight of springtime at CalArts. This year, we are thrilled to welcome DWMF and LP, who are helping to make the festival bigger and better than ever,” said David Rosenboom, Dean of The Herb Alpert School of Music. “In our global age, world music is ever more essential, lighting the way towards a borderless culture. With the help of our new collaborators, we will continue to honor our shared musical traditions and fuel the life of music to come.”

With the collaboration of DWMF and LP, this year’s festival will celebrate the power of world music percussion. World-renowned musicians including featured guest Flamenco percussionist and CalArts’s alumna Kassandra Kocoshis, and CalArts faculty Latin percussionist Joey DeLeon and Hands On’Semble headliner Randy Gloss – all LP Artists– will make their festival debut, alongside Taiko, West African, Brazilian, and Afro-Cuban drummers, and so much more.

Kicking off the festival on Friday will be Randy Gloss with Hands On’Semble, CalArts critically acclaimed percussion group blending rhythmic concepts, forms, and techniques from a multitude of drumming cultures. Afterwards, the CalArts Brazilian Drumming Ensemble, directed by MFA students Alex Shaw and Marcelo Bucater, will perform the festive Afro-Brazilian rhythms celebrated during Carnaval, including samba, samba-reggae, maracatu, and other regional drumming traditions of Brazil.

Later that night, the CalArts Gamelan Kyai Doro Dasih, directed by master musician I. Nyoman Wenten and acclaimed dancer Nanik Wenten will present an evening of Balinese music including a dance-drama illustrating a traditional story from Indonesian culture.

Saturday night will feature performances by CalArts World Percussion Ensemble – an ongoing experimental forum for bringing together percussion, drumming, and world music traditions at CalArts – and the CalArts World Guitar Summit, an unprecedented concert combining guitar traditions from around the world. Led by tabla virtuoso Maestro Swapan Chaudhuri, the concert will feature contemporary Indian guitarist, composer, and instrument inventor Debashish Bhattacharya; CalArts faculty and internationally renowned American jazz guitarist Larry Koonse; and Miroslav Tadic, CalArts faculty and pan-cultural guitarist, whose work draws from a variety of diverse sources including Eastern European folk traditions. Bhattacharya’s performance will mark the culmination of his Guest Artist CalArts Residency, which will include rehearsals with CalArts musicians and a lecture-demonstration of his innovative artistry to the CalArts community.

On Sunday evening, the widely beloved CalArts Salsa Band will make their first ever World Music and Dance Festival appearance in a concert led by pianist David Roitstein, and LP Artist Joey De Leon. One of many CalArts performing groups featuring students and faculty, the group was started in 1991 and reforms every September with all new members and students writing original compositions and arrangements. The band performs frequently throughout Los Angeles, including in an ongoing series of free concerts and workshops at high schools and cultural centers sponsored by the CalArts Community Arts Partnership (CAP). Descended from a legacy of well-known Latin musicians, the classically and street-trained De Leon plays the bongos, timbales, and drums for GRAMMY Award-winner Poncho Sanchez, and has performed with such celebrated musicians as Juan Gabriel, Jennifer Lopez, Barry Manilow, Arturo Sandoval, and others.

Closing out the incredible weekend, on Sunday night, CalArts faculty Nani Agbeli with Andrew Grueschow will lead the Aza West African Ensemble and special guests Volta Drum Dance in a dazzling performance of ATSIAGBEKOR, a dance drama explaining the migration of Ghana’s Ewe people.

Additional concerts throughout the weekend will feature the CalArts Indian Ensemble, CalArts Persian Ensemble, and CalArts Tabla Ensemble, and a wealth of diverse and exciting musical traditions from Japan, Peru, the Balkan countries, and Korea.

All CalArts World Music and Dance Festival events are free and open to the public.

For a schedule of concerts and link for reservations, please visit: 

Founded in the early 1970s by pioneering World Music educator Nicholas England, CalArts’ program launched with such renowned faculty members as sitar great Ravi Shankar. Over the years, students from a wide variety of musical disciplines have studied in the program and its influence can be heard in bands featuring CalArt alumni, including Ozomatli and Fitz and the Tantrums. 

The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts places a high priority on providing professional training that gives its students the abilities and means to become effective practitioners in diverse musical styles—to become culturally informed, artistically versatile citizens of an expansive musical world. Students in the World Music Program closely study music and dance practices from a variety of musical cultures, while simultaneously acquiring solid grounding in music theory, musicianship skills, and music history and literature. This unique course of study allows students to acquire high-level performance skills in both solo and ensemble situations; facility with both notated and oral methods of learning music; and awareness of the cultural, theoretical and social aspects of multiple musical traditions.

Ranked as America’s top college for students in the arts by Newsweek/The Daily Beast, California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) has set the pace for educating professional artists since 1970. Offering rigorous undergraduate and graduate degree programs through six schools – Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music and Theater – CalArts has championed creative excellence, critical reflection and the development of new forms and expressions. As successive generations of faculty and alumni have helped shape the landscape of contemporary arts, the Institute first envisioned by Walt Disney encompasses a vibrant, eclectic community with global reach, inviting experimentation, independent inquiry, and active collaboration and exchange among artists, artistic disciplines and cultural traditions.


Latin Percussion (LP)

Founded in 1964, Latin Percussion (LP) is the largest hand percussion instrument brand in the world. The company offers an extensive line of hand percussion instruments and percussion accessories including patented designs such as the Jam Block®, Ridge Rider Cowbell® and Egg Shaker. Many of the world’s top artists play LP including: Giovanni Hidalgo, Richie Gajate-Garcia, Karl Perazzo, Stewart Copeland, Steve Gadd, Travis Barker, Mike Portnoy and Cindy Blackman-Santana among others. For more information, visit



The DW Music Foundation is a non-profit organization that connects qualified, inspired artists and educators with music education programs in communities of need. We work to create opportunities for people of all ages to access real music in the real world. We believe that music is a gift that lasts a lifetime and access to quality music education has the unique capacity to unlock creativity, develop critical thinking and leadership skills as well as boost self-confidence, and enhance learning in core academic subjects. Music is a lifelong skill that unites us and can be enjoyed from early childhood to end of life.