California WorldFest • Presented by The Center for the Arts

Kealoha

California WorldFest 2022 | Official Performer

Kealoha

“I can picture this island boy at MIT studying nuclear fusion. Even when you sit with Kealoha, it’s as if he himself is a source of energy… And when you first meet him, he leaps out of his chair to shake your hand. It’s not just physical. His mind seems to always be on the move, searching for something new, fresh, and challenging. With his positive messaging, his boundless energy, and his ability to lead and mentor people of all ages, we can’t wait to see what he’s going to do.”

–Leslie Wilcox, President/CEO of PBS Hawaiʻi and former news anchor for KHON-2

Kealoha was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi.  He spent most of his childhood as a closet nerd, hiding his academic interests by spending most of his time on soccer, basketball, theater, break dancing, surfing, ʻukulele playing, and hula dancing.  Although he was enrolled in honors Math, Science, and English classes, only a handful of people knew that he was ranked 9th in the nation in the National Math League, and that he got a perfect 800 in his math SAT’s.  Therefore, it came as a surprise to his peers when he announced that he would attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the top school in the nation for science and engineering.

Kealoha lives in Honolulu and makes his living as the Poet Laureate of Hawaiʻi by touring the world, performing in music concerts, and visiting schools, libraries, and community centers (for full life story, click here) He shares stories from his life during his shows.  He looks at the world through scientific eyes and Googles everything that piques his interest.  He still surfs and hikes a lot.  He still eats mangos.

View Full Lineup >

California WorldFest

An annual music festival that brings music from around the world to Grass Valley, California. We honor the land our festival is held on with our Global Indigenous Peoples Village. PLUS: Workshops & Yoga • Global Conscious Living • World Food & Artisan Market • Family Fun for All Ages • Buskers • Late Night Music • Parade & More!

Contact Us

NEW YEAR • ON SALE NOW

Get Tickets

@caworldfest | #musicconnectsusall

California WorldFest © 2022. California WorldFest is presented by The Center for the Arts, a cultural and educational organization that promotes and presents the literary, visual, & performing arts for the enrichment of our community.
Site Photography by John Taber, Marion Charlotte Photography, Ryuta Shimotomai, and Eye of Laksmi.

California WorldFest acknowledges the racial injustice of the past and present. We are committed to listening to BBIPOC voices and educating ourselves as we work together towards a future built on equality. We believe the arts foster unity and will continue to advocate for BBIPOC artists and community members. We see you, we hear you, we support you.

Amo Amo

California WorldFest 2022 | Official Performer

Amo Amo

Amo Amo is a psychedelic dream pop band from Los Angeles, California.

Amo Amo’s instantly gratifying, euphoric compositions seem laser-focused on bringing a mess of earthlings into a space and getting them to move together like a single, pulsating organism.

Amo Amo formed in June 2017 when a group of friends — Omar Velasco, Justin Flint, Shane Mckillop and Alex Siegel — invited Love Femme for an impromptu session in Los Angeles with Jim James (My Morning Jacket). There had been a premonition that the five of them shared a sort of psychic bond that would lead to a revelation in sound. Amo Amo released their debut album, produced by Jim James, in 2019 and supported him on his tour, opening for My Morning Jacket at Red Rocks in August 2019.  In the past 3 years, the world has fallen under the spell of Amo Amo’s magical sound. Legendary mastering engineer Bob Ludwig says of their first record, “I really love these songs, they are stand outs of the past year for me… Amo Amo has made a very special album.” Jenny Eliscu (Rolling Stone, Sirius XM) says “Rarely do I come across a band with as strong a sense of self-identity as Amo Amo… their live show is ecstatic.” They released a new EP, Canta, in 2020.

A new LP will be released in 2022.  Amo Amo has been making waves – sharing the stage with Karen O & Danger Mouse, & opening for the likes of Poolside, Jonathan Wilson, Hailu Mergia, and Tropicalia legends Os Mutantes.  You will not see a crowd stand still at an Amo Amo show: people dance, it can’t be helped. They are not to be missed.

View Full Lineup >

California WorldFest

An annual music festival that brings music from around the world to Grass Valley, California. We honor the land our festival is held on with our Global Indigenous Peoples Village. PLUS: Workshops & Yoga • Global Conscious Living • World Food & Artisan Market • Family Fun for All Ages • Buskers • Late Night Music • Parade & More!

Contact Us

NEW YEAR • ON SALE NOW

Get Tickets

@caworldfest | #musicconnectsusall

California WorldFest © 2022. California WorldFest is presented by The Center for the Arts, a cultural and educational organization that promotes and presents the literary, visual, & performing arts for the enrichment of our community.
Site Photography by John Taber, Marion Charlotte Photography, Ryuta Shimotomai, and Eye of Laksmi.

California WorldFest acknowledges the racial injustice of the past and present. We are committed to listening to BBIPOC voices and educating ourselves as we work together towards a future built on equality. We believe the arts foster unity and will continue to advocate for BBIPOC artists and community members. We see you, we hear you, we support you.

La Misa Negra

California WorldFest 2022 | Official Performer

La Misa Negra

La Misa Negra is a 7-piece band from Oakland, California, known for their unique  blend of cumbia and high-energy, Afro-Latin music. On stage, they deliver an  electrifying performance that explodes with infectious dance grooves and punk  rock energy, powered by horn and accordion-driven riffs, a fierce rhythm section,  and a vintage-inspired sound. 

Since their live debut in the fall of 2011, La Misa Negra has toured the country,  sharing stages and festival bills with the likes of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stevie  Wonder, Lenny Kravitz, Thievery Corporation, SZA, Mon Laferte, Julieta  Venegas, Ana Tijoux, Bomba Estereo, George Clinton, Antibalas, Budos Band,  and Ozomatli. On the strength of their wild and one-of-a-kind shows, they have  gained a reputation as one of the most exciting live bands to emerge from the  Bay Area in recent years, garnering a diverse fan base that transcends musical,  cultural, and generational divides. 

Founded by composer, guitarist, and accordion player, Marco Polo Santiago, the  band consists of Colombian-born Diana Trujillo (lead vocals), Justin Chin (tenor &  baritone sax), Morgan Nilsen (tenor sax & clarinet), Craig Bravo (drums &  percussion), Elena de Troya (percussion), and Paul Martin Sounder (upright bass  & percussion). Together, the unlikely collective combines a wealth of musical  influences as diverse as their cultural backgrounds, but it’s Marco Polo’s affinity  for hip-hop and heavy metal that inspires much of the band’s sound and identity  – evident in their name, on-stage antics, and popular t-shirt designs. 

Now, four years after dropping their debut album, La Misa Negra returns with a  self-titled, sophomore effort that they’ve dubbed, “the red album.” Channeling  Colombia’s Golden Age, they dive into retro-future cumbia, with tracks like “Me  

Voy Pa’ Porce” and “Acosadora,” and tap deep into their Afro-Colombian  influences by incorporating traditional styles, such as currulao and tambora.  They showcase their love for Latin jazz on the monster Salsa tune, “Pistola,” and  their hyper-speed reimagining of the Cuban classic, “Yayabo.” They also allude  to their non-Latin influences, with instrumental tracks and samples that pay  homage to Black Sabbath, Alice in Chains, and Wu-Tang Clan. Finding common  ground between their heavy metal leanings and mambo-inspired horn lines, La  Misa Negra’s arrangements serve as the perfect delivery mechanism for both  their humorous storytelling and exploration of heavier subject matter, like gun  violence, water scarcity, and gender inequality. 

With their second release, the powerhouse septet unleashes 12 tracks that  capture the raw energy of their live shows and solidify them as a new force in  today’s Afro-Latin music scene.

View Full Lineup >

California WorldFest

An annual music festival that brings music from around the world to Grass Valley, California. We honor the land our festival is held on with our Global Indigenous Peoples Village. PLUS: Workshops & Yoga • Global Conscious Living • World Food & Artisan Market • Family Fun for All Ages • Buskers • Late Night Music • Parade & More!

Contact Us

NEW YEAR • ON SALE NOW

Get Tickets

@caworldfest | #musicconnectsusall

California WorldFest © 2022. California WorldFest is presented by The Center for the Arts, a cultural and educational organization that promotes and presents the literary, visual, & performing arts for the enrichment of our community.
Site Photography by John Taber, Marion Charlotte Photography, Ryuta Shimotomai, and Eye of Laksmi.

California WorldFest acknowledges the racial injustice of the past and present. We are committed to listening to BBIPOC voices and educating ourselves as we work together towards a future built on equality. We believe the arts foster unity and will continue to advocate for BBIPOC artists and community members. We see you, we hear you, we support you.

Battle Of Santiago

California WorldFest 2022 | Official Performer

Battle Of Santiago

Battle of Santiago are making a triumphant return with a new album!

After their 2018 Juno nomination in the World Music Album of the Year Category for ‘La Migra,’ the band’s next recording mission saw them trace their own influences to Cuba, where they wrote and recorded much of what took shape as their next full-length album. Informed by the esoteric culture and spirit of Santeria while retaining the experimental broodiness they have come to be known for, ‘Queen & Judgement’ is as diverse as ever. With touches from producers Grammy-winning Andres Levin (David Byrne, Tina Turner, Childish Gambino) and Josh Korody (Fucked Up, Dirty Nil, Weaves,) the album is slated to drop in April of 2020.

 

While Canada is seldom thought of as a Latin music hotbed, Toronto hosts many thriving immigrant communities — including one of the largest Cuban expat communities in North America — and Battle of Santiago is strongly rooted in the city’s wealth of Cuban musical talent. “There are a couple of different Battles of Santiagos to choose from historically,” explains the group’s founder Michael Owen, “so you can take your pick. We liked that ambiguity. It reflects how our music can change and take on different vibes. The name also implies some kind of soundclash, which works for us since the band has both a Latino section and a non-Latino section, and that dynamic can create a really exciting creative tension.”

Battle of Santiago combines ancient Afro-Cuban rhythms and chants with a distinctly Canadian post-rock spirit and sensibility. Fused by dynamic elements of jazz, the result is a party-forward experience that has brought them to stages across the globe, including NYC’s legendary Joe’s Pub, and festivals across Canada, the US, Spain, France, The Netherlands and more. Their unique sound tells a universal 21st Century story, placing them in a prism between artists as diverse as Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Thundercat, and transcending borders while staying rooted in one city’s immigrant experience.

View Full Lineup >

California WorldFest

An annual music festival that brings music from around the world to Grass Valley, California. We honor the land our festival is held on with our Global Indigenous Peoples Village. PLUS: Workshops & Yoga • Global Conscious Living • World Food & Artisan Market • Family Fun for All Ages • Buskers • Late Night Music • Parade & More!

Contact Us

NEW YEAR • ON SALE NOW

Get Tickets

@caworldfest | #musicconnectsusall

California WorldFest © 2022. California WorldFest is presented by The Center for the Arts, a cultural and educational organization that promotes and presents the literary, visual, & performing arts for the enrichment of our community.
Site Photography by John Taber, Marion Charlotte Photography, Ryuta Shimotomai, and Eye of Laksmi.

California WorldFest acknowledges the racial injustice of the past and present. We are committed to listening to BBIPOC voices and educating ourselves as we work together towards a future built on equality. We believe the arts foster unity and will continue to advocate for BBIPOC artists and community members. We see you, we hear you, we support you.

Fulamuse

California WorldFest 2022 | Official Performer

Fulamuse

FulaMuse = MaMuse + Fula Brothers.


(“Ma” as in Mamma; “Muse” as in the one who inspires) 
Harmonic, Uplifting, Luscious, Folk-Soul-Revival; A Musical Tune-Up for the HeartWholeheartedly fed by the folk and gospel traditions, MaMuse (Sarah Nutting and Karisha Longaker) create uplifting music to inspire the world into thriving. Interweaving brilliant and haunting harmony with lyrics born of honed emotional intelligence, MaMuse invokes a musical presence that inspires the opening of the heart. Playing a family of varied acoustic instruments including upright bass, guitar, mandolins, ukulele, and flutes, while backed by guitar virtuoso Walter Strauss and inspired drummer (Mike Wofchuck), these two powerful women embody a love for all life. The synergy that is created through this musical connection is palpable and truly moving to witness.With nine delicious years of co-creation and five full length albums under their belts, MaMuse keep their hearts tuned to the creation of music for the health of ALL BEINGS.

Fula Brothers are a burst of unbridled creative musicianship and happy making. A high spirited meeting of veteran performers from West Africa and America, each with a history of innovation and collaboration with some of the beloved musicians of these cultures. Together they weave West African hunters harp, fingerstyle guitar, drums, vocals, and a bounty of improvisation into an ecstatic groove based dialogue which the heart – and the feet – cannot resist.

Mamadou Sidibe | www.musicmali.com

Master kamale ngoni player, Mamadou Sidibe, is from the Wassoulou Region of Mali, West Africa. Twenty-five years ago, Mamadou played a groundbreaking role in the transformation of this region’s music from its origins in hunters’ sacred melodies – played on six string donso ngoni (hunter’s harps) –  to a music of philosophical observations, politics, and daily life. Mamadou was one of the first to expand the instrument’s range with two extra strings, creating the popular kamale ngoni. He has recently enhanced the kamale ngoni even further by devising 10 and 12-stringed instruments.

​Mamadou, with artists Coumba Sidibe, Oumou Sangare and Ramata Diakite, spread the new sounds through recordings and performances in Europe, Africa and the United States. Not only is Mamadou an award-winning musician and master of the kamale ngoni, he is accomplished on several other African instruments as well.

​“At the center of his music is the same sensibility that you’ll find in Muddy Waters: a sense of music as a tool for the re-creation of everyday life into something special, even magical.” ~ Stylus

Walter Strauss | www.walterstrauss.com

Fingerstyle guitarist Walter Strauss’s multi-layered style draws on American roots, jazz, classical, and cultural guitar traditions – but what makes his playing utterly unique is how it is informed by other global stringed instruments. He has delved deep into the harp traditions of West Africa, integrating elements of their richly layered styles and rhythmic sensibilities with his own, and rendering traditional pieces on the guitar. Walter has collaborated with revered practitioners of the kora (the 21-stringed West African harp) and with early kamale ngoni (hunter’s harp) innovator Mamadou Sidibe. Malian kora legend Toumani Diabate calls Walter’s guitar rendering of the music of the kora “inspirational”, and proposed Walter’s collaboration with his son, Sidiki Diabate, a West African star in his own right.

In addition to his solo CDs and performances across the US & UK, Walter’s collaborations have spanned an impressive range of musicians, from maverick multi-instrumentalist Joe Craven and Grammy-winning Malian kora player Mamadou Diabate to Scottish fiddler Johnny Hardie and Grammy-nominated guitar maestro Alex de Grassi. He has performed internationally at venues like the Kennedy Center, the Celtic Connections Festival in Scotland, and Le Diplomate in Bamako, Mali.  Recently, he created music for the Ken Burns documentary film “Defying the Nazis.”

​“A many-layered, multi-textured, one-man folk festival” ~ Maverick Magazine

 

We are privileged to play with:

Colin Douglas

Grammy nominated drummer/percussionist/educator Colin Douglas was born in New York City into a musical family. As the son of a music producer, he grew up experimenting with many different instruments and soon settled on drums and percussion. Colin went on to study percussion at both the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music as well as Manhattan School of Music where he worked extensively in both the classical percussion and jazz drumset programs. After college he became interested in the world of latin percussion and studied both in Cuba as well as with many master percussionists in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he has lived and played professionally for 16 years. Colin has performed and recorded with a diverse group of musicians ranging from Latin acts like Jesus Diaz y su Qba, Ray Obiedo, and the Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet with whom he received a Grammy nomination in 2013, to R&B and rock acts such as Donna Summer and Slash.

 Fula Brothers: fulabrothers.com  Mamuse: mamuse.org

Fula Brothers links:

Mamuse links:

View Full Lineup >

California WorldFest

An annual music festival that brings music from around the world to Grass Valley, California. We honor the land our festival is held on with our Global Indigenous Peoples Village. PLUS: Workshops & Yoga • Global Conscious Living • World Food & Artisan Market • Family Fun for All Ages • Buskers • Late Night Music • Parade & More!

Contact Us

NEW YEAR • ON SALE NOW

Get Tickets

@caworldfest | #musicconnectsusall

California WorldFest © 2022. California WorldFest is presented by The Center for the Arts, a cultural and educational organization that promotes and presents the literary, visual, & performing arts for the enrichment of our community.
Site Photography by John Taber, Marion Charlotte Photography, Ryuta Shimotomai, and Eye of Laksmi.

California WorldFest acknowledges the racial injustice of the past and present. We are committed to listening to BBIPOC voices and educating ourselves as we work together towards a future built on equality. We believe the arts foster unity and will continue to advocate for BBIPOC artists and community members. We see you, we hear you, we support you.

Red Baraat

California WorldFest 2022 | Official Performer

Red Baraat

Red Baraat is a pioneering band from Brooklyn, New York. Conceived by dhol player Sunny Jain, the group has drawn worldwide praise for its singular sound, a merging of hard driving North Indian bhangra with elements of hip-hop, jazz and raw punk energy. Created with no less a purposeful agenda than manifesting joy and unity in all people, Red Baraat’s spirit is worn brightly on its sweaty and hard-worked sleeve.

Their infectious rhythms roll over the audience like a hurricane and let the audience breathe only in a short ballad pause.

— RHEIN MAIN PRESS (GERMANY)

Red Baraat’s June 2018 album release, “Sound The People”, hit the top 10 on the World Music Charts Europe and was heralded in the US as the anthem soundtrack for the South Asian diaspora by US hipster, indie-rock magazine.

The album is full of moments that hit with the force of a spiritual awakening…The funk, ska-punk, and other American forms that make their way into the music are layered intricately within the same threadwork as the ragas on which these songs are pulled from. Each piece is a gesture of cultural harmony, rendering not only genre irrelevant, but the geographic placement of those sounds.

— STEREOGUM

2018 also saw the band touring Kazakhstan, Abu Dabhi, US, Canada and Europe. They headlined the renowned WOMAD Festival in Cáceres, Spain in front of 10,000 people, performed the Vienna Konzerthaus (Philharmonie) in Austria and had the crowd jumping at Rudolstadt Festival in Germany. The release of Red Baraat’s 2nd album in 2013, Shruggy Ji, debuted at #1 on the Billboard World Music charts in USA and propelled the band on a world tour that has yet to stop. They’ve performed at Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, WOMAD, globalFEST, Lincoln Center, New Orleans Jazz Fest, along with clubs, theatres, and arts centers. Along the way they sold out rooms as diverse as the Luxembourg Philharmonic and the New York City’s legendary rock club Bowery Ballroom, and performed at the request of The White House (Obama), TED and Olympic Games.

This year’s ‘discovery’ [WOMAD UK Festival], though, was Red Baraat, a cacophonous bhangra funk band from Brooklyn. Think Punjabi weddings, Delhi street brass bands, modern jazz and rock.

— THE TELEGRAPH (UK)

But even as it’s clear that Red Baraat has built a startling history of performances in iconic settings, the band’s bread and butter remains the sweaty clubs, festivals, packed performing arts centers, and college auditoriums that keeps the band on the road all over the world the last several years. It’s here where Red Baraat does what it does best – communing with their audience in a joyful, near hedonistic celebration of music and dance, which tellingly, draws a crowd even more diverse than the players on stage. The universality of what Red Baraat does is undeniable. And this is no happy accident. It is the product of intention and design. Says Jain, “The band…our songs…are addressing the multiplicity of viewpoints,” says Jain. “There’s ‘Zindabad,’ which means ‘Long Live’ in Hindi. In that song, we’re saying that we celebrate life, we celebrate devotion — but we also celebrate agitation and revolution. If we can unite people of all backgrounds and ethnicities to partake in the exuberance of life through the universal language of music, then life is that much sweeter.”

View Full Lineup >

California WorldFest

An annual music festival that brings music from around the world to Grass Valley, California. We honor the land our festival is held on with our Global Indigenous Peoples Village. PLUS: Workshops & Yoga • Global Conscious Living • World Food & Artisan Market • Family Fun for All Ages • Buskers • Late Night Music • Parade & More!

Contact Us

NEW YEAR • ON SALE NOW

Get Tickets

@caworldfest | #musicconnectsusall

California WorldFest © 2022. California WorldFest is presented by The Center for the Arts, a cultural and educational organization that promotes and presents the literary, visual, & performing arts for the enrichment of our community.
Site Photography by John Taber, Marion Charlotte Photography, Ryuta Shimotomai, and Eye of Laksmi.

California WorldFest acknowledges the racial injustice of the past and present. We are committed to listening to BBIPOC voices and educating ourselves as we work together towards a future built on equality. We believe the arts foster unity and will continue to advocate for BBIPOC artists and community members. We see you, we hear you, we support you.

Cha Wa

California WorldFest 2022 | Official Performer

Cha Wa

Joseph Boudreaux Jr., the lead vocalist for the Mardi Gras Indian funk band Cha Wa, can not even pinpoint his first experience with the Indian tradition. As the son of Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, he has been part of the deep-rooted New Orleans cultural phenomenon since before he could walk.

“On the street, I started at one year old, with my dad,” he said. “By the time I was nine or ten, I had started doing festivals.”

Cha Wa was founded in 2014 and releases its third album My People, the follow-up to 2018’s Grammy-nominated Spyboy and its first for Single Lock Records, on March 19th – but its true history goes back, in a strong sense, far further. The first documented record of Mardi Gras Indians in New Orleans dates back to the late 19th century. These were African-American men and women who roamed the city streets on Fat Tuesday morning and St. Joseph’s Night in celebratory groups, playing handheld percussion like glass bottles, tambourines and cowbells, and shouting and chanting in a unique dialect that scholars have tried to explain the roots of, but never quite agreed on. “Cha Wa”, the band’s name, is a traditional Mardi Gras Indian shout; so is “jock-a-mo-fee-nah-nay”, familiar to music fans, of course, from the enduring tune “Iko Iko.” Some suggest that Indian phrases can be traced to Native American languages, which would make sense – the most accepted origin story for the culture is that it was meant to pay tribute, in song and spirit, to the Native groups that gave shelter to black New Orleanians fleeing enslavement.

My People is Cha Wa’s first project with Single Lock, the respected Muscle Shoals and New Orleans based label whose roster has always been simpatico with that vibe, teasing out the threads and throughlines of creative tradition in Southern music, from legendary veterans like Donnie Fritts and the Blind Boys of Alabama to young torchbearers like Cedric Burnside and St. Paul and the Broken Bones, drawing a map of Southern music – and the South’s – diverse identity. The sweeping palette of unmistakably New Orleans sound on My People fits beautifully into that mission. Some of the songs are deliberately, powerfully organic and raw, like the raucous closer “Shallow Water” – a traditional Call and Response tune that was recorded live at the storied Indian barroom Handa Wanda’s in, founder and drummer Joe Gelini said, under an hour as the first take. Others embrace sounds of more recent vintage, like the fierce, taut title track, powered by industrial-strength horns, or the playful, swirling organ on “Bow Down.” The shivering piano that introduces “Morning Glory,” punctuated by yelps and drum slaps, is a taste of Dr. John’s own Mardi Gras Indian-tinged ‘60s psychedelia; “Love in Your Heart,” is a swellingly gorgeous slice of vintage, romantic soul powered by Angelika “Jelly” Joseph’s passionate vocals. Throughout, there’s plenty of propulsive, syncopated second-line rhythm, joyful shouts and Indian swagger – it’s an album as unstoppable, alive, and multi-voiced as a parade moving through the streets.

The clattering, hollering song of Indians on the move is primal and powerful. There’s a feeling that you’re somehow witnessing a deeper, stronger spirit breaking through the structures that govern city life, and the only thing more arresting than the sound is the sight of it: the Indians wear towering, elaborate suits that require months’ worth of work, topped with billowing ostrich plumes in riotous colors and festooned with painstakingly hand-beaded patches and panels that glitter in the sun or under streetlights: Some of the beadwork art might be Native American or African imagery, in homage to the culture’s roots, and some might depict images from an Indian’s own community, or personal life.

The Mardi Gras Indian sound had crept into broader culture already in pop and R&B form with 1950s and ‘60s hits like “Iko Iko.” The first time the greater public really got a at look at what Indians were about, though, was on the covers of two funky 1970s releases from the Wild Magnolias, which featured Monk Boudreaux:  the first a close-up of a beaded and bejeweled patch, the second featuring the band fully suited up, blazing with color like a gang of extraordinary birds. These albums, which melded the traditional percussion and chants with slick, gritty and electric New Orleans funk, began a new chapter in the Indian tradition. Cha Wa bears that torch today, and also expands its horizons: the music on My People is a collage of multiple New Orleans sounds, from second-line brass to hip-hop to smooth soul music. That is, after all, how Southern stories get told – passed down through the years, acknowledging history as each generation adds its own part of the tale. And as a band, Cha Wa itself is that kind of multiple thing, with native New Orleanians like Boudreaux alongside new transplants like Gelini and guitarist/musical director Ari Teitel, and elders alongside young artists like recent college graduate Aurelien Barnes, the trumpeter and percussionist who sings lead on the title track “My People,” which he co-wrote with keyboardist Andriu Yanovski. The son of musician and educator Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes, Aurelien – like Boudreaux – grew up surrounded by New Orleans folkways, then studied formally with local jazz legends like Edward “Kidd” Jordan and Harold Battiste’s protégé Jesse McBride. “We’re bringing together different parts of New Orleans culture that are related, but aren’t the same,” Barnes said.

Joe Gelini was first captured by the sound of ‘70s New Orleans funk, the Meters and the Neville Brothers, in high school. “My mind was blown by that New Orleans style of drumming, all those incredible rhythms,” he said. Later, as a student at the Berklee College of Music, he had the chance to take a lesson from the great New Orleans drummer Idris Muhammad. “And I had this moment of clarity – he said, all these rhythms we’re playing are based on Mardi Gras Indians.”

After graduating, Gelini moved to New Orleans and made himself a student of the sound. He was such an apt one that he quickly began playing with Monk, soaking in the rhythm and the culture both onstage and at more informal neighborhood practices, as well as out in the streets. “I felt like such a guest of the culture, and I also felt like family,” he said.

New Orleans culture exists uniquely in time. It treats its musical history with reverence: origins a century old, or more, are always audible in the sounds that define it, from jazz to brass-band to Indian music. Yet it constantly welcomes new growth, too – funk and hip-hop and contemporary R&B meld easily with all of its venerated sonic traditions, keeping the city’s singular culture vital, vivid and honest.

My People is the latest in the catalog of a young band that has always typified this essential part of the character of America’s most interesting musical city. It sounds like New Orleans today. “With New Orleans music, you have to keep the traditions, it’s rooted in tradition,” explained Joseph Boudreaux. “You add your originality, and connect to those roots.”

“We try to take the influence of Monk and Bo and Willie Tee [from the original Wild Magnolias] back in the day, when they were interpreting the music of their time – the deep funk, disco, Afrobeat and tinges of reggae,” said Gelini. “And we’re also trying to interpret and write new music that we’re inspired to play that’s relevant to our generation, and our current social environment.”

With regard to the latter, a chilling cover of Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War,” fronted by guest Alvin “Youngblood” Hart and textured by its African-influenced arrangement, stands out as a timely statement of protest. But at its core, the Mardi Gras Indian tradition itself is as much defiant one as it is a celebratory one. For Black people, like the first Indians, to take to the streets in a display of beauty and power was dangerous a hundred years ago; it still is, of course, today. To take joy in their own loud voices and physical glory – crowned in feathers and jewels – is its own certain kind of protest. My People feels like pure joy, a distillation of generations of New Orleans expression, but it also never fails to remind us how hard-won that joy was and still is: not least in the tense, funky and explosive title track, with its declaration “My people, we’re still here.”

“Mardi Gras Indian songs are inherently songs about freedom,” Joe Gelini said. “And that struggle is as relevant today as it’s ever been.”

Bio by Alison Fensterstock

View Full Lineup >

California WorldFest

An annual music festival that brings music from around the world to Grass Valley, California. We honor the land our festival is held on with our Global Indigenous Peoples Village. PLUS: Workshops & Yoga • Global Conscious Living • World Food & Artisan Market • Family Fun for All Ages • Buskers • Late Night Music • Parade & More!

Contact Us

NEW YEAR • ON SALE NOW

Get Tickets

@caworldfest | #musicconnectsusall

California WorldFest © 2022. California WorldFest is presented by The Center for the Arts, a cultural and educational organization that promotes and presents the literary, visual, & performing arts for the enrichment of our community.
Site Photography by John Taber, Marion Charlotte Photography, Ryuta Shimotomai, and Eye of Laksmi.

California WorldFest acknowledges the racial injustice of the past and present. We are committed to listening to BBIPOC voices and educating ourselves as we work together towards a future built on equality. We believe the arts foster unity and will continue to advocate for BBIPOC artists and community members. We see you, we hear you, we support you.

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80

California WorldFest 2022 | Official Performer

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80

Seun Kuti is the youngest son of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti. He has spent most of his life preserving and extending his father’s political and musical legacy as the leader of his father’s former band Egypt 80.

Kuti was born in early 1983. He showed interest in his father’s music from the age of five, and at nine began opening Fela’s shows, singing a select group of songs with Egypt 80 before his dad took the stage. As a developing saxophonist and percussionist, he entered the formal ranks of the band before he was 12. Fela passed in 1997, and Seun, in fulfillment of his father’s wishes, assumed the mantle as head of Egypt 80; he has run it ever since.

During his teens, Kuti divided his time between the band and school, participating in African Football. From the time he was 18, he pursued music full-time. His shows were always a mix of his father’s tunes and his own. Although the elder Kuti never performed his recorded work on-stage, Seun felt it important that these compositions get a live hearing and added them to his own set.

Along the way, Seun began to add his own twist to the music, digging deep into various African traditions to reflect the continent’s struggles and cultures. His debut recording, Seun Kuti & Fela’s Egypt 80, was initially issued by WM Recordings in 2008, and later picked up for distribution by Mr. Bongo. While many outside Africa criticized it for using the Egypt 80 name, critics embraced its musical drive and improvisational fervor. Mr. Bongo also released his Many Things set later that year, which drew more praise than criticism.

Seun toured globally and played for enthusiastically receptive audiences in Detroit, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Paris, London, Tokyo, and especially Lagos. In 2011, He cut From Africa with Fury: Rise for Knitting Factory Records. It was co-produced with Brian Eno and John Reynolds. The set proved to be his breakthrough; it landed on both Billboard and digital International Charts. Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 — the band still retained three-quarters of the group that played, protested, and were arrested with his father — toured the globe relentlessly, often playing multi-hour shows that were as heavy on group improvisation as they were on composition. The music never deviated from the overtly political. The younger Kuti continued to state that “Fela will always be number one,” despite the fact that he was shifting and transforming Afrobeat with his own growing, evolving musical signature.

“As the son of Afrobeat icon Fela Kuti, Seun Kuti carries a torch for infectious grooves and political songwriting.”

                                                             – NPR

View Full Lineup >

California WorldFest

An annual music festival that brings music from around the world to Grass Valley, California. We honor the land our festival is held on with our Global Indigenous Peoples Village. PLUS: Workshops & Yoga • Global Conscious Living • World Food & Artisan Market • Family Fun for All Ages • Buskers • Late Night Music • Parade & More!

Contact Us

NEW YEAR • ON SALE NOW

Get Tickets

@caworldfest | #musicconnectsusall

California WorldFest © 2022. California WorldFest is presented by The Center for the Arts, a cultural and educational organization that promotes and presents the literary, visual, & performing arts for the enrichment of our community.
Site Photography by John Taber, Marion Charlotte Photography, Ryuta Shimotomai, and Eye of Laksmi.

California WorldFest acknowledges the racial injustice of the past and present. We are committed to listening to BBIPOC voices and educating ourselves as we work together towards a future built on equality. We believe the arts foster unity and will continue to advocate for BBIPOC artists and community members. We see you, we hear you, we support you.

Old Crow Medicine Show

California WorldFest 2022 | Official Performer

Old Crow Medicine Show

Old Crow Medicine Show began in late September of 1998 when a monkey wrench gang of old-time string band musicians, most of us still in our teens, left Ithaca, New York to cross the Canadian border and play our way to the Pacific. We brought our pawnshop fiddles, banjos, guitars and washboards to downtown street corners across Ontario, to paper mill towns above Lake Superior, farmers markets in Manitoba, Indian reservations in South Dakota, and out to the streets of Vancouver, Victoria, Seattle and Portland. Along the way we discovered a unique country sound both old and new, foreign and familiar. We knew we had captured something special.

The lineup was fluid, just hitch up the best available pickers and singers around at the time, and if you had a car that was a plus. Even today, Old Crow remains a collective, borrowing from the unique talents of an evolving cast. But right from the start it was me in the driver’s seat of that black ’82 Volvo station wagon with the flames painted on the side, Critter Fuqua riding shotgun, and in the rear view there was Willie Watson riding in Kevin Hayes’ Ford Econoline van (we called it the White Whale). Standing behind the big doghouse bass was founding member Benny Gould and, when he wasn’t birdwatching, wily Kevin Ahearn played the banjo. We had painter/poet Jake Hascup along the for the ride and Shani Abel, a sassy Lubbock Texan who sold found objects during our street corner sets.

After crossing and recrossing the continent we settled in the mountains of North Carolina to further explore our newfound musical farrago. We lived off the land, worked in tobacco fields, made corn whiskey, and learned from the old-timers the affairs of plain living. Willie and Benny built banjos. Critter trimmed Frazier firs. Kevin and I shared a cabin deep in a holler with no electricity or plumbing (we did have a sheep, Daisy, and a potbelly pig named Jazz). We were a collective, immersed deeply in the richness of Appalachia, but more than that, we were a pack of friends becoming a band.

After a chance encounter on a downtown curb in Boone, NC with flat pick legend Doc Watson, we were invited to Merlefest where we caught the attention of Nashville. We made the big move as the new century dawned, bringing along buck dancing multi-instrumentalist Matt Kinman. Like in Boone, busking continued to bear more than just tips. One night on Lower Broadway, Morgan Jahnig threw a dollar in the case and 20 years later he’s still our bassist. It was with Morgan that we first moved from the streets of Lower Broad to the stage of Ryman Auditorium – the Mother Church of Country Music – to make our Grand Ole Opry debut. In 2004 Critter, Morgan, Kevin Hayes, Willie and I released the album O.C.M.S., including fan favorite “Wagon Wheel” (which, thanks in large part to our friend Darius Rucker, has gone on to be one of the top five best selling country songs of all time). Soon thereafter Gill Landry joined the band in a similar fashion to Morgan. During the mid 2000s while Critter took a hiatus, Old Crow brought in banjo players from Richie Stearns to Dave Rawlings to help plug the gap; even Bucky Baxter played a few shows in the lineup.

Together we pounded the pavement relentlessly; sharing our songs, spreading our string band revival sound and bringing audiences to their feet night after night. In the early days it was home-grown clubs and lots of opening slots for artists ranging from Dave Matthews Band to Ricky Skaggs. At some point we graduated out of the ’82 Volvo and the Ford Econoline van and began traveling in tourbuses, occasionally planes and once even on a train (anyone remember the Train Tour we did with Mumford & Sons and Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros?). Those years brought experiences with fellow travelers and troubadours who offered early inspiration and encouragement like Gillian Welch and Marty Stuart and John Prine. And it was during those years when the support of voices like Garrison Keillor and Conan O’Brian helped fan the flames we’d been lighting across the country. Out on the road we met thousands of fans who were hungry for roots music. And every night we gave them what they wanted plus some. If ever there was a question about whether or not a string band could burn down the house, we put it to rest.

When mandolinist/keyboardist/drummer Cory Younts, joined OCMS in 2009, we began fusing more rock and roll elements into our sound. We didn’t abandon what we learned back in the mountains of North Carolina, we just added to it. With Cory came even more intensity on stage and an even more expansive range in the recording studio.

In 2011 Willie left the band, Critter returned, and we were joined by West Virginia’s Chance McCoy. In 2012, just a dozen years after first busking outside the front door, Old Crow Medicine Show was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. It was a huge honor to stand together on that stage and be welcomed into a family to which so many of our heroes belong. To this day, spreading the Opry love is a priority (we even got the honor of taking the Grand Ole Opry to Bonnaroo as hosts of the show in 2017 and 2018). In the years following our Opry induction, Critter, Kevin, Morgan, Cory, Gill, Chance and I had more to celebrate including not one but two Grammy Awards – 2013’s Best Long Form Music Video with the Big Easy Express and 2015’s best folk album with Remedy.

The late twenty-teens saw Old Crow’s lineup continue to evolve with the departures of Critter, Chance, and guitjo master Kevin Hayes and the appearances of new players including Charlie Worsham, Joe Andrews, and Robert Price. In 2019 Morgan, Cory and I welcomed percussionist Jerry Pentecost who paved the way for Old Crow’s current dream-team which also features slide guitarist Mike Harris and ruby-throated tenor Mason Via. Together we’re crossing and recrossing the country, bringing audiences to their feet night after night. And when we’re not on the road, we’re at home in Nashville recording new music and filming episodes of Hartland Hootenanny at our very own clubhouse, Hartland Studio.

This year, as we celebrate 23 years of making live music together, Old Crow Medicine Show keeps turning new pages in our collective story. It’s a story that includes all the stars we chased, all those fans who followed in our chasing, and each of the musicians who made the chase their own. The journey that began in a Volvo station wagon at the Canadian border in the fall of 1998 continues to unfold in ways unimaginable. Our exploration of the continent’s heritage in song simply keeps on producing. Until that vein is tapped we’ll probably just keep on digging. And that’ll likely take a good long while.

View Full Lineup >

California WorldFest

An annual music festival that brings music from around the world to Grass Valley, California. We honor the land our festival is held on with our Global Indigenous Peoples Village. PLUS: Workshops & Yoga • Global Conscious Living • World Food & Artisan Market • Family Fun for All Ages • Buskers • Late Night Music • Parade & More!

Contact Us

NEW YEAR • ON SALE NOW

Get Tickets

@caworldfest | #musicconnectsusall

California WorldFest © 2022. California WorldFest is presented by The Center for the Arts, a cultural and educational organization that promotes and presents the literary, visual, & performing arts for the enrichment of our community.
Site Photography by John Taber, Marion Charlotte Photography, Ryuta Shimotomai, and Eye of Laksmi.

California WorldFest acknowledges the racial injustice of the past and present. We are committed to listening to BBIPOC voices and educating ourselves as we work together towards a future built on equality. We believe the arts foster unity and will continue to advocate for BBIPOC artists and community members. We see you, we hear you, we support you.

Vox Sambou

California WorldFest 2022 | Official Performer

Vox Sambou

Vox Sambou comes from Limbé, Haiti. He writes and performs in Creole, French, English, Spanish and Portugues. He is a founding member of Montreal-based hip-hop collective, Nomadic Massive. He performed across North America at the Kennedy center in Washington; Grand Performances in Los Angeles; Le Printemps de Bourges, France, Chile, Brasil, Senegal, Mali and Burkina Faso, Colombia, Brasil, Morocco, Spain, USA.

He is now at his 3rd solo album: “The Brasil Session”, recorded in Brasil, released in spring 2016. Others are “Lakay” in 2008 and “Dyasporafriken” in 2013 – that earned him the nomination of best world album music at GAMIQ. 

«The Brasil Session» Live recorded in Sao Paulo, Brasil, has been released in Montreal in May 2016. In 2016 he performed in Francofolie  Festival de Montreal, Atlantic Music Exposition  – Capo Verde, La Havana World Music  Festival, Visa for Music – Rabat, CirculArt – Medellin, Imex India – Calcutta, Apap – New York. SXSW, Austin, USA.

His music focuses on the traditional rhythms of Haiti mixed with elements of afrobeat, jazz, reggae, and hip-hop.

View Full Lineup >

California WorldFest

An annual music festival that brings music from around the world to Grass Valley, California. We honor the land our festival is held on with our Global Indigenous Peoples Village. PLUS: Workshops & Yoga • Global Conscious Living • World Food & Artisan Market • Family Fun for All Ages • Buskers • Late Night Music • Parade & More!

Contact Us

NEW YEAR • ON SALE NOW

Get Tickets

@caworldfest | #musicconnectsusall

California WorldFest © 2022. California WorldFest is presented by The Center for the Arts, a cultural and educational organization that promotes and presents the literary, visual, & performing arts for the enrichment of our community.
Site Photography by John Taber, Marion Charlotte Photography, Ryuta Shimotomai, and Eye of Laksmi.

California WorldFest acknowledges the racial injustice of the past and present. We are committed to listening to BBIPOC voices and educating ourselves as we work together towards a future built on equality. We believe the arts foster unity and will continue to advocate for BBIPOC artists and community members. We see you, we hear you, we support you.