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The 43rd Kent State Folk Festival Opens with Music from Puerto Rico

Posted Oct, 23, 2009

43rd Kent State Folk FestivalThe 43rd Kent State Folk Festival kicks off seven days of performances with a concert featuring Puerto Rican musical treasure Edwin Colón Zayas and friends on Thursday, Nov. 5, at 8 p.m. at the Kent Stage (175 E. Main St.) in downtown Kent. The evening presents a panorama of Puerto Rican instrumental and vocal music and dance and is suitable for all ages. This is Colón Zayas’ first appearance in Kent. Tickets for the concert are free for students with a valid ID.

Colón Zayas, a master of the “jíbaro” style of Puerto Rican roots music, will be joined by Noel Velázquez and Bill Colón Zayas from Puerto Rico; members of Rondalla Puerto Rico from Dayton; Orlando “El Mostro” Santiago from Elyria; Northeast Ohio’s Grupo Isla del Encanto folkloric dance troupe; and Noraliz Ruiz Caraballo (a graduate student at Kent State University). In September of this year, Colón (a virtuoso on the cuatro and the tiple) was awarded a prestigious National Heritage Fellowship, the country’s highest honor in folk and traditional arts.

Born in the central mountain town of Orocovis, Colón Zayas has traveled the world introducing audiences to his island’s musical traditions. Similar to the Cuban music featured in the documentary “Buena Vista Social Club,” Puerto Rico’s traditional music is a blending of Spanish and African musical elements mixed with a tropical flavor. Typical instruments include the cuatro (a 10-string instrument similar to an Irish bouzouki) and the tiple (a 5-string instrument similar to a mandolin). Much older than the better known salsa, música jíbara (much like the old-time music of Appalachia) has been kept alive for centuries by inhabitants of Puerto Rico’s central mountains, passing songs down from generation to generation.

The concert includes a reception at intermission featuring traditional pastries by Cleveland’s Lelolai Bakery and is sponsored by the Gerald H. Read Center for International and Intercultural Education.

Tickets for all concerts presented during the 43rd Kent State Folk Festival are now on sale through the Kent Stage – 330-677-5005 or www.KentStage.org – or in person at Woodsy’s Music and Spin-More in Kent. Band bios, ticket information, links and more are available online at www.WKSU.org. The Kent State Folk Festival has a fan page on Facebook and can be followed on Twitter @KentFolkFest.

The line-up for the 43rd Kent State Folk Festival (all concerts at the Kent Stage unless otherwise noted) includes:

Thursday, Nov. 5 at 8 p.m.:    
Masters of Puerto Rican Roots Music featuring Edwin Colón Zayas – $10 general admission tickets, free for students with valid ID.

Friday, Nov. 6 at 8 p.m.:        
Greg Brown and Jorma Kaukonen – $25 reserved, $45 gold circle.

Saturday, Nov. 7 at 8 p.m.:    
The Del McCoury Band with Sarah Jarosz – $30 reserved, $50 gold circle.

Wednesday, Nov. 11 at 8 p.m.:    
Old Crow Medicine Show – $30 general admission ($35 day of show).

Thursday, Nov. 12 at 8 p.m.:    
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros with Family of the Year – $12 general admission.

Friday, Nov. 13 (various times):    
Folk Alley ‘Round Town (35+ venues throughout Kent) featuring a special appearance by Country Joe McDonald – FREE

Saturday, Nov. 14, noon-5 p.m.:    
Workshops (KSU Student Center) – FREE

Saturday, Nov. 14, 5 to 6 p.m.:    
Talent Contest (KSU Kiva) – FREE

Saturday, Nov. 14 at 8 p.m.:    
Rhythm in Shoes presents Banjo Dance with Dala – $20 reserved, WKSU members 50% off with member card, $5 for students with valid ID.

Festival support is provided by Kent State University, the City of Kent, Cascade Auto Group, Dominion East Ohio, Marc’s and Kashi, Great Lakes Brewing Co., Lehman’s, Continental Airlines, PARTA, Audio Technica, and Omnova Solutions.

WKSU broadcasts NPR & Classical Music at 89.7 FM, and is a service of Kent State University. WKSU programming is also heard on WKRW 89.3 FM in Wooster, WKRJ 91.5 FM in Dover/New Philadelphia, WKSV 89.1 FM in Thompson, WNRK 90.7 in Norwalk, W298BA 107.5 FM in Boardman, and W239AZ 95.7 FM in Ashland. The station broadcasts three HD Radio channels – adding WKSU-2 Folk Alley and WKSU-3 The Classical Channel to the analog broadcast schedule. The Classical Channel can also be heard in Cleveland at 107.3 HD-3. The WKSU Web site is www.wksu.org.

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Media Contact:
Robert J. Burford, burford@wksu.org, 330-672-3114