Cross cultural sounds; World Music Series returns to Austin

Published 8:16 am Sunday, July 9, 2017

A crowd gathers in the Paramount Theatre, waiting eagerly for the show to begin. People talk amongst themselves as they wait, but the conversations die down as the lights are lowered, signaling the start of the show.

The band steps on stage and the audience holds its collective breath in anticipation. The performance begins, a blend of ethnic music with a touch of the contemporary unfamiliar to most in the audience.

It is unexpected, perhaps a little strange, but it is also unique and surprisingly welcoming, a change of pace from the norm.

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If this appeals to you, then you are in luck. The Austin Area Commission for the Arts’ World Music Series returns to Austin with a performance by Femina on Wednesday, July 12. Other acts for this year are Delgres on July 19 and Connla on July 26.

“These are high quality acts with a new and different twist,” said AACA Executive Director Laura Helle.

The World Music Series has performed in Austin for several years and has featured different acts every year.

Performances are made possible through grant funds from the Southeast Minnesota Arts Council. Helle said Rochester applies for the grant money, which provides additional funding for bands to perform in the outlying communities.

The Argentinian group Femina will be the first of three acts scheduled to appear in the Austin Area Commission for the Arts’ World Music Series this summer. Femina opens the series on Wednesday, July 12. Photo provided.

“It brings shows from all over the world that let people try music they are not familiar with,” she said. “It’s been popular with families who want to expose their kids to new styles of music.”

Femina consists of three women from San Martin de los Andes, Argentina, whose musical style is described as a folk-funk-rap fusion. Influenced by artists ranging from Aluis Alberto Spinetta to Erykah Badu, Femina has been preforming together since 2004. Austin is one of their stops on their USA Summer Tour.

Delgres will perform on Wednesday, July 19. Named after Louis Delgrès, a leader in the resistance against the reinstitution of slavery on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, Delgres is described as “delta blues meets Caribbean lament.” Aside from Austin, Delgres is touring throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.

The third and final show of the World Music Series will be Connla on Wednesday, July 26. Hailing from the cities of Armagh and Derry, Northern Ireland, Connla is a five-piece Irish Celtic band that plays traditional Irish music as well as music inspired from across the globe. This year they are touring through the United Kingdom, Italy, Austria and the United States.

All performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. on their respective dates and will be held at the Paramount Theatre. All shows are free to the public.

“If you’re curious about new music, it is a low investment for you to come and find out,” Helle said.

For more information, call 507-434-0934. To hear samples of the music of Femina, Delgres and Connla, visit