Wednesday, July 10, 2013

World Tour

Aziz Sahmaoui, photo by Manuel Lagos
If you missed out on this summer's sold-out Solstice, Cleveland Museum of Art's premier celebration of global music, you're in luck. Every Wednesday night in July you can soak up world beats with the new CMA concert and film series, Ohio City Stages. And there's no need to worry about tickets here, the event is free.

"It's an upscale, museum-style block party celebrating summer and the city," says Tom Welsh, director of Ohio City Stages.

The series introduces people to global musicians they wouldn't normally have access to, such as Aziz Sahmaoui & University of Gnawa from Morocco. On July 24, the band will share their interpretation of Gnawa trance music, a fusion of Arabic north and sub-Saharan south sounds, with attendees. Sahmaoui, who has only performed once before in the United States, is looking forward to playing for Clevelanders.

"We love cultural diversity," Sahmaoui says through a translator. "When people identify themselves to that powerful energy, then we all become one."

Tonight, Fanfare Ciocarlia, a Balkan brass band that plays gypsy music, will play a set at 7:30 p.m. on a stage set up on the block surrounding Transformer Station on West 29th Street. Don't worry about the gloomy weather canceling the concert — the show goes on rain or shine.

Fanfare Ciocarlia, photo by Arne Reinhardt
After the concert, continue your night of cultural enrichment with a film screening by Bellwether, a project of the museum's Contemporary Arts Society, on the lawn of the Transformer Station.

Up tonight is artist Kevin Beasley, who will show a selection of his favorite films that range form old Hollywood to foreign movies, artist films and movie trailers.

"It's films that I think are really great," he says. "I thought this was a good opportunity to show films people don’t really know about. They are kind of obscure, but they are things I like to think about."