A Message Of Peace
The Monterey World Music Festival was built around an idea that is needed now more than ever.
Thursday, September 13, 2001
Urna''s soaring vocal improvisations will give traditional Mongolian songs a contemporary feel during the World Music Festival on Saturday.Some of the bands scheduled to appear at this weekend''s Monterey World Music Festival might not make it. With all the uncertainty surrounding air traffic here and abroad, it simply might not be possible to get here from there.
And yet, even if there are some cancellations, David Cloutier, executive director for the Cultural Council of Monterey County, promises that the show will go on. Most of the bands are already in the country and can make alternative travel arrangements to this area, and Cloutier says that if there are any bands that must cancel their appearance, he will fill the empty slots using groups that are based in the United States.
While it may be difficult to focus on things of beauty while the smoke and body counts rise both in the United States and abroad, Cloutier says it really only underscores the need for artists to assert the beauty in this world. In fact, says Cloutier, the inspiration for the festival, now in its fifth year, came under equally painful circumstances.
Cloutier says he first envisioned the festival in 1992 while he was sitting outside the former Kiewel''s Cafe, near Fisherman''s Wharf. Rioting had broken out in Los Angeles, following the court decision in the Rodney King/police brutality case, and troops from the United States Army were being dispatched to restore the peace in Southern California. As Cloutier watched, troops from Fort Ord were loaded onto transport ships.
"As I watched, I wondered ''what can we do in the arts to alleviate the darkness, the shadow parts of the tribal, to celebrate the uniqueness of everyone''s culture,''" recalls Cloutier.
"One of the things I feel we must do is put forward the message of cultural understanding," says Cloutier of this year''s event. "This weekend is a time for us to come together and celebrate the cultural expressions of humanity. If we can only find a reason to hate, we won''t survive."
While it''s easy to get swept away in the barrage of barely concealed xenophobia and promises of vengeance, it may be even more important to remember the bonds. There is a love of art, poetry and, most importantly, music--which speaks a language without any words--that transcends all boundaries.
The search to touch a common, human taproot is the core of the World Music Festival, according to Cloutier.
"I don''t see the traditions of the Mongolians as belonging only to the Mongolians. I see them as part of my tradition as a human being."
Monterey world music festival Schedule 09/13/01FridayIrvine Auditorium, Monterey Institute of International Studies, Monterey
8pm Storm Over Asia: Screening of 1928 Russian silent film accompanied by Tuvan throat-singing band Yat-Kha.
SaturdayCustom House Plaza, Near Fisherman's Wharf, Monterey
Noon Khac-Chi Ensemble: Traditional music from the highlands of Vietnam.
1:30pm Urna: Contemporary and traditional Mongolian vocals with many influences.
3pm Yat-Kha: Traditional Tuvan throat-singing, combined with rock ''n'' roll instruments.
5pm San Francisco Taiko Dojo: Japanese Taiko drummers.
Royal Chapel, San Carlos Cathedral, Monterey
8pm Altramar: Medieval Celtic and Celtic-inspired music spanning most of Europe.
SundayCustom House Plaza, Near Fisherman's Wharf, Monterey
Noon Correo Aereo: Traditional music of Venezuela, Mexico and Argentina.
1:30pm Yuri Yunakov Ensemble: A blend of traditional Bulgarian music and jazz.
3pm Nass Marrakech: Trance music from Morocco.
5pm Tarika: Madagascar roots music delivered with a rock ''n'' roll attitude.