2017 Lotus Festival
The 24th annual Lotus Festival took place during the weekend of September 28th and October 1st in Bloomington. A staple of Bloomington, the festival aims to weave together diverse tapestries of sounds, visual art, and more from around the world. This year’s lineup featured five groups connected with countries in the REEI scope. REEI co-sponsored the event and these performances. Additionally, IU’s School of Global and International Studies served as a co-sponsor whilst also sponsoring the free Saturday event “Lotus in the Park.”
Alash: Hailing from the central-Asian Tuva Republic (Russia), Alash’s unique sound is a blend of traditional Tuvan folk music with more modern influences and instruments. The trio’s signature sound comes from the throat-singing style known as “khoomei.” With khoomei being directly connected with ancient pastoral animism, Alash helps to maintain both Tuvan cultural heritage and traditional music.
Fareed Haque & Goran Ivanovic: These two guitarists combine to create a collage of sounds hearkening to their varied heritages and the many styles resulting. The duo’s sound draws heavily upon the influence of Croatian and Serbian music, in addition to Pakistani and Chilean musical traditions. From Gypsy music to flamenco to jazz, this duo’s range and virtuosity is sublime.
Iberi Choir: Comprised of 12 folk singers, the Iberi Choir takes its influence from every corner of the Republic of Georgia. Their style is based in the popular Georgian tradition of Polyphonic singing, recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Though polyphony was often secular in nature, Iberi’s repertoire spans through and beyond this, including ancient pagan songs.
Maria Pomianowska & Reborn: Amongst the only bands to use knee-chordaphone fiddles (primarily the suka, in this instance), Reborn brings two generations of Polish women together with long-forgotten and now reconstructed instruments. Their innovative music is centered on heavy usage of the suka and the frame drum.
Raya Brass Band: Taking their influence from brass bands common to the Balkans, this tight-knit sextet pillages from traditional Balkan, New Orleans brass, and even American punk-oriented styles. Described by some as “dance party mayhem,” the group brings a funky pulse to their meshing of sounds from home (they are Brooklyn-based) and abroad.
For more information on the Lotus Festival, please visit the eponymous website: http://www.lotusfest.org/
The IU Cinema has been known to feature a number of international films each semester. The following films were produced in the geographic scope of REEI and were shown during the Fall Semester of 2017:
Junction [2016, Lithuania/Canada/Australia]: Director Nathan Jurevicius tells the story of a young girl from a family of “Face Changers,” as she journeys to a mountain to alter the direction of the wind. This was part of IU Cinema’s miniseries Shine On! The Best Animated Films from Children’s Film Festival Seattle 2017.
Mimi & Liza: Farewell Color Grey [2013, Slovakia]: From director Katarína Kerekesová, Mimi & Liza demonstrates the miraculous wonder of colors. Mimi, a blind girl, and her friend Liza team up to bring colors and joy to their gloomy neighborhood. This was part of IU Cinema’s miniseries Shine On! The Best Animated Films from Children’s Film Festival Seattle 2017.
Русский ковчег (Russian Ark) [2002, Russia]: Alexander Sokurov’s 2002 historical drama gained cinematic clout for being filmed with one continuous shot. A truly unique reflection, this film takes its viewers through the St. Petersburg Hermitage Museum in the first person, focusing on a number of lesser-known historical moments in a dream-like walk-through.
Бельчонок и санки (Belchonok i sanki/The Sled) [2016, Russia]: Directed by Olesya Shchukina, this animated short follows a curious squirrel and its endeavors as it discovers a new contraption: a sled. This was part of IU Cinema’s miniseries Shine On! The Best Animated Films from Children’s Film Festival Seattle 2017.
Сталкер (Stalker) [1979, U.S.S.R.]: Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 science-fiction classic, the film takes place in an unknown, dystopian world, following the exhibition of a guide (a “stalker” in the context), a writer, and a professor, as they explore the “Zone.” Searching for a room to fulfill their innermost desires, the characters traverse through a surreal and unnerving environment to the tune of philosophical discussion and psychological themes.
To keep up to speed with the upcoming schedule or more information regarding IU Cinema, please visit the IU Cinema website: https://cinema.indiana.edu/