Feature Story                                                      Wednesday June 22, 2016



38th Annual Harrison Music Festival returns with exotic global blend July 9-17

Bryan Cutler/Photos submitted


Rajasthan Josh will be one of the bands bringing their special brand of music and dance at the Literary Café. Below, they're on stage.


he Harrison Festival of the Arts this year will contain a strong component in its programming, featuring both local and international writers, dancers, and musicians.

The Festival’s Literary Café, which occurs on Monday July 11th in Harrison’s Memorial Hall, is entirely focused on South Asian literature and music.


The Literary Café, a collaboration with the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) Continuing Education Department, the first-half of the evening, will feature readings from two UVF student writers of South Asian heritage, Vancouver-based poet Fauzia Rafique, and author Gary Thandi.


Thandi, a counselor and social worker by training, will be reading from his upcoming novel for young adults, Hyphenated, which deals with the subject of gang violence and drugs in the South Asian community.

Artistic Director Andy Hillhouse explains that the concert by music and dance ensemble Rajasthan Josh, who will perform in the second half of the Literary Café, offers a rare opportunity for Fraser Valley residents to hear a world class Indian folk ensemble.

 "This group is widely known in India and abroad for bringing enchanting, mystical Sufi songs, some dating back to the 12th century, to a broad audience, and for being very accessible and entertaining" says Hillhouse. "They combine a rumbling type of drumming called Nagara with soulful folk string instruments, and have collaborated with musicians ranging from The Grateful Dead to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Their latest project was produced by Johnny Greenwood from Radiohead."

Bhangra Beat Academy will be on the Beach Stage, July 9.

Hillhouse adds that they will have a dancer with them as well.

The Festival also draws on the Fraser Valley’s strong South Asian community, with a bhangra dance presentation by Bhangra Beat Academy. Bhangra is a South Asian dance form that has exloded in popularity in recent years, with troupes multiplying throughout the lower mainland. Hillhouse notes that "We have been regularly presenting bhangra at the festival for years, and it remains one of the most popular things we do – it is colourful and joyous and always attracts a big crowd." The Bhangra Beat Academy will perform on the Beach Stage on Saturday July 9 at 2:20pm.

The Harrison Festival would like to acknowledge the assistance of BC Gaming in funding the South Asian component of the festival.

Complete lineup and tickets for the 38th annual Harrison Festival of the Arts are available online at www.harrisonfestival.com, by phone at 604.796.3664 or in person at the Ranger Station Art Gallery in Harrison. Early bird pricing available until June 24.


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