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A celebration of sound

Being seven months pregnant didn’t stop Sandra Lilia Velasquez, lead singer of the band Pistolera, from kicking up her heels on stage at the California WorldFest on Friday afternoon.

“It was fabulous,” event organizer Dan DeWayne said. “She was amazing, singing and dancing at the same time.”

Pistolera was just one of dozens of musical groups playing hip-shaking tunes at the four-day event, which kicked off on Thursday to one of the largest first-night crowds ever, DeWayne said.



The fest continues today and Sunday, with gates opening at 9 a.m. daily, music starting at 10 a.m. and workshops planned throughout the weekend. As many as 5,000 people are expected to attend the event bringing together music from Africa, Latin America, Russia, India and across the United States.

Local artists appearing at the festival this weekend include the Djunkyard Gypsies, Lee Bob Watson and fiddler Joe Craven.




Today’s lineup of more than 20 bands includes the sounds of Latin songstress Perla Batalla and the Bollywood stylings of the Singh Sisters.

The festival will end with a bang on Sunday night with the Sacramento-based Jackie Greene Band and the West African rhythms of Toumani Diabate’s Symmetric Orchestra.

Rising star

DeWayne counts Pistolera among one of the festival’s rising stars. The Brooklyn-based quartet plays a mixture of indie-pop and Mexican ranchera, which is German polka music with a Mexican twist.

For 11 years, WorldFest has attracted bands from Brooklyn to Brazil to eight stages beneath the tall pines of the Nevada County Fairgrounds. DeWayne’s mission is to showcase a broad array of music from around the world.

“All of these artists share the music of their countries,” DeWayne said, emphasizing one of his missions for the festival ” togetherness. “By bringing people together, we create a greater understanding of different cultures.”

Indie artist Ani DiFranco, who recorded an album with local folk hero Utah Phillips in 1999, headlined the festival on Friday night.

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To contact Staff Writer Jill Bauerle, e-mail jillb@the union.com or call 477-4219.


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