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WorldFest brought good vibrations

This was my fifth year attending the WorldFest at the Nevada County Fairgrounds and I’m always amazed at what a great event this is. It’s truly like visiting other countries for an evening. The mixture of various cultures, food and music was great for the senses.

The overall easy going atmosphere and “vibe” you get from this event is truly special. The people attending are friendly, the performances are outstanding and the venue at the Fairgrounds with the huge pine trees just adds to this event’s appeal and magic.

I’ve never been disappointed at Worldfest and this year was no exception. My only regret is that I had to make a choice which musical performances to listen to. I attended Saturday night’s lineup of performances: Redhead, Dobet Gnahore, Tcheka, Strunz and Farrah and Ozomatli.



The evening kicked-off with Redhead. They say that dynamite comes in small packages and they were right. This little Australian gal really knows how to pack a punch. Her voice had both a melodic “K.D. Lang” quality with a strong rock, jazz-tinged edge to it. Lots of big sound from this three member band. They put on a great show. It was a very nice way to start off the evening.

Dobet Gnahore was more traditional African music with some exciting percussion and dancing. Dobet’s dancing was amazing and the band’s music and sound was captivating and tribal. This woman can move! Her farewell message which she rattled off in a few different languages was “Love, peace and live a good life.”




Tcheka is billed as “an alluring hybrid of traditional Cape Verdean batuque rhythm mixed with sun-kissed jazz and sweet Afro-pop.” All I know is it was great. Tcheka voice quality was unique and engaging. I could’ve listened to these guys all night. With captivating acoustic guitar rifts, big bass gord drum rhythms, along with Tcheka’s unique voice quality, made their music truly hypnotic with a laid back island groove. Very cool.

I’ve always been a big fan of Strunz and Farah. These guys are truly wizards on the acoustic guitar, Costa Rican Jorge Strunz and Iranian Ardeshir Farah delivered and unforgettable performance. The blending of Spanish, Middle Eastern, Persian, Gypsy and Latin rhythms were truly impressive. Their unique blend of flamenco and jazz had the entire crowd mezmorized. I was no exception.

The headliner for the evening was Ozomatli. This was the first time I had heard the band Ozomatli perform. These guys put on a fantastic live performance. The couple that was standing next to my chair on the lawn commented they couldn’t understand “why there were so many chairs in front of the stage.”

“Didn’t they know Ozomatli was performing? Nobody sits when these guys hit the stage!”… And she was absolutely right. Everybody was up on their feet and grooving to the music immediately.

It’s really hard to categorize their music because it’s very eclectic. These East L.A. boys brought down the house though with their unique brand of Latin salsa, urban hip-hop and jazzy funk. The energy that this ten member ensemble puts out is phenomenal. What a great way to end a Saturday night at Worldfest.

Ken Gutierrez is the design editor at The Union and a huge music fan. He can be reached via e-mail at kgutierrez@theunion.com.


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