Thievery Corporation brings world music to Summerfest
Many different sounds reverberate through the festival grounds at Summerfest. Highlighted by Saturday's Thievery Corporation set, world music has found a niche.
Henry Maier Festival Park is home to eight ethnic festivals during the summer plus the grandaddy of Milwaukee festivals, Summerfest. A number of bands playing this year’s fest bring global sounds to our backyard. They may not be from all over the world, but their influences come from far beyond the Midwest.
Thievery Corporation, who headlined the U.S. Cellular Connection Stage on Saturday, June 30, incorporates sounds from around the globe, and have become a regular fixture at Summerfest, headlining side-stages in 2008 and 2010 in addition to Saturday’s set. Rob Garza and Eric Hilton formed the band in Washington D.C. in 1995 after the two met at The Eighteenth Street Lounge in D.C., which is co-owned by Hilton, and bonded over Brazilian music, dub and ’60s bossa nova.
This revolving and growing roster of musicians includes dancehall DJ/singer Sleepy Wonder from Jamaica, Argentinean vocalist Natalia Clavier, RAS Puma from the Virgin Islands, vocalist Lou Lou from Iran and the newest collaborator, hip-hop MC Mr. Lif. Add core member Rob Meyers on sitar and you have a true melting pot of musical styles.
Only a handful of dates are on this year’s tour. After Summerfest, stops include Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado, Electric Forest Festival in Michigan, Austin City Limits, and international dates in Canada and Croatia.
Saturday night’s set at Summerfest was one massive dance party. The crowd welcomed the group with open arms and Thievery gave the audience a trip around the world in under two hours. Though it was not a full band, as the group at times consists of up to 20 people on stage, it was still a stellar performance of global grooves. For those just discovering Thievery Corporation, they recently released a best-of collection, It Takes A Thief.
Other acts performing at Summerfest that will give you a good dose of world music include Jimmy Cliff, Ziggy Marley, R.A.S. Movement with Naima Adedapo, Orquesta Nabori, La India and Tito Rojas, Red Hot Chili Pipers, Mt. Zion Sound System, Spanglish and last but certainly not least – Ecuador Manta performing music from the Andes all day, everyday with a constant crowd of Summerfest-goers dancing the day away.
For more information on Summerfest, celebrating its 45th year, visit www.summerfest.com. Follow along with TCD at Summerfest with the hashtag #TCDsummer. Follow TCD on Twitter at @TCDigest. Follow Angela Morgan on Twitter at @AngelinePhotog.