The Washington State Parks Folk and Traditional Arts Program invites the public to the annual International Concerts on the Border Series at Peace Arch Historical State Park on the U.S.- Canadian border in Whatcom County. The free one-hour concerts start at 2 p.m. each Sunday in August, beginning Aug. 4, at Peace Arch Historical State Park, 1900 A St., Blaine.
The series celebrates the Pacific Northwest’s rich tapestry of cultures and traditions with music and dance performances from communities around the world, including Thailand, Brazil, Texas/Mexico and Eastern Europe. The city of Blaine’s Tourism Advisory Council provided additional support for this year’s series.
Concerts are scheduled as follows:
Aug. 4: Chaopraya Ensemble
Chaopraya Ensemble performs Thai classical and folk music and a wide range of dances, from lively regional folk to graceful court dances. The core members of Chaopraya have performed together for 35 years, with a focus on preserving Thai music and dance heritage for younger generations. Members play traditional Thai instruments including the ranaad ek (an intricately adorned wooden xylophone played with mallets), khlui (a flute-like wind instrument), chakhe (a three-string floor zither), khim (a hammered dulcimer), and saw duang (a two-string instrument played with a bow).
Aug. 11: En Canto
A multi-ethnic female-led sextet, En Canto is Seattle’s only Forró band. Forró music has origins in the agricultural traditions of Northeastern Brazil and is a combination of multiple Brazilian rhythms including baião, xote and arrasta-pé. Forró refers to both the musical genre and the accompanying partner dance party events where the music is heard. En Canto shows are exuberant sonic journeys fueled primarily by twin accordions and tinged with the jazz backgrounds of several of the musicians.
Aug. 18: Juan Manuel Barco Conjunto
Juan Manuel Barco is a legend of conjunto and Tejano music in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Barco was born in Coal Mine, Texas, to a family of migrant farm workers who followed the crop harvests within Texas and to several states in the mid and southwest. Barco taught himself to play the guitar at age 6 and later taught himself to play the bajo sexto and bass guitar. His music incorporates the many styles he heard as his farmworker family traveled from place to place. He now composes his own songs about the migrant experience.
Aug. 25: Radost Folk Ensemble and Dunava
Since 1976, Radost Folk Ensemble has presented the dance, music and song of Eastern Europe throughout the Pacific Northwest. The Radost repertoire includes the traditions of Croatia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia, Ukraine and Russia with authentic costumes and live music on traditional instruments. Joining the Ensemble is Dunava, a Seattle-based women’s vocal ensemble specializing in the a cappella folk music of Eastern Europe. Founded in 2005, the group is made up of singers from diverse musical backgrounds who share a passion for complex and beautiful harmonies. The choir’s repertoire includes songs from the Balkans as well as other Slavic countries and the Caucasus.