A bold brass band from Rajasthan; Grammy-award-winning reggae sounds from Jamaica; electronica from Palestine; a Bulgarian Choir; a Syrian rapper; a unique group who play bombastic brass and good time honkstep; plus a few monks from a Tibetan monastery will all descend on Dumfries and Galloway this May to take part in two of the region’s favourite festivals.


In a long-established celebration of international culture and heritage, world music has always been a central feature to the Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival and the Knockengorroch World Ceilidh.


And this year the region’s audiences can experience an even more diverse range of talented musicians from across the globe at venues from Lockerbie to Carsphairn.


The 2016 Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival takes place between 20 and 29 May and includes three unique live performance artists in its best programme to date.


The Rajasthan Heritage Brass Band return to the festival in Wigtown on 26 May and Annan on 27 May. The band comprises eight musicians from Jaipur who bring their lively, loud and energetic show to the region. Staying in the brass section, there is a chance to experience an explosive reinvention of global brass band music with the unique and quirky Orkestra del Sol who come to Dumfries on 28 May.


In stark contrast to these two noisy and brassy acts, the sacred sounds of the Tibetan temple will chime from Lockerbie Town Hall on 26 May when the Monks of Tashi Lhunpo offer a dramatic presentation of their unique sacred dances, music and prayers with colourful costumes and ceremonial masks.


In a field in the hills around Carsphairn, Knockengorroch is the place for the world’s best ceilidh. This year the festival takes place between 26 and 29 May and hosts an exciting array of international performers with an eclectic range of musical styles.


Making one of its only two Scottish appearances this year is Black Uhuru from Jamaica, hailed as “the most dynamic and progressive reggae act of the 1970s and early ’80s.” From Palestine comes 47Soul, an electro-mijwez, shamstep, choubi band, and a new generation of hip-hop acts that are reinventing the old and the future.

Family Atlantica are three people from three different continents: England, South America and Africa and showcase “the London musical melting pot at its very best.”

The award-winning London Bulgarian Choir, led by Dessislava Stefanova, will perform a spine-tingling repertoire of folk songs in traditional and contemporary arrangements; while Brian d’Souza, aka Auntie Flo, is a central figure in the “new strand of club music fusing electronic and world influences” and has been described as “one of the most culturally exciting developments to happen to club culture in the UK.”

Continuing the world ceilidh musical line-up, The Turbans are an international musical collective and bring together exciting traditional near-eastern and eastern-European styles with original compositions to create a modern and energetic performance with reverence for its ancient roots in Turkey, Bulgaria, Israel, Iran, Italy, Greece and England.


This nine-piece KOG and the Zonga Brigade deliver infectious West African vibes from Ghana via Sheffield in their signature Afro-fusion style; while Danish trad band Habadekuk, with their powerful horns, toe-tapping fiddle and contagious rhythms, make them one of Denmark’s leading folk bands.


After his performance, Syrian rapper/poet/writer Abu Hajar will also take part in a discussion of his work and the Syrian revolution with Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila al-Shami, authors of Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War.


These are just some of the world-class highlights coming to Dumfries and Galloway next month.


Further information and tickets from www.dgartsfestival.org.uk and http://www.knockengorroch.org.uk.

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