Folkmoot’s eleven-day summer festival is only weeks away. Welcoming five international groups, alongside Appalachian, Cherokee and other American ethnic cultural groups, the festival opens in Waynesville with the Gala Under the Stars on Thursday, July 18 and ends with the Candlelight Closing on Sunday, July 28 at Lake Junaluska’s Stuart Auditorium. Folkmoot performances are held in eight communities throughout western North Carolina. More information about participating cultural groups can be found below and the full schedule is available at Folkmoot.org.
The 2019 festival features six clogging groups from western North Carolina, each with a unique style and a shared passion for authentic clogging traditions. Clogging is a traditional dance that displays individual footwork, as the team keeps a rhythmic cadence. All teams do a combination of traditional freestyle clogging accompanied by original bluegrass music provided by the Doghouse Band from Candler, NC. Audiences will enjoy group performances by the Dixie Darlins, Appalachian Mountaineer Cloggers, Blue Ride Heritage Cloggers, Fines Creek Cloggers, Cole Mountain Cloggers and Green Valley Cloggers.
The Bahamas Platinum Knights Junkanoo – Bahamas
The Platinum Knights will share Junkanoo, a street parade with music, dance, and costumes reflecting their cultural origins with the Akan people of Ghana. These parades are held on many islands across the English speaking Caribbean every Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, a similar tradition as “Kakamotobi” or the Fancy Dress Festival of Ghana. The original Junkanoo is the strongest remaining African tradition in the Bahamas. “Our organization is engineered by a group of veterans known to the Junkanoo world. We are family-oriented and our goal is to not only express our culture but to also teach it to future generations. Platinum Knights group envisions the art of junkanoo evolving without straying away from its foundation.”
Corporacion Cultural Danza Arte y Tradicion DANZAT – Colombia
DANZAT is a group from Columbia that will share many dances of the Llanero culture. A Llanero is a South American sheepherder found in the Llanos grasslands of west-central Venezuela and eastern Colombia. Part of both Spanish and Indian culture, the Llanero have a strong culture with distinctive music. The Llanero music is distinctive for its use of the harp, the maracas and a small guitar called a cuarto. One of DANZAT’s featured dances is called the Joropo. Cultural Corporation Dance Art and Tradition DANZAT has contributed 25 years to the spreading of the Llanera Culture in Colombia and around the world.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
Cherokee culture is represented by a drum group, powwow dancers, traditional Cherokee dancers, a storyteller, a hoop dancer, the Hummingbirds stickball team, the Big Cove “Kolanvyi” (co-lah-nuh-yee) stickball team and Cherokee artisans. The Cherokee people include the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the Cherokee Nation and United Kituwah Band both in Oklahoma. The Eastern Band of Cherokee, or Tsalagi (Zah-la-gee) do not live on a reservation, which is land given to a native American tribe by the federal government. Instead, in the 1800’s, the tribal members purchased 57,000 acres of property, all in Western North Carolina, spread throughout several counties, called the Qualla Boundary.
National Folkloric Dance Troupe of Egypt – Egypt
Established in 1960, National Folkloric Dance Troupe of Egypt is considered a leading Egyptian folk group. They specialize in a series of traditional dances that show different aspects of daily Egyptian lives and traditional life. Folkloric dance in Egypt is divided regionally into the dance from the Delta (fellahi), the Upper Delta (Saidi), the coastal area (Sawahili), Sinai (Bedouin), and the Nubian area. These regions are defined based on the views of the people themselves. Egypt also has a longstanding tradition of belly dancing. Believed to have originated as a fertility dance performed by priestesses in Pharaonic times, it exists today in two main forms, as a folk dance (raqs baladi), performed by women at parties and weddings, and as a form of entertainment by professional dancers (raqs sharqi).
Kecskemét Folk Dance Ensemble – Hungary
Established in 1976, the Kecskemét Folk Dance Ensemble is maintained by the Hiros Agora Culture and Youth Center in Budapest. With around 280 dancers split up into ten groups, Kecskemét welcomes participants of all ages. The group presents dances of the nations living in the Carpathian Basin. Some of them are Ugrós (Jumping dances), Csárdás, Verbunkos and The Legényes.
The Student Folkloric Ensemble “Mărţişorul” was founded in February 1957 by the first director of the Student Culture House of the University Center Cluj-Napoca, Mr. Laurenţiu Hodorog, and is considered one of the nation’s best. Composed of amateurs, it is highly appreciated both for its originality and its great talent that promotes the traditional and creative spirit of the Romanian people. Mărţişorul’s performances include authentic Romanian folk songs and dances from most ethnographic areas of the country, such as dance and song suites from Banat, Moldavia, Oltenia, Maramureş and especially various regions of Transylvania.
Folkmoot will also include American ethnic groups for interactive pavilion activities, including greek Chinese, Scottish and Mexican vendors, dancers and storytellers.