Engaging the youth with rhythm

Michigan Global Roots Music Festival makes world music accessible


World music tends to draw a more mature, aged crowd, but Michigan Global Roots Music Festival aims to change that.

“A lot of concerts happen late in the evening, so they’re targeted toward adults.

It is not very accessible to young people,” said Carolyn Koebel, founder of Michigan Global Roots Music Festival. “We really want to expose young people to live music.”

The festival, which is in its fifth year of touring, takes place at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum Friday.

Global Roots hopes to be unlike other music festivals that put age restrictions on their shows. Instead, the primary goal to design an accessible, family friendly event.

Inspired by world folk tradition, the festival emphasizes the diversity of global music styles. “The style of music is very rhythmic and engaging, so it’s very good for dancing and very attractive to children,” Koebel said.

Koebel, whose Celtic music group An Dro will perform at the festival, has been satisfied with her past performances at the Broad Museum.

“There is no stage, so it’s all on one level,” she said. “It’s a very fluid space between the audience and the performers.”

Parents and their children, or those without, will be able to enjoy the concert without the possible distractions that could come from an all-ages show, Koebel said.

“It is very difficult for children to sit still, so we made an informal concert where they can get up, they can dance, they can move around, they can clap and sing and it’s not disruptive,” she explained. “It brings a lot of positive energy.”

Beyond music performances, the festival will feature step dancers alongside An Dro’s set. After its performance, the audience is invited to come up and dance on their own.

“We might ask the dancers to lead the ceilidh, which is a social style of Irish dance.” Koebel said. “It’s a way for us to teach the audience how to do some of the basic steps.”

Other performers for this year’s festival include the Erin Quinn School of Irish Dance, guitarist Elden Kelly, South Indian percussionist Bobby Bringi and traditional Japanese music by Ken Koshio.

Michigan Global Roots Music

Festival March 2, 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Free and open to all ages Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, 547 E Circle Dr., East Lansing. www.broadmuseum. msu.edu/calendar


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