‘Global Fusion’ Is The Name Of This Year’s Pestalozzi Festival

Battle, East Sussex, UK – Following on from the success of World Music, Crafts and Storytelling 2002, the Pestalozzi International Village will be hosting a second even more ambitious event to be held on the weekend of Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th June 2003.

This year the plan is to take the festival one step further to incorporate the idea of global fusion. The emphasis will be on celebrating the similarities between cultures hosting artists who share influences through their music, crafts, storytelling and puppetry.This year there will be three main marquees, one more than last year, housing: Music – Storytelling – and Interactive Workshops. Visitors will be able to listen to fabulous bands in one, watch and interact with stories, music and puppets in another or take part in African Drumming and learn Belly Dancing in the third.

The main Music Marquee headline band for the Saturday night is Transglobal Underground; as with the Twinkle Brothers last year this band has a major cult following. Mandy Curtis Festival Co-ordinator explains: “ If one band sums up what we mean by global fusion it’s this one. Natacha Atlas provides eastern vocals and chants to the raps of the Transglobal Crew. They are famous for their live performances – Balinese tribal masks and Natacha’s chiffon-draped belly dancing in a hypnotic, dazzling display, fusing together the sound of global music with the contemporary dance scene. This is a must see act.

“As If Transglobal weren’t enough, we have Celloman, North African and Arabic influences, he plays electric cello with loads of attitude – Sugarbeat a mix of Mauritians and Jamaicans performing traditional SAGA music – Bushfaya a local group led by Nana Tsiboe combining young DJ’s mixing poetry to a dance beat – Sujata Banerjee Dance Company with traditional North Indian music interwoven with Flamenco dance – Maambena a fusion of West African music. And a real coup we have Black Voices, the Birmingham based acapella group renowned for their African, Caribbean and gospel sound.”

The storytelling theme is puppetry but all working within the framework of fusion. Mandy Curtis continues: “We are going to have a lot more hands-on activities for the children this year. There will be a puppet-making workshop run by Radiator Community Arts Group where the kids can make their own puppets and participate in a final procession at the end of each day session. Fantastic Circus Skills workshops, Belly Dancing, African Drumming and DJ Mixing.

“Usifu Jalloh makes a welcome return to the children’s marquee, as always Usifu will have the entire audience from the youngest to the oldest participating in the stories, singing, dancing and shouting. Pat Robson makes her Pestalozzi debut; she is an English storyteller who illustrates her tales with the aid of her magic quilt – and the marvellous ‘KINTU’ a puppet theatre show produced by the famous Theatre Rotto Puppet Company. Intensely visual as well as physical ‘KINTU’ combines unique shadow and rod puppets

One very popular feature from last year to appear again in even bigger numbers will be The World Craft Market: South African handicrafts, Latin American music, African drums and clothes, health goods, herbal products, oils, homeopathy, jewellery, paintings, ornaments, Tibetan arts and crafts, African arts, musical items and much more help to create that authentic festival atmosphere. Many stallholders are very keen to return to Pestalozzi, they see the festival as a stepping stone to their next big venue Glastonbury.

Mandy Curtis sums up: “ Last year, despite the weather and the World Cup, we managed to take the enormous step up from an open day to a two day event with all the colour, sounds and activities of a real live festival. Those who came last year were full of praise for what we had achieved and have been very supportive of our future plans. We are confident that this year will be even better than last and who knows, if everyone comes back and we attract a few more we could hit four thousand attendance this year. If that happens we are on our way to putting this festival well and truly on the map.”

Tickets are now on sale at: £6 per session in advance – £8 per session on the gate Children 5 and under will go in free while 6 – 16 year olds will pay £5 per session. Session times are Saturday 11am – 5pm Saturday evening: 5pm- 11pm. Sunday: 11am – 5pm. Ticket booking and information is available on: 01424 870444 or alternatively by visiting the Pestalozzi website at: www.pestalozzi.org.uk