The Arts Midwest World Fest is bringing the music of Israel, Brazil and Japan to people virtually all over the world at no charge this year.

But Sally Jeppson, gallery manager at The Arts Center, said not everyone has access to the internet, so The Arts Center decided to provide a place for people to come and safely view the Midwest World Fest performances as well, billing it as a “Lunch Listen”.

Since 2003, the Arts Midwest World Fest has brought international musicians to communities throughout the Midwest. The Arts Center hosted four groups in 2005, Jeppson said.

“The musicians come and they usually spend a week in the community and they typically would go to the schools,” she said. “And they do a big concert but because of the pandemic they aren’t able to do that.”

This year, the annual Midwest World Fest is being streamed due to the coronavirus pandemic and is being offered to anyone to view, a change from the entertainment being offered to the host communities. The Arts Center will host the three performances over the lunch hour. Jeppson said people who would like to attend the performances at The Arts Center are free to bring their own lunch, and attendees will be socially distanced in the gallery.

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The free virtual performances are at noon on Tuesdays, Jan. 12, Jan. 19 and Feb. 2 at The Arts Center. Jeppson said they are under an hour in length, and if anyone wishes to remain after the performances to talk about them, they are welcome to do so.

There are study guides, discussion questions and videos that accompany each performance group and concert videos.

“I would encourage people if they can to look at the materials online for each group before … that will enhance their experience,” Jeppson said.

The performances, study guides and other information are available at https://www.artsmidwest.org/worldfestonline.

“We’ll print out some of the study guides,” Jeppson added.

The individual performances are:

  • Jan. 12: Hadar Maoz (Israel) - Traverse 2,500 years of musical tradition from the heart of Central Asia with Hadar Maoz and her ensemble. Making use of traditional instruments like the tar and saz, Maoz’s Bukharin sound finds inspiration everywhere, from ancient Persia to modern Israel, while discovering common ground with blues and rock along the way.

  • Jan. 19: Paulo Padilha e Bando (Brazil) - Catch the samba swing of Brazil with Paulo Padilha e Bando. Born in São Paulo, Padilha travels between the sounds of traditional samba and other Brazilian popular musical styles. A music teacher of more than 25 years of experience, Padilha is a master musician and educator who specializes in rhythm and song workshops for children, teenagers and adults. His lyrics have a special focus on the telling about the urban lifestyle in Brazil in a sharp and good-humored way.

  • Feb. 2: Hikaru (Japan) - Explore Japanese folk music through Hikaru’s magical melodies and rhythms. A group of well-trained musicians from different prefectures of Japan, each member of Hikaru is well versed in the deep traditions of their instruments and styles: the distinctive three-string Tsugaru shamisen, taiko drums, the traditional shinoboe flute and Akita folk music.

Jeppson said one of The Arts Center’s Arts After School program will also be benefiting from the program on Japanese music and culture.

“... that group of students will also be experiencing some of the concerts and looking at some of the different instruments and we’re going to do Japanese arts and going to bring in some Japanese prints to hang in the lobby,” Jeppson said. “... a week and a half of Japanese immersion for the Arts After School kids.”