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Israeli music group to perform at DSU

Ssofi and the Baladis

Sofi & the Baladis, a musical ensemble from Israel, will visit Dickinson State University as part of Arts Midwest World Fest.

Sofi & the Baladis will perform a public concert at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, in Beck Auditorium in Klinefelter Hall.

The five-member ensemble, led by singer Sofi Tsedaka, features soulful and richly textured performances of an array of musical traditions that lie at the heart of Israel’s diverse and historic cultures, as stated in a news release.

The group’s multilingual concerts present new interpretations of songs from the ancient Samaritan community, as well as compelling vocal and instrumental work from mid-20th century Arabic composers. Their music transcends genres and moves from spiritual to an upbeat and rhythmic style. The commentary Sofi provides throughout the concert tells the moving story of the Samaritan Tsedaka family and their search for balance as they navigate the pathway between their Jewish and Arab identities.

Dickinson State has just begun a two-year partnership with Minneapolis-based Arts Midwest. During the partnership, four different international ensembles will visit Dickinson, spending a week each. Sofi & the Baladis is the first of the ensembles to come to town.

“We’re so fortunate to have these groups coming to our community,” said Dr. Jeremy Wohletz, assistant professor of music at DSU. “The groups not only perform a public concert but most of the week they are in the schools and other community locations sharing their culture through workshops. I’m eager for them to arrive. It’s not often smaller communities like ours have the chance to host international ensembles like Sofi & the Baladis at all -- let alone for a full week. The music and culture Sofi & the Baladis will share is different from what we normally experience. It’s a rare opportunity for us to enjoy an authentic slice of Israeli music and culture right here.”

According to Wohletz, DSU typically would not have the resources to host weeklong residencies of the kind Sofi & the Baladis will offer. Arts Midwest, one of six U.S. Regional Arts Organizations, partners with program sponsors like The National Endowment for the Arts, 3M and The Heart Foundations who cover a substantial portion of the program cost so that communities throughout the Midwest can enjoy this arts experience.

Dickinson was selected as one of only nine Midwestern cities to host the 2017-2019 Arts Midwest World Fest and is the only partner community chosen in North Dakota.

“It’s a real honor to be part of this program,” said Wohletz.

David Fraher, president & CEO of Arts Midwest  said  the goal is to make meaningful and lasting impressions on the communities that host this program.

“We think weeklong residencies can offer so much more than one-day visits,” he said. “There are more opportunities to truly connect with each other whether through workshops in schools, concerts in the greater community, or through social gatherings. We want this to be a rich experience for the entire community.”

Arts Midwest World Fest presents international music ensembles in the nine-state region it serves with the goal of connecting small and midsized Midwestern communities to world cultures. Arts Midwest’s organization-wide mission is to “promote creativity, nurture cultural leadership, and engage people in meaningful arts experiences, bringing vitality to Midwest communities and enriching people's lives.”

General admission tickets for this performance cost $10 for adults and $5 for children, seniors and students with a valid ID. Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.dickinsonstate.edu/worldfest or at the door the night of the performance. The box office will open at 6 p.m.

For more information, contact Dr. Jeremy Wohletz at Jeremy.wohletz@dickinsonstate.edu or 701-483-2308 or visit www.dickinsonstate.edu/worldfest.

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