The people of the Lake Region are in for a unique treat next week as the Tarim Uygur Song and Dance performers come to share their talents and culture with first the children in area schools, then in concert on May 1.

The people of the Lake Region are in for a unique treat next week as the Tarim Uygur Song and Dance performers come to share their talents and culture with first the children in area schools, then in concert on May 1.

Tarim Uygur Song and Dance brings to the United States its ancient songs of the Silk Road, the melodies of the Uygurs, the Kazaks, the Kirkiz; the rhythms of the Hui, the Uzbek, and Tatars. As you listen, close your eyes—the sounds will take you to the spice markets, deserts, and vineyards of western China, a land of vast contrast, scale, and history. Experience Tarim Uygur Song and Dance, a 17 member ensemble of musicians and dancers from the Cultural Bureau of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in Western China.  Members of the ensemble have earned more than twenty national and international awards for their skill and beauty.  The ensemble not only wishes to preserve the ancient Uygur cultural heritage, but also works to add to it by collecting forgotten melodies and songs, and by creating new work built on the old traditions.  The members look forward to their second visit to the Midwestern United States.  In 2012, the group visited cities in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.

"It’s a rare for small and mid-size Midwestern communities to host such fascinating ensembles from such a distant location as Western China," says Kimberly Hatten.  "The culture Tarim Uygur Song and Dance shares with our community will be an exciting change from what we typically hear in the Midwest.  The ensemble will be in Devils Lake for a full week and we expect this residency will be a delightful experience for our entire community."
According to Hatten, Devils Lake typically does not have the resources to host week-long residencies by international ensembles like Tarim Uygur Song and Dance.  

Arts Midwest, a regional arts organization based in Minneapolis, offsets much of the cost and handles the coordination of Arts Midwest World Fest tours in order to offer communities throughout the Midwest this rich international arts experience.  Devils Lake was selected as one of only nine Midwestern cities to host the 2011-13 Arts Midwest World Fest and is the only partner community chosen in North Dakota.

"Our goal is to make lasting impressions in the communities that host Arts Midwest World Fest," says David Fraher, Executive Director of Arts Midwest.  "Our musicians do not simply perform one evening and leave.  Rather, they conduct extensive residencies, where they perform in schools and in a variety of community venues.  They conduct dozens of workshops about their culture, music and language.  We want this to be a rich experience for the full community."

Tarim Uygur Song and Dance is the last of four ensembles to visit Devils Lake over the course of this two year partnership with Arts Midwest. Arts Midwest World Fest presents international music ensembles in the nine-state region it serves with the goal of connecting small and mid-sized Midwestern communities to world cultures through week-long residencies with global performers.  As its organization-wide mission, Arts Midwest promotes creativity, nurtures cultural leadership, and engages people in meaningful arts experiences, bringing vitality to Midwest communities and enriching people's lives.

An Arts Midwest initiative, the 2011-13 Arts Midwest World Fest, is generously sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, 3M Foundation, and MetLife Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China for Tarim, and the Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest for Yamma Ensemble. Additional funding is provided by the Chinese Heritage Foundation Grants Fund of the Minneapolis Foundation.
This activity is made possible in part by a grant provided by the Minnesota State Arts Board, through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature from the Minnesota arts and cultural heritage fund with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.

Arts Midwest World Fest is also generously supported by Illinois Arts Council, Indiana Arts Commission, Iowa Arts Council, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, Minnesota State Arts Board, North Dakota Council on the Arts, Ohio Arts Council, South Dakota Arts Council, and Wisconsin Arts Board.
Tarim Uygur Song and Dance will be in concert Wednesday May 1, 7 p.m. at the Robert Fawcett Auditorium.  Admission will be a free will donation at the door.