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Detailed Performance Calendar:
Jan. 12 at 7:30 p.m.: Veronneau Brazilian samba
Jan. 19 at 7:30 p.m.: "The Great One Man Commedia Epic" with Faction of Fools Artistic Director Matt Wilson
Jan. 20 at 2 p.m.: "Tales from the Andes" Storytelling and the Andean/Latin fusion music of Raymi
Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m.: Hui O Ka Pua ‘Ilima Hawaiian dance troupe
Jan. 27 at 2 p.m.: "Tales from the Pacific Islands" with Ta' ata Roiroi traditional dance from Tahiti and New Zealand
Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m.: Achilleas Greek Music
Feb. 3 at 2 p.m.: Tom Teasley modern percussion from ancient traditions
Feb. 16 at 7:30 p.m.: Kamel Zennia Music of North Africa
Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m.: Moch Pryderi Welsh music

Creative Cauldron unveils month-long ‘Passport to the World’

By David Siegel

Special to the Times

How fortunate to be able to indulge a curious natures in the variety of cultures the world offers from so close-by. To be able to encounter the world's rich, distinctive entertainment from just a short distance away. And all by traveling to exotic places with skilful professional entertainers from the comfort of the Creative Cauldron in Falls Church.

Yes, it is time again for the annual, multi-week "Passport to the World" festival. "Passport to the World" opens on Jan. 12 and runs to Feb. 23. There will be featured performances by music, dance and theater troupes as well as storytelling events for children and families representing traditions from around the globe.

So, let's pry open some of the events.

The festival kicks off with the Veronneau, a four member world-traveling group that includes vocals, guitar and drums. In a recent interview, the warm-voiced, effervescent Lynn Veronneau indicated the audience will be treated to an evening with classic bossa nova but with new arrangements and "a fresh new twist sung in English, French and Portuguese." There will also be gypsy and swing tunes done up "with playful arrangements."

"There's nothing like the thrill of sharing the music. ... You can't replicate in rehearsal the creative sparks that flow between your audience and all of us on stage. I love it." added Veronneau. And as she chatted, thoughts of dancing certainly came into the mind's eye.

On Jan. 20, comes "Tales from the Andes Storytelling" along with the Andean/Latin fusion music of Raymi. "The audience will experience an imaginary trip through the Andean mountains. I will be playing the instruments from the Andes... ancient wind instruments that will be the background sound to two wonderful tales from South America." said Juan Cayrampoma who leads the Raymi group.

Cayrampoma wants the audience "to feel welcomed, this is a world of so much variety, so many cultures and so much to learn from other backgrounds. I want to show them that performing for them is like opening my heart and give them a piece of my musical soul." Raymi, means "feast" or "celebration" in the Quechua language of Peru.

On Jan. 26 will be the Hui O Ka Pua ‘Ilima Hawaiian (the group of the ‘ilima flower) dance troupe. The audience can expect to see Hawaiian traditional hulas from the time before Westerners came to the Islands. Then the company will perform contemporary hula with singing and the accompaniment of stringed instruments such as the ukulele and guitar. There will also be dances of New Zealand and Tahiti. "We have audience participation, teaching them a simple hula," said Carol Takafuji who leads the group.

For the Hawaiian segment, "we're going to focus on songs sung mainly in English with a smattering of Hawaiian words. These are fun and easy dances to interpret and understand from the audience's perspective." added Takafuji.

Vivian Takafuji is the lead actress and dancer for the "World of Stories — Tales from the Pacific" with the Ta' ata Roiroi group for the matinee performance on Jan. 27. There will be a focus on folk tales and dances from New Zealand and Tahiti. Traditional Polynesian dances will be incorporated into the presentation by matching ideas, themes, and colors from the stories.

"It promises to be an engaging performance filled with acting, lively movement, and fantastic puppetry for both kids and adults. The audience will literally become part of the visual and audio backdrop to the story for an interactive experience," said Vivian.

Come Feb. 23, the six-member group Moch Pryderi will perform Welsh music.

"We plan to play a series of Welsh sets. We focus on Welsh with a good selection of Breton songs as well. Not that we skip the Irish and Scottish. We also play some original tunes written by our band leader, Bill Reese." said Robert Roser who spoke for the group.

Each of the Moch Pryderi members has favorites; depending on mood they can focus "on the truly sad and slow tunes or more rousing stuff." Roser said. The members play fiddle, harp, bagpipe, guitar, banjo and does its own arrangement of tunes. "Feedback from the audience really helps to give life to our performances. You can feel the energy coming back at you."

Moch Pryderi is Welsh for “Pryderi’s Pigs."

All-in-all, the Passport to the World Festival will provide an opportunity to encounter any number of other cultures and musical experiences in an exchange between performers and the audience. As the entertainers said, each in their own ways, it will be an honor to share music and culture with a live audience in hopes they take away a new experience and enjoy.

Where and When: "Passport to the World" at the Creative Cauldron at ArtSpace , 410 S. Maple Ave., Falls Church, Va. Tks: Saturday evening $18-$20. Sunday matinee story-telling performances $10, Call (571) 239-5288 or online at www.creativecauldron.org.