Photo: Don Was (courtesy Michigan Theatre)
For the second year, Downtown Jackson will be welcoming immensely talented artists from all over the globe to the Jackson International Music Festival July 11-14, 2019.
The International Music Festival has been re-named for 2019 (previously Unity Festival) to better describe the world flavor of acts performing during the festival. Also new this year is an option to purchase one ticket for the entire festival for $19. All shows will be held at the Michigan Theatre of Jackson.
Organizers of the International Music Festival (Michigan Theatre, Downtown Development Authority and Jackson Symphony Orchestra) released the lineup of entertainers and the schedule of performances today.
The first show of this year’s schedule is Thursday, July 11 at 8 PM with HUDOST “Of Water + Mercy Album Release Tour” with special guest Christee Lenee. The music of HuDost, the Neo-Folk-World-Rock Ensemble from Montreal and Kentucky, weaves a seamless tapestry of sound that renders tears and laughter in listeners, cultivating the nameless longing that abides somewhere in all our hearts and invoking total celebration. HuDost’s core musicians are Moksha Sommer and Jemal Wade Hines. Christee Lenee is the 2017 International Fingerstyle Guitar Champion. She is a captivating performer with a devoted following among instrumental, folk-pop and rock band audiences. Combining guitar mastery, contemporary singer/songwriter and a passion for storytelling, she thrives on bringing people together through the language of music. Tickets for this show are $9 and can be purchased here.
On Friday, July 12, Don Was returns to Jackson with the Don Was All Star Revue: Tribute to Motown. This evening of extraordinary entertainment features Detroit legends Don Was, Martha Reeves, Mitch Ryder and many more. The performance will feature: Revue Band: Sweet Pea Atkinson, Donald Ray Mitchell, Sir Harry Bowen, Brian “Roscoe” White, Luis Resto, Dave McMurray, Rayse Biggs, Ron Pangborn, Ron Otis & Don Was. Special Guest: Ann Delisi of WDET. Guest Performers: Martha Reeves, Mitch Ryder, The Velvelettes, Dennis Coffey, Melvin Davis, Nadir Omowale, Carolyn Crawford, Kenny Watson, Ty Stone,Jill Jack, Carolyn Striho, Kathy Kosins, and the Drinkard Sisters. This concert begins at 8 PM and admission is free.
On Saturday, July 13, Third World Reggae. Celebrating 45 years, 10-time Grammy nominated THIRD WORLD is one of the longest-lived Reggae bands of all time, and one of Jamaica’s most consistently popular crossover acts among international audiences. Mixing in elements of R&B, funk, pop, and rock and, later on, dancehall and rap, Third World’s style has been described as “reggae-fusion”. Third World is more than just one of the top Reggae bands of all time, it is an institution that stands for producing and performing music that, while holding firm to the cultural and ancestral roots of its members, still pushes forward the cutting edge of music worldwide. It is an institution whose themes are positive, progressive and internationally relevant. Tickets for Third World Reggae are $9 and are available here.
The Festival concludes on Sunday with Ramy Essam at 7 PM. Egypt’s Ramy Essam exploded into international fame as the real voice of the Egyptian revolution in 2011, when his songs spread like wildfire among the demonstrators. During the height of the uprising, he performed in front of millions of people in Tahrir Square, and his music became the soundtrack of a whole generation of his countrymen and women struggling for a better life and a more just society. His song Irhal, in which he demands the resignation of then-ruler Hosni Mubarak, is referred to as the real anthem of the revolution. But fame came with a heavy price. Ramy experienced brutal torture and arrests that were meant to silence his voice. His songs were banned and he was forbidden to perform publicly.
He is considered to be one of the loudest voices for the young generation in Egypt and its struggle for a progressive and modern society, and has become an international symbol of social activism and a beacon of uncommon bravery in the Middle East and the rest of the world. His music video, Bel Segn Alwan (Colorful Prisons), is about incarcerated women and gender equality. The video has over 5.1 million YouTube views. He resolved to come out even stronger against oppression, saying “In the revolution I was born again. The struggle became the purpose of my life.” Ticket for Ramy Essam are $9 and available here.
The International Music Festival is sponsored by Experience Jackson, CP Federal Credit Union, County National Bank, Flagstar Bank, Anchor Initiative, Rotary of Jackson, JTV, HOME.FM and K105.3.
All ticket links offer an opportunity to purchase tickets for the entire festival for only $19. All concerts are $9, with the exception of Friday evening, which is free. Donations are being accepted for that concert here and complete schedule details are online at michigantheatre.org.