Musicians from across the globe will be descending on Bloomington for the annual Lotus World Music and Arts Festival, which kicks off Thursday at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater.
Music and more will continue through Sept. 18 with many of the events regular festival-goers have come to love.
While a few acts are repeat performers from previous events, most will be visiting Bloomington for the first time.
Johnny Kalsi, master drummer for the Dhol Foundation, said he’s been to Indiana.
“It was many years ago now, and it was with, I think, it was a tour of the Africa Sound System,” he said during a phone interview from a studio in London, England.
The band has a very unique sound. “Basically the DNA of our drums is bhangra music,” Kalsi said
While growing up in England, Kalsi said he listened to typical popular music such as Led Zeppelin and Duran Duran. At home, though, his family often listened to the music from the Punjab region of India. The area, with a name that translates to “land of the rivers,” is known for its fertile soil and “basically agriculture is a big part of their life, too,” he said. “These drums were an integral part of people tending to their crops.”
Eventually, the music Kalsi created was a mash up of traditional music and his own influences of western instruments and rhythms. The group eventually gained worldwide fame when singer Peter Gabriel met the band in 1997 and “we kind of went around the world with him,” Kalsi said.
The band will only perform Saturday night of the festival, so anyone interested in hearing the music will need to carefully plan.
“We stop traffic in the streets,” he said. “It’s definitely going to be one of those moments and a really memorable show for everybody that attends.”
Kalsi said he’s looking forward to the band’s brief visit. “People actually take the time to do a bit of research and look at YouTube and see what you’re up to,” he said. While so much music and videos are available online, Kalsi said there is nothing like being at a live show.
“That’s the only way to experience us,” he said.