Saturday, July 5, 2014

Bonfires for Peace is back at Pritchard Park for its 12th year, on July 13 and Aug 9 concerts

BONFIRES for Peace, the Traveling Bonfires' movable feast of family fun and community connectedness through music, arts and dancing, heats up again at Pritchard Park this summer. Now on its 12th year, the free to the public “outdoor party,” took off last July 13, and continues on Aug 9.

       Billed, “Downtown Get Down: Bonfires for Peace,” the July 13 show featured a Goa trance music dance event, with DJ music provided by Touch Samadhi's Goadream, Sensoma, and Sean O'Daniels. On Aug 9, popular Asheville acts Lyric, Pipapelli, Marshall Jim Duncan, Tom Hoa Binh and the Peacemakers and Riyen Roots share music to the community.
        Pritchard Park is located right in the heart of downtown Asheville. The Traveling Bonfires, which was born in the Philippines during the politically-turbulent mid80s, kicked off its annual “barrio-level” convergence in the spring of 2002 with all-day, multi-band concert events that lasted to early fall—and carried on since then.
        The Traveling Bonfires produced an unprecedented 16 weekend park events in 2004, involving hundreds of local and North/South Carolina performers and visiting acts from as far as Tokyo, Manila, Houston TX, Boston, San Francisco, New Jersey, and New York City. The organization has also produced similar outdoor and indoor concerts in New York City, Baltimore, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Frisco, and Manila and Baguio City in the Philippines, “instigating arts and music events and bringing people together in celebration of peace and multicultural connectedness.”

        Touch Samadhi is a community of “trance Goa” DJ's that takes its spiritual root in Goa, a small state in India. Mythology says Goa is associated with “spiritually cleansing touch,” a peacefulness or consciousness that Traveling Bonfires believes fit well with its vision-mission of global peace and community harmony through diversity. Touch Samadhi is a perennial highlight in Bonfires for Peace events since 2004.
        Pipapelli calls its music “rockin' blues with a celtic-knotted twist!” The band, with most of membership wearing the traditional kilts, has performed for the TBonfires' Philippine typhoon benefit late last years. Pipapelli: Just Cindy, vocals/percussion; RJ Grady, bagpipes/guitars/flutes/vocals; Zuzu Welsh, bass/vocals/guitar; Johnny Haisman, guitar/bass/vocals; Dana Koone, drums/vocals.
        It will be the second time that Lyric plays for Bonfires for Peace. Lyric, a pop, funk and rock act fronted by Leeda Jones, enjoys a large following in Asheville—having played in practically all major local festivals to a packed audience. The rest of the band: Dave Matthews, bass; Derrick Graves, Afro-Cuban conga, percussion; Mike Berlin, drums.

       Duncan, who assumes guitar duties for local band The Old Guard, is one of the mountain's most versatile musicians. Tom Hoa Binh is the stage name of Tom Smith, a war veteran who devotes his music to mostly pro-peace and anti-war advocacy. He is a regular fixture in Asheville peace gatherings and singer songwriter dives. Riyen Roots, who also plays with his blues band, says he is “taking the blues genre to a new place, with unique rhythms, truly original song stylings.”
        “We see the need to effect a vibe of peace and joy in Asheville and allow that sublime wavelength to travel elsewhere,” says TBonfires founding executive director Pasckie Pascua. “We don't have to launch speeches or recite our holiness, we just play music and enjoin the community to come out, dance and be together. That is a simple thing, isn't it—but it's powerful.”
        “Bonfires for Peace” events enjoy the support of a number of local Asheville businesses, organizations, and individuals. “This is the true meaning of community connectedness,” offers associate producer Marta Osborne. “Local business help us fund permits and other peripheral expenses in turn we sell them friendly ad space in our tiny newspaper, The Indie. Restaurants also feed our performers who share music and art for free...”

      The organization's partner project, Loved by the Buffalo Publications, publishes The Indie, a small newsprint tabloid that is mainly distributed in downtown Asheville and soon, in Athens in Georgia as its sister city. Both the Traveling Bonfires and The Indie's projects have benefitted non-profit organizations that work with at-risk youths, families of the disappeared, orphans, and disaster victims, especially typhoon victims in the Philippines.

PHOTOS (from top): Sensoma, Pipapelli, Riyen Roots, Lyric.

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