Omar Souleyman

International Acts at SLINGSHOT

International acts at Slingshot
by Dan Mistich

Since its inception, the Slingshot Festival has been committed to showcasing talent from far corners of the globe, emphasizing a nexus between local, national, and international acts. This year’s festival is no exception and draws attention to artists that are reflective of the divergent and creative spirit of the Athens music community.

Japan Night on Thursday evening promises to import several of that nation’s biggest and up and coming acts. Bo-Peep begins the evening with their riff-inspired rock whose sheer volume will demand your attention. Aiming more toward a pop sensibility found in North American acts like M83 and Washed Out, chillwavers from Kobe, Japan The fin. will provide another direction entirely. The evening will also feature Tsu Shi Ma Mi Re (TSMMR), an all-female genre-bending group that tangles punk, surf, folk and pop, will also perform their typically absurdist set fresh off of their performance at this year’s South By Southwest conference in Austin, Texas. Peelander-Z, the now New York City-based surrealist punk band from Japan that has performed at Bonnaroo and other internationally known music festivals, headlines the evening’s showcase that will take place at Live Wire.

The Syrian-based Omar Souleyman is another in a long list of acclaimed international artists featured in this year’s installment of Slingshot. Blending folk and electronica inspired by his roots in Syria, Souleyman blurs clear distinctions between traditional and contemporary approaches to music and its performance. Having performed at iterations of the All Tomorrow’s Parties as well as Bonnaroo, Souleyman has become a much sought after performer at a number of popular music festivals around the world, even earning an invitation to perform at the coveted Nobel Peace Prize Concert in 2013. Souleyman has continued to appeal to wider and wider audiences since the release of his critically lauded album, Wenu Wenu.

Although high-profile acts from around the globe may draw quite a bit of limelight, Producto is one of several acts that harmonize the local with the international. Longtime Athenian Ane Diaz returns to Athens to perform her Venezuelan-inspired songs. Having collaborated with a number of Athens mainstays in the past such as David Barbe and Andy Baker, Diaz and company bring their bilingual blend of pop and folk back to where Producto was born.

Synthesizing the import of largely unheard of musicians from an entire continent, Awesome Tapes from Africa will be selecting compositions in a special DJ set. Brian Shimkovitz, a Fullbright scholar whose time in Ghana garnered a deep appreciation for African soul and rap, brings his collection of rare cassettes to the Classic City. Honoring Shimkovitz’s commitment to finding esoteric gems in African recorded music, Noisey wrote that he is “the Indiana Jones of African cassettes.”

**Omar Souleyman is co presented by Dust to Digital Records based out of Atlanta Ga. (http://www.dust-digital.com/)