Erie Art Museum Contemporary Music Series Presents the North American Festival of Traditional Arts Tour

Erie, PA, September 20, 2007 --( The Erie Art Museum Contemporary Music Series will host The North American Festival of Traditional Arts (NAFTA) tour on Wednesday, October 17 at 8 p.m. at the Erie Art Museum Annex, 423 State Street. Cost for the concert is $15 for general admission, $12 for Erie Art Museum members and $8 for students and seniors.

“The NAFTA tour showcases masters of traditional music and dance from Mexico, the United States and French Canada — individuals who have been instrumental in sustaining and advancing the heritage of their regions/homelands. Each ensemble showcases the exceptional talents of both respected elders and younger champions of traditional heritage, and includes both male and female performers,” said Kelly Armor, director of folk art and education at the Erie Art Museum.

The Museum also will host a workshop for the general public on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 4 p.m. in the Erie Art Museum Annex, 423 State Street. Admission to the workshop is free.

Participating ensembles are:

Grupo Mono Blanco (Son jarocho pioneers from Veracruz, Mexico)
Led by Gilberto Gutiérrez, a champion of the movement to revitalize son jarocho, Mono Blanco is acknowledged as among the great exemplars of this dynamic style. They have performed extensively throughout Mexico and on numerous international tours as ambassadors of Mexican culture. Their music features virtuoso lead jarana (the guitar-like instrument of Veracruzanos), juxtaposed with passionate improvised vocal dialogues and accompanied by energetic rhythmic dance and percussion played on a donkey’s jawbone.

Heidi Clare & AtaGallop (Old-Time Appalachian string band from Tennessee, USA)
This is the hot young band currently at the pinnacle of Southern Appalachian old-time music. Fiddler and clogger Heidi Clare was featured in the film soundtrack to “Cold Mountain” and the national tour of “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?.” Heidi’s vocal style is straight out the mountains, and her clog dancing adds a dynamic excitement to her performances. She’s joined by a team of players who are at the top of their form and deliver all the no-holds-barred, old-timey energy an audience could want.

Rapetipetam (Heroes of French-Canadian music and dance from, Québec, Canada)
Led by Pierre Chartrand, recipient of the Traditional Dancing Medal of the Jeux de la Franco-phonie, Rapetipetam is an explosive sextet of expert musicians and masters of percussive dance. Their Québécois music—played on fiddles, accordions and piano— is driving and precise, and is matched by flamboyant and complex step dancing that is the hallmark of French culture in the New World. This is utterly infectious, joyful music and dance performed by award-winning pros.

The concert performance will highlight how each culture has used widely divergent instrumental and aesthetic resources to arrive at repertoire and performance practices that are hugely complementary and overlapping. The first half of the evening length performance will consist of separate presentations by each of the three ensembles. The second half of the show will be organized as a traditional fandango, with musicians performing in mixed and continually rotating combinations—highlighting both the similarities and distinctions among the traditions.

Throughout October, the NAFTA concert tour will be stopping through nine additional locations throughout the eastern United States including stops in Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland, New York and Pennsylvania. The North American Festival of Traditional Arts (NAFTA) tour is a production of Jefferson Center, Roanoke, Virginia, and is supported, in part, by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency; Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation’s ArtsConnect Program; Cultural Institute of México; and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.

Jefferson Center is a non-profit performing arts center that enriches and educates Western Virginia by producing high quality performing and visual arts programs including concerts, dance parties, exhibitions, lectures and artist residencies. Find out more about Jefferson Center at

About the Erie Art Museum Contemporary Music Series
Celebrating over 20 years of great music, the Erie Art Museum Contemporary Music Series is a highly regarded performance series that includes some of the most creative, adventurous and accomplished musicians of our era. The Erie Art Museum brings exciting new music from nationally and internationally renowned artists to Erie each year, encompassing a wide variety of jazz, blues and world music. Each performance is accompanied by a multi-day workshop with the performers, where they work hands-on with students and community members often in conjunction with a current exhibit.

The Contemporary Music Series is sponsored by Connoisseur Media.

For additional information, visit or call (814) 459-5477.

Erie Art Museum
Tammy Roche