Road Stories Blog

Çudamani in Wausau, WI

Gamelan workshop in a high school music class

By Philip Graulty

The fourth week of Çudamani’s World Fest tour brought us to Wausau, Wisconsin. As we drove through the gorgeous country of Minnesota, it struck us that Wausau would be the final stop of this tour, and our visit to the Midwest would soon be over.

Qawal Najmuddin Saifuddin & Brothers in Red Oak, IA

Drum demonstration

After taking a few days to rest and rehearse after their long voyage to the United States, Qawal Najmuddin Saifuddin & Brothers kicked off their tour with workshops for both elementary and college students hosted by Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

The group then traveled to Red Oak, Iowa, where they received warm greetings and led a week full of incredible connections. Photos from their residency are below.

Çudamani in Detroit Lakes, MN

Fishing on a lake pier

By Philip Graulty

The third week of Çudamani’s Arts Midwest World Fest tour brought us to the city of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. Coming from a country of 17,000 islands, it is no surprise that Çudamani felt right at home in “The Land of 10,000 Lakes.” While the nearby lake provided us with daily catches of fish and beautiful sunsets, it was the warm generosity of the local community that made this visit so memorable.

A festive time in Devils Lake, ND

Marching in the homecoming parade

By Philip Graulty

The second week of Çudamani’s Arts Midwest World Fest tour brought us to Devils Lake, North Dakota. On route to Devils Lake, we stopped off in the small town of Leeds, ND to perform a workshop for an eager group of K-12 students. As I walked through the door, I was stopped by a young child who asked, “Are you here for the demonstration?” When I replied yes, the student exclaimed, “Yay! I am so excited to meet Çudamani!” This student’s sentiment would be echoed in every school we visited.

Welcome Çudamani!

Company members rehearse a dance

By Arts Midwest

We are excited to welcome Çudamani to the Midwest as they kick off their first Arts Midwest World Fest tour!

The ensemble members spent their first few days in Hill City, SD, resting from the long travel and rehearsing. They also met many friendly residents, explored the beauty of the Black Hills area, and went fishing in the winding Castle Creek.

The group began its tour with workshops in the Hill City schools, where the students were incredibly kind and responsive. The ensemble also hosted workshops at STAR Academy for Youth, a juvenile corrections facility.

A look back at this year's tours

School workshop with Tarim

By Arts Midwest

In our first year of Arts Midwest World Fest 2011-2013, we’ve been thrilled to partner with such wonderful global musicians, and equally wonderful Midwestern communities. Egypt’s Wust el Balad, Israel’s Yamma Ensemble, and China’s Tarim have had great effects on the communities they visited in the fall and spring.

Yamma Ensemble in Hill City, SD

Band members interacting with students

By Eric Young Smith

The week in Devils Lake was packed so full that it seemed over before we were ready to say goodbye. Every day was filled with countless adventures that bred new friendships through the great hospitality of the Devils Lake community. Before I realized our stay was over, we were packing our belongings for the trek to Hill City.

When plotting our course, we realized our time on the road to Hill City would be long. We decided to saddle-up and leave early in order to have a relaxed time and afford ourselves a few stops along the way.

Yamma Ensemble in Devils Lake, ND

Musical performance

By Eric Young Smith

From Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, Yamma’s tour continued to a town in North Dakota named Devils Lake. Yamma arrived to a warm welcome with the comforts of chocolates and cookies from Kimberly Hatten of the Arts Council of the Lake Region. We were delighted to meet up with Kim, our friend and primary contact during the residency in Devils Lake. She began by guiding us to another thoughtful gift: a wonderful meal prepared for us at the house of Arts Council member Theresa Leiphon.

Yamma Ensemble in Detroit Lakes

Seated, holding the violin on his knee

By Eric Young Smith

After closing a great week in Wausau, Wisconsin, the members of Yamma Ensemble and I made a long, northwest drive to the community of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. Though our week in Wausau seemed to end too soon and we would gladly have stayed longer, I was looking forward to our visit to Detroit Lakes. I imagined beautiful, small inland lakes and colorful sunsets.

The geography surrounding Detroit Lakes didn’t disappoint! We arrived later in the day and settled in to our hotel, which was a short walk from the lakes after which our host community was named.

Yamma in Wausau, Wisconsin

Yamma ensemble performing at a small reception.

By Eric Young Smith, Arts Midwest World Fest tour manager

After a drive from Minneapolis with a few stops along the way, Yamma arrived in Wausau and settled in for a well-deserved night and morning of rest since traveling halfway around the globe.

Carrying rich memories of people and places past while fulfilling the mission of Arts Midwest World Fest brought anticipation of good things to come.