The Mohawk Hudson Folklife Festival will take place on Sunday

The spotlight will be on Capital District musicians and performers from marginalized communities this weekend at the Mohawk Hudson Folklife Festival in Albany.

Organized by New York Folklore, it brings together artists and tradition bearers from Congo, Greece, China, Myanmar, Afghanistan and other parts of the world.

“Many of these people have never been featured outside of their communities,” said Ellen McHale, executive director of NY Folklore, a statewide organization headquartered in Schenectady.

The festival, which is scheduled to run from 11:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sunday at the Lake House Amphitheater in Washington Park, is the culmination of the Capital District Regional Initiative. Funded by the New York State Council on the Arts, last year NY Folklore commissioned folklorist Anne Rappaport, as well as Ladan Nikravan and Edgar Betelu to find and document the work of artists working in various cultural traditions in the counties. Albany and Rensselaer.

“It was a bit difficult because we were at the start of COVID at this point, but we started to really look at the communities that were in the Capital District and what the types of artists were that were here,” McHale said.

They met musicians like Pinya Aung, who is a harpist in the local Karen community (a band from Myanmar), and Shaman Awan and Aurelius John who play Pakistani music. They also established contacts with artists like Efthimios (Altin) Stoja, an iconographer, and Anping Liu, a Chinese paper cutting artist.

“There was such a diversity of expression and really an incredible artistic wealth in the area that I think the team I was working with, Ladan, Edgar and Anne, just felt that we needed to have a festival because ‘there is so much to do. be proud and supportive, ”said McHale.

Throughout the afternoon, artists will give demonstrations of everything from iconographic painting to African hair braiding, wood carving and more.

There is also a full schedule of performances from Aung, as well as from the group Wa Lika from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and others. There will also be demonstrations and activities for children, such as a drum workshop and a henna artist will work with the children.

While the festival is a chance to showcase the vibrant multicultural traditions kept alive in the Capital District, McHale also wants members of these artist communities to see their own traditions on stage.

“We really hope and encourage the communities to come. We think it is important that communities see themselves in the Capital District as well, so it is an opportunity for people who represent different cultural groups to really see that their cultural traditions are valued and supported in a more public place. ”Said McHale.

Schedule of performances:

11:30 am Washington Park Drummers

12 p.m. – 1 p.m. Karen Harp (Myanmar) by Pinya Aung

1 p.m. – 2 p.m. Mixed roots

2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Pakistani music by Shaman Awan and Aurelius John

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Wa Lika Band

4 p.m. – 5 p.m. Mundo Nuevo

For more information about the festival, visit

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