Global Performers To Gather Near The Golden Gate

The first annual San Francisco World Music Festival plans an eclectic lineup from near and far.

Many of the headliners at the first annual San Francisco World Music Festival, scheduled for May 26–28, aren’t well-known, even in international-music circles — but that’s what co-directors Michael Santoro and Kutay Kugay want.

"There’s so much music in the world," Santoro said. "We want to focus on a lot of it that has not been represented but is still incredible."

Many of the participants are San Franciscans, transplanted from their homeland into the city’s multicultural milieu. Among these immigrants are Deepak Ram, master of the Indian bansuri, or bamboo flute; Vietnamese dan bau virtuoso Nhut bui; the Jumping Buddha Ensemble, known for their vigorous blend of Asian folk tunes and jazz on traditional Chinese instruments; virtuoso sitarist Habib Khan; and the West African Highlife Band, who specialize in "palm-wine" dance tunes.

Visiting artists include southern Italian singer, dancer and percussionist Alessandra Belloni, who lives in New York; the internationally renowned Persian ney player Hossein Oumouni, now residing in Los Angeles; and overtone vocalists (also known as "throat singers") Chirgilchin, who come to the festival from Tuva.

In addition to concerts, festival activities will include free roundtable discussions on trends in world music, and a free screening of filmmaker Stephen Parr's collection of rare performances from around the world.

Information and tickets to concerts are available at the festival's Web site (, or call the venues: the Clarion Music Center at (415) 391-1317, or the Cowell Theater box office at (415) 441-3687.