Friday, April 23, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 64, Issue 137

This Weekend: Buzzfest


About the Cougar

International Festival features exciting mix of culture and pleasure

By Cristofer Pereyra
Daily Cougar Staff

How much do you know about Africa's exotic rhythms? Not much? Well, that could change this year because the Houston International Festival is focusing on the fun and exciting cultures of the nations of South Africa.

The nations honored are Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The popular Houston International Festival attracts thousands of people each year, all seeking culture and pleasure simultaneously.

Photo courtesy of Houston International Festival

The safari started April 17 and 18 with the spectacular Soweto Street Beat's mixture of Afro-fusion and traditional dance.

The show continues this weekend with the first American appearance of Johannesburg's Moving Into Dance, which conglomerates African movement, music, ritual, and modern Western dances.

And the fun doesnit end there. For the amazement of the Houston community, the Mapapa Acrobats from Kenya will perform Chinese acrobatic feats with bizarre East African dance grooves. The group will present nonstop, gravity-challenging thrills mixed with high-flying acts.

There is also Chase Stone Kingdom, a living museum that features reproductions of the ruins of one of Africa's greatest civilizations, the Great Zimbabwe. As if this were not enough, Habitat Africa, one of the festival's newest attractions, will feature the fabulous Zip Zap Circus from Capetown. The Circus showcases the astonishing stunts of about 25 South African children acrobats.

To top it off, there is a real safari cabin featuring an impressive diamond dig; an Orchid Hill displaying the varied vegetation of the jungle and the rainforest; and works of art representing the region's exotic animals.

The Houston International Festival, however, honors its name by presenting much more than its spotlight nations. Since its spotlighting phase, the festival honored Australia in 1988, followed by France (1989), the United Kingdom (1990), Japan (1991), Spain & the New World (1992), Mexico (1993), Italy (1994), Turkey (1995), West Africa (1996), China (1997) and the Islands of the Caribbean (1998). But it has simultaneously presented cultures from all over the world each year.

In this year's festival there are six themed zones. These are the African Zone, the Caribbean Zone, the American Zone, the Texas Zone, the Latin Zone and the Kids Zone.

As one of the largest presenters of world music, the Houston International Festival anticipates to satisfy every taste. At the festival you will find a mixture of African, Cuban, Brazilian, Spanish and Celtic music, as well as Texas' favorites like country, zydeco, conjunto, salsa and jazz.

The best theme of the festival, however, is that of bringing together the different cultures of the world. So, if Frontier Fiesta put you into the festival spirit, go experience the Houston International Festival.

For more information call (800) 541-2099 or click on www.hif.org.

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