Lorraine Klaasen and her four member ensemble recently spent a week in our area sharing the music and culture of South Africa. Area students participated in a variety of classes throughout the week at Thief River Falls and Warren Public Schools and Northland Technical and Community College. In addition to the workshops, the group capped off the week with a public concert at Lincoln High School in Thief River Falls on Saturday, November 12. Arts Midwest World Fest sponsored the tour making this opportunity available in our area. The concert was also sponsored in part by the Thief River Falls School District and Northwest Minnesota Arts Council.
Lorraine Klaasen is one of the few South African artists who have preserved the classic sound of Township Music, which continues to be the most distinctive sound to come out of South Africa.
Born and raised in Soweto, Lorraine has electrified audiences worldwide with her dynamic stage presence and showmanship. A 2013 JUNO winner for World Music Album of the Year, Lorraine is the daughter of legendary South African jazz singer Thandie Klaasen, and was influenced by South Africa’s music giants of the 1950s and 1960s such as Miriam Makeba, Dolly Rathebe, Dorothy Masuka, Sophie Mgcina, and Busi Mhlongo.
Her newest album, Nouvelle Journee, features new musical styles with songs in the Tsonga, Sotho, isiZulu, and Xhosa languages of South Africa, as well as in English and French. The songs are thought-provoking and touch on the importance of family, empathy, love, and hope.
Arts Midwest World Fest, a program of Minneapolis-based Arts Midwest, gives small and mid-size communities an opportunity to experience people, culture, and music they may be unlikely to enjoy otherwise. Since 2003, the program has partnered with over 60 Midwestern communities and featured ensembles from all over the world.
A program of Arts Midwest, the 2015–2017 Arts Midwest World Fest cycle is generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, 3M Foundation, and Anime Twin Cities. Additional support is provided by the Northwest Arts Council. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.