International Music Series wraps up


Natalie Tyler

The music festival at the Recital Hall inside the Dusfresne Performing Arts Center featured world class musicians known as Artes Latinas on on Thursday. November 14, 2019. The performers included Ed East (left) and Karin Stein (right) Ed East played the flute, while Stein played the ukele

Sydney Mohr, Features Editor

The International Music Series wrapped up its 2019 season this past Thursday, Nov. 14 with a performance by Latino and Hispanic music duo Calle Sur.

The International Music series, nearing its 20th year at Winona State University, has become a fall tradition for students and community members alike. The series is usually paired with MUS 114, or World Music.

The class focuses on many different regions across the globe and the cultural impact music has on those regions and vice versa.

“The program was set up by my predecessor Cathy Schmidt, who had enough credits to have a graduate degree in ethnic musicology, and that was a passion of hers coming into this,” Aaron Lohmeyer, Music education professor and director of the International Music series said. “She created this series just with the idea that textbooks are great, and listening examples are great, but there is nothing like the real thing.”

The series this year included six performances over the course of nine weeks, and included performances by Lyz Jaakola, Anishinaabe musician, Sowah Mensah, drumming and music of Ghana, Colleen Haas with the WSU percussion Ensemble playing music of Brazil, Pooja Goswami Pavan, Allalaghatta Pavan, and Prafur Kelkar playing music of North India, Goa Hong playing Pipa music of China, and finally Calle Sur, playing music of South America.

The series brought in a wide variety of artists from across the globe to bring in many different sounds of music for both students and the community.

“Every single performer we had this semester linked up to the chapter we were studying at the moment. It was really neat to have that link happen between the class and the performers,” Lohmeyer said. “It is so much more than just the performance for these students though. When I ask for reading responses to the text versus reading responses to the concert, the response to the concert is where the exclamation points come in. It’s so much more meaningful to the students when they can see it live.”

This was definitely seen the night of the concert, as the small recital hall in the performing arts center was filled with students and community members who loved to get involved on campus all packed in to hear Calle Sur.

Calle Sur, made up of Karin Stein and Ed East, has traveled and performed together for nearly twenty years, creating a strong and special bond through their love of Latino and Hispanic music.

Natalie Tyler
Ed East (left)playing guitar and Karin Stein (right) playing ukele at the music festival. The duo met many years ago in Iowa on student scholarships and made their life in a new and foreign place.

The duo met many years ago in Iowa on student scholarships and made their life in a new and foreign place. Stein worked solo for a few years, but finally reconnected with East and asked if they would want to join together and make a music group focused on their home heritage.

Stein spoke of how she had such a good relationship with Winona State, and how she had been performing there for nearly twenty years.

“Dr. Schmidt contacted me a long time ago after her husband heard us on Minnesota Public Radio and we’ve been performing here since then,” Stein said. “It’s really quite remarkable, this is the longest standing relationship that my duo Calle Sur has had with any institution and it has been a total delight all the way. It’s a very special place for us.”

Stein got involved in music when she was a young girl growing up in a remote eastern area of Colombia.

“My mother taught me to harmonize at a very early age and taught me to play piano even though I don’t anymore. The cowboys, they were always singing to their cows on the farm. I got into music through them.” Stein said.

Stein also moved to Costa Rica as a teenager, and learned a lot of her music skills there as well.

“This was a time during a lot of turmoil in Latin America, and a lot of artists moved to Costa Rica from their home countries. There was a rich music scene from all over Latin America in Costa Rica, and I learned from many of them different music styles.” Stein said.

Her partner, Edgar East, grew up in Panama city and studied classical guitar at the conservatory in high school, and earned a scholarship to University of Iowa to study music, and that is where the two met.

East shared insights about their music in between sets, giving a bit of history about the songs they performed and the instruments they were playing, but also telling the audience the significance behind the music.

“When cultures converge, change happens,” East said, referring to the African influence on Latino music.

Calle Sur’s performance left audience members clapping and constantly swaying to the beat with a set of face paced, upbeat, and high energy songs that resonated throughout the entire room. Their music ranged from the Dominican Republic, to Mexico, to the Andes Mountains in Bolivia, to their original home countries. Their music took the audience across many different countries, and students and community members alike were impressed.

Natalie Tyler
Karin Stein performs in the music festival at the Recital Hall inside the Dusfresne Performing Arts Center on Thursday November 14, 2019. The performance began at 6 p.m. and each song was performed with different instruments.

Jenna Fischer, a sophomore majoring in music education, took the class last year but was helping set up the performance this year.

“This was, by far, one of my favorite performances throughout both years of the International Music series that I have seen,” Fischer said.

Fischer wasn’t’ the only one who thought the group was more dynamic this year. Senior Noah Tashner, also a music education major, agreed.

“I’ve seen [Calle Sur] perform three times at Winona State, and this year they seemed to move away from speaking more of the history behind the music and songs to just performing it and letting the music speak for itself.” Tashner said.

While the series may be over for the season, Lohmeyer and other music professors are already planning and contacting musicians to prepare for the fall 2020.