Body Music Festival brings rhythms from around the world to Downtown Oakland

The 6th Annual International Body Music Festival will be in San Francisco and the East Bay this weekend.

Body music, for the uninitiated, is an art form composed of sounds and rhythms made solely with the body. You can tap, step, stomp, clap, or sing.  Anything goes, as long as it doesn’t involve an instrument.

These percussive sounds have invaded Oakland over the last three days, as part of the 6th Annual International Body Music Festival. They will be on display in San Francisco Saturday evening before returning to Berkeley and Oakland for a closing performance and party on Sunday.

Organized by Keith Terry and Evie Ladin of the local non-profit Crosspulse, an educational dance and music organization based in Oakland, this will be the festival’s return home for what organizers say may be the last time. Acquiring American visas for the stable of international artists has grown more and more difficult, according to Ladin. The government shutdown was the last straw, creating huge delays and unforeseen costs, she added.

For the last Bay Area bash, Ladin and Terry have gone big. Vertical dancers Bandaloop rappelled onto Oakland’s “Great Wall” at the opening ceremony on Tuesday night. Meanwhile artists from Indonesia, Brazil, Turkey, Greece, Israel, Spain and Canada have displayed the cross-cultural pollination of the genre, as groups collaborate in workshops and on the stage.

For a glimpse at the styles and techniques of body music, as well as sounds and images from the festival’s first days, see the above audio slideshow.

The International Body Music Festival will be returning to the East Bay on Sunday for a 1 pm family matinee concert at Freight and Salvage, 2020 Addison Street, Berkeley, featuring Théâtre À Tempo (Quebec City, Canada), Kekeça (Istanbul, Turkey), San Francisco School Student Ensemble and collaborative ensemble Body Tjak 13.

A closing party is slated for 5:15 pm at Duende, 468 19th Street, Oakland. 

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