Skip to content

Catch World Fest Artists In the Midwest This Fall

A group of adults holding children dance together in a line in a colorful room.
Photo Credit: Alana Horton
Okaidja Afroso gives an educational performance at Kids N Stuff, a unique children’s museum located on Albion’s Main Street, as part of World Fest.

World Fest artists Pamyua, Okaidja Afroso, and Paulo Padilha will visit nine smaller Midwestern communities in Fall 2023.

Don’t miss the chance to catch incredible artists as they tour the Midwest this fall as part of World Fest! World Fest offers Midwestern communities, especially smaller and mid-size communities, an opportunity to experience music, language, and culture from across the world.  

In Fall 2023, Pamyua, Okaidja Afroso, and Paulo Padilha will tour across the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, Michigan, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Ensembles will spend one week in each community to share their music and culture through school workshops, masterclasses, and concerts.  

Join in the fun at a public concert celebration at the end of the week!  

EnsembleCommunityCommunity PartnerPublic Concert InformationConcert Ticketing
Pamyua Minot, ND Minot Area Council of the Arts October 7 at Central Campus High School.Click for tickets
Pamyua Custer, SDCuster Area Arts Council October 14 at Custer High School. 
Pamyua Fairmont, MNFairmont Opera House October 21 at Fairmont Opera House.Click for tickets
Okaidja AfrosoFreeport, ILFreeport Art Museum October 14 at Winneshiek Playhouse. Click for tickets
Okaidja AfrosoMarinette, WIRusty Wolfe Studio October 21 at Theatre on the Bay. Click for tickets
Okaidja AfrosoOskaloosa, IAGeorge Daily Auditorium October 28 at George Daily Auditorium. Click for tickets
Paulo PadilhaSullivan, INCity of Sullivan November 3 at Sullivan Civic Center.
Paulo PadilhaPortsmouth, OHVern Riffe Center for the Arts November 9 at Vern Riffe Center for the Arts.Click for tickets
Paulo PadilhaAlbion, MIBohm Theatre November 19 at Bohm Theatre.Click for tickets

Meet the Artists

Pamyua (Yup’ik/Alaska)

Pamyua is Alaska’s most famous Inuit band. Founded in 1995 by brothers Phillip and Stephen Blanchett, the group includes Ossie Kairaiuak and frequent guest member Karina Moeller. Their performances honor and share indigenous Inuit cultural traditions through ceremony and songs passed down through generations. Their unique performances blend traditional Inuit drum/dance melodies with contemporary R&B and soul music, often referred to as “tribal funk” or “Inuit soul.” 

Learn more about Pamyua and watch more of their videos on their World Fest artist page.

“We are rooted in the songs of our heritage. We hope that through our performances of Yup’ik ceremony, dances and music, that we create a positive awareness and deeper understanding of the human experience.”

Six people on a spotlighted stage; three play traditional Inuit percussion instruments, and three engage in dance and movement.
Photo Credit: Val Ihde
Pamyua, an Inuit band from Alaska, performs Feb. 25 at the Herbert L. Williams Theatre on The Bay at University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Marinette campus as part of World Fest.

Okaidja Afroso (USA/Ghana)

Okaidja Afroso follows his family’s tradition of storytelling by creating genre-defying music that calls back to his upbringing in a village on the western coast of Ghana. His music speaks to a spectrum of experiences deeply connected to the traditions of the African diaspora. He is devoted to bringing together diverse modes of expression in pursuit of global harmony through his signature performances that blend percussion and dance. 

Learn more about Okaidja and watch more of his videos on his World Fest artist page.

“In my 23 years in America, I feel like I still have a long way to go in terms of learning about the unique cultures of different parts of the country. I hope to learn more about the Midwest through the World Fest communities.”

Okaidja Afroso
A woman dances on stage surrounded by two Ghanaian musicans.
Photo Credit: Alana Horton
Okaidja Afroso and his ensemble perfomed a finale concert at the Bohm Theater.

Paulo Padilha (Brazil)

Catch the samba swing of Brazil with Paulo Padilha e Bando. Born in São Paulo, Padilha travels between the sounds of traditional samba and other Brazilian popular musical styles. A music teacher of more than 25 years of experience, Padilha is a master musician and educator that specializes in rhythm and song workshops for children, teenagers, and adults. His clever lyrics have a special focus on the telling about the urban lifestyle in Brazil in a very sharp and good-humored way. With a band of master samba musicians and dancers, Paulo Padilha e Bando will make you want to dance all the way home!  

Learn more about Paulo and watch more of his videos on his World Fest artist page.

“It’s not just about music. It’s about making connections, too.”

Paulo Padilha
Paulo Padilha e Bando perform at the Princess Theater, joined on stage by local music teacher and saxophonist Dave Helms.
Photo Credit: Eric Smith
Paulo Padilha e Bando perform at the Princess Theater, joined on stage by local music teacher and saxophonist Dave Helms. Photo: Eric Smith

 A program of Arts Midwest, the 2023 World Fest artist tours are generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies. Arts Midwest is also generously supported by the Illinois Arts Council Agency, Indiana Arts Commission, Iowa Arts Council, Michigan Arts and Culture Council, Minnesota State Arts Board, North Dakota Council on the Arts, Ohio Arts Council, South Dakota Arts Council, Wisconsin Arts Board, 3M, Crane Group, and individual donors and partners.