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Asia North: A Celebration of Art, Culture & Community
March 29 @ 6:00 pm - March 31 @ 5:00 pm
Celebrate the Charles North neighborhood’s past and present history as a “Koreatown” and part of the Station North Arts and Entertainment district, as well as its increasing cultural diversity with a party, performances, art activities, a neighborhood food tour, and an exhibition featuring work by local artists who are Asian and Asian American.
FRIDAY: Opening reception 6-9 p.m.
7 p.m. EN’B
8 p.m. Ami Dang
SATURDAY: Free performances and activities from noon to 9:30 p.m.
Noon Washington Samulnori
1:00 p.m. JHU Lion Dancers
1:30 p.m. TU Chalak Bollywood Dancers
2:00 p.m. Leina Maeda
2:45 p.m. Sound of Heaven
3:30 p.m. Divya Rajan
4:30- p.m. Phounam Pin
5:15 p.m. Shodekeh and Ellen Zhang
6:00 p.m. Some Never Really Get (SNRG)
7:00 p.m. AAPI Voices: This Is How We Party! (presented by BAPAC)
7:00 p.m. to midnight: Night Market Underground
SUNDAY: Taste of Koreatown food tour
3-5 p.m. Official guided Taste of Koreatown food tour. For tickets, CLICK HERE.
7:30-8 p.m. A++ Presents Level 999: Student Showcase at Baltimore Improv Group (BIG)
All day: Self-guided tour of area Korean restaurants.
Asia North Festival is a celebration of art, culture, and the Korean history and heritage of the Charles North community. The festival will include free performances and activities, Asian food by Baltimore restauranteurs, an art exhibition featuring work by Asian and Asian American artists, a food and neighborhood tour, and an Asian-themed night market in Graffiti Alley.
Asia North organizers include Central Baltimore Partnership, Asian Arts & Culture Center at Towson University, Motor House, Charm City Night Market, Baltimore Asian Pasifika Arts Collective (BAPACA), and Bite of Baltimore.
Motor House, at 120 W. North Ave. in Baltimore, hosts activities Friday and Saturday, and a neighborhood food tour by Bite of Baltimore rounds out the festival weekend on Sunday. Additionally, Motor House will present the Asian Arts & Culture Center-curated Intricate Layers art exhibition from March 29 through April 28.
The opening party on Friday, March 29, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Motor House includes the Intricate Layers art exhibition opening reception, complementary Asian food, and performances by 2019 Baker Award music finalist Ami Dang and EN’B, who combines traditional Korean music and R&B. Dang’s music fuses North Indian classical voice, sitar, and beats that reflect a global urban landscape.
The festival is in full swing starting at noon Saturday, March 30, with free performances, interactive activities, Charm City Night Market’s Night Market Underground, daytime Asian food offerings, and a storytelling showcase fundraiser for BAPAC. Motor House hosts free performances and activities from noon to 6 p.m. Performers include: Washington Samulnori, The Washington Guzheng Society, Shodekeh, Phounam Pin, and others.
Baltimore Asian Pasifika Arts Collective presents AAPI Voices: This is How We Party, a storytelling showcase about how Asian and Asian Americans celebrate, at 7 p.m. Saturday as a fundraiser to support Asian and Pasifika artists.
Starting at 7 p.m. Saturday in Graffiti Alley behind Motor House, Charm City Night Market will host Night Market Underground, the third iteration of the popular night market event series helmed by The Chinatown Collective. The event will feature one sake cocktail and a selection of sake & shochu from Daikaya, DJ music, and food from Lei Musubi, Otabe by Masako, and Old Boy.
Sunday features a special “Taste of Koreatown” food tour led by Bite of Baltimore from 3 to 5 p.m. that showcases the area’s historic Korean restaurants. In addition to sampling food from some of the neighborhood’s iconic Korean restaurants, participants will learn the story behind dishes such as Korean BBQ and Bibimbap and the neighborhood’s history as a Koreatown.
Media sponsors of the Asia North Festival are WYPR and the Baltimore Beat. The festival is made possible by The Abell Foundation, The Citizens of Baltimore County, Baltimore Towson University, Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, Towson University, Maryland State Arts Council, Johns Hopkins University, Maryland Institute College of Art, and Midtown Baltimore.
ABOUT INTRICATE LAYERS
The Asian Arts & Culture Center at Towson University has curated the art exhibition Intricate Layers, on view at Motor House from March 29 through April 31. The exhibition highlights regional artists who are Asian and Asian American and whose works express, illustrate, and address the fusion of cultures, drawing from traditional art forms and memories of homeland, and more. This exhibition continues in the spirit of the Asian Arts & Culture Center’s Asia in Maryland exhibition last fall, which featured the work of Maryland’s First Lady Yumi Hogan.
SELECTED PERFORMER BIOS
EN’B is an angry asian jigglypuff who sings of diaspora blues. Born in Koreatown Los Angeles but calling Baltimore their home, they explore the dissonance between home, journey, and pain of diaspora through their music inspired by traditional Korean music, Rhythm and Blues music of the Black diaspora as well as Korean tunes their dad loudly sung on family road trips. They are currently working with the Red Emma’s Collective, Fusion Partnerships, 0Zone collective to create platforms for POC Artists, and the North Avenue Knowledge Exchange for free community workshops in Baltimore City. They have performed on stages in Baltimore, MD including, Creative Alliance, The Crown, Metro Gallery, Wind-Up Space https://en1bmusic.wixsite.com/enbmusic
Amrita “Ami” Dang is a vocalist, sitarist, composer and producer from Baltimore and New Delhi. Picking up her first sitar when she was twelve years old, Dang has since accumulated years of North Indian classical music training and a degree in music technology & composition from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music. Her debut album Hukam came out in 2011 on Ehse Records to critical acclaim. She further refined her sound on Uni Sun, her sophomore album that was released on Friends Records in 2016. Most notably, Dang has a big fan in Grimes, who handpicked Dang to accompany her on her 2013 tour of Asia as both a support act and a backing vocalist. Dang appears on Grimes’ video for “REALiTi,” which was shot throughout the tour. Her music defies genre, and she has shared bills with pop, world, folk, hip hop, and experimental acts, including Future Islands, Chairlift, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Beach House, Wye Oak, Lil B, Bonnie Prince Billy, Spank Rock, and Dan Deacon.
Maryland-based Washington Samulnori presents exciting folk rhythms of Korea with four percussive instruments: the changgo (hourglass-shaped drum), the buk (barrel drum), the jing (large gong), and the kkwaenggwari (small gong). The Korean words “sa” and “mul” mean “four things” and “nori” means “to play.” The samulnori repertoire integrates farmers’ band music (“nong-ak”) and ceremonial music.
The Washington Guzheng Society was founded in 2000 by a group of Guzheng musicians and enthusiasts. It is a non-profit organization. The goal of our group is to introduce Chinese culture to all audiences through guzhengmusic. The group is actively involved in community performances and public service programs. We have held a variety of performances in the Baltimore Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, the U.S. National Arboretum , the University of Maryland, the Smithsonian Institution, the Montgomery County public libraries, elementary schools, churches, and local malls. During 2003, the Washington Guzheng Society performed at the Kennedy Center along with other music groups and received favorable reviews (“A superb performance”) from the Washington Post.
Shodekeh is a professional beat boxer and vocal percussionist who has been performing and honing his craft since age nine. By channeling the aural concepts of various instruments and soundscapes, he’s able to vocalize the many dynamic emulations of everything from drum sets, synthesizers, turntables, congas, horns and bass guitars to ocean waves, sleigh bells, crickets and helicopters. His keen musical ability and adaptability have enabled him to collaborate with artists across many genres (including music, dance, visual art), from different cultural traditions, and in an array of creative settings. Shodekeh is the founding director of “Embody, A Music Series of the Vocal Arts,” which strives for artistic and cultural unity through the many vocal traditions from the world from opera, throat singing, to beat boxing. He currently serves as faculty/musical accompanist at Towson University’s Department of Dance and at Duke University’s American Dance Festival. Over the years Shodekeh has completed a number of musical commissions including “Witness” with VTDance at the Kennedy Center, “Fuse Muse” with percussionists Brian Prechtl and Barry Dove of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and “Transformations: New Directions in Black Art,” performed at 2009 conference of African American Arts presented by the Maryland Institute College of Art and Harvard University.
In addition he has performed at The Conference on World Affairs at The University of Colorado, and has opened for former President Bill Clinton at an official State of Maryland event with the Coppin State University Choir.
Phounam Pin was born in 1991 in a small village in Battambang Province, Cambodia to a poor family. Her parents survived the Khmer Rouge and worked hard to raise their children. Unfortunately, her father was a violent man who used his earnings to gamble and drink rather than to support his family. So, Phounam and her siblings worked as trash pickers from a young age. Despite these hardships, Phounam’s mother and sisters helped her to stay in school. Phounam’s life changed when she found Phare Ponleu Selpak Association, an arts nonprofit that provides children, young adults, and families with art schools, education, and social support. The program offers regular school, painting, music, circus, and dancing. Phounam’s father died when she was 13 years old. At that time, she went to live in Phare at the Childcare Center, joined the circus, and eventually became an international artist with Phare the Cambodian Circus, which tells uniquely Cambodian stories from recent history, folklore and modern society. Phounam now aspires to help break the cycle of poverty by getting an education in the U. S. and becoming an effective leader in Cambodia. She is working on her Associate Degree at Montgomery College in Silver Spring, MD, majoring in International Studies. To graduate in 2019, she needs to raise $58,000. So far, she has reached the fundraising goals for her first three semesters and is now fundraising for the Fall 2019 semester. Learn more at https://www.phounampin.com/
The Baltimore Asian Pasifika Arts Collective (BAPAC) was founded in 2018 to address the deep need for Asian American and Pacific Indigenous representation and advocacy in the arts communities of Baltimore. The founders’ goal in establishing BAPAC was to ensure that AAPI art makers would always have a means to advocate for themselves and a platform to share their stories within the arts world of Baltimore. The Baltimore Asian Pasifika Arts Collective is devoted to strengthening the relationships between our communities, especially third culture youths, immigrant and refugee families, and other minority and underrepresented communities in Baltimore. It is dedicated to providing mentorship and arts education opportunities that support the growth and development of young artists of color and encourage them to pursue their creative passions and goals. As an arts collective, it aims to challenge audience’s perception of what it means to be Asian or Pacific Indigenous in America.