New acts for Multicultural Fest

PARKERSBURG – The Mid-Ohio Valley Multi-Cultural Festival is bringing Latin music and several new performers to Parkersburg for this year’s event on June 21-23 at City Park.

For a second year, the festival has chosen to make its opening night a theme-music night, with “Latin Music Night” featured this year, said festival co-founder Bea Corra.

At 6:30 p.m. June 21, following the opening ceremony at 6 p.m., Grupo Konde Norteno from Columbus will kick off the festival with the sounds of Northern Mexico. Norteno music uses the button accordion and bajo sexto, a 12-string Mexican guitar.

“Norteno is a style of Mexican country music, has a rural sound and will be new to our festival,” said Corra. “Every year I try to find a music genre that will be a new sound to this area.”

The group is making its first appearance at the festival. It performed in 2012 at Festival Latino in Columbus and has had a busy year performing at clubs and events in Ohio and surrounding states, she said.

A returning group will close the opening Latin Music Night. Grupo Fuego will perform salsa and merengue at 8:30 p.m. June 21. Salsa is high energy dance music that has its roots in Cuba. Merengue is another high energy dance music originating in the Dominican Republic.

Between the two Latin performances, local dancer Sherri Killen will teach basic salsa dance moves while the bands are switching out. Killen has been dancing for 25 years and teaching Middle Eastern style dance for 10 years at her studio, MamaLotus Studios, in Vienna. She also has a background in ballroom and Latin dance.

Along with Grupo Konde Norteno, a pair of other groups will also be making their debut at this year’s Multi-Cultural Festival.

Elevate, a local band, will make its debut at 3 p.m. June 22 on the festival stage.

The group performs a diverse musical repertoire from folk and soul to rock and rap, all uplifting with a positive message. The members include leaders Roger and Tonda McDaniell, Meraia McDaniel (keyboard, songwriter), Jodie Jermaine Lee (singer/songwriter, rapper), Justin Clegg (vocalist, guitar, drummer), Jermiah Watkins (lead guitarist, vocalist), Shaileigh Brooke Plummer (lead vocalist), Mychal Tolley, (vocalist, acoustic, bass), Tony Borrelli (guitarist, vocalist), Dedrick Pitter (spoken word, rapper), Terrance Turner (rapper), Melissa Arnold (vocalist, keyboard), Nathan Arnold (drummer, sound) and Chandler McDaniel (DJ).

The final performance of the festival will feature the final debut performers, with the Sweetback Sisters performing at 4 p.m. June 23.

Emily Miller and Zara Bode are not blood relatives but their harmonies are as precise as other well-known sibling groups. The Sweetbacks play to the age-old subjects of heartbreak, revenge, remorse and staying strong in the face of relationships gone wrong with a contemporary touch. The group describes itself as “a renegade retro band that mixes up country, swing and honky tonk.”

Other returning performers during this year’s festival will include: The Flow Band (reggae); Hank Poole (child Elvis Tribute Artist); Ken and Mary (German accordian); Maidens IV (Celtic); Michael Jacobs (Native American); Mick Souter (storyteller-folk); Pipes and Drums of St. Andrew (bagpipe); TarabRaqs (Middle Eastern music and dance) and others.