Many of Austin’s finest world musicians and songwriters graced the stage of the Austin Interfaith Arts and Music Festival this past October 29th at St. Ignatius Martyr Catholic Church, including Pakistani master musician Ustad Farid Nizami, Grammy Award winning songwriter John Arthur Martinez and Scottish folk artist Ed Miller, host of KUT-FM’s Across the Water.
Kamran Hooshmand returned for his sixth festival with Javier Palacios and their critically acclaimed ensemble Ojala, and Bereket: The University of Texas Middle Eastern Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Sonia Seeman made their fourth appearance. Celebrated soprano Rabbi-Cantor Marie Betcher also returned with baritone William Parker and The Dell Tones, and The Texas Dragon/Lion Dance Team made their third appearance at the interfaith event. Newcomer Candace Bellamy’s soulful vocals were accompanied by the incomparable Jimi Calhoun and an A-list band of veteran touring professionals. Other significant additions included bluesman Reverend Danny Brooks, The Love of China School of Dance and the St. Edward’s University Ballet Folkloric.
The event concluded with the presentation of the Escandell Interfaith Service Award to festival Co-Founder Reverend Greg McDonell, followed by the glorious sounds of the Austin Chapter of the Gospel Music Workshop of America featuring Donna Hightower. Vibrant, experimental and on a mission to find commonalities and understanding through the visual and performing arts, the festival also featured juried artists such as Natasha La Gitana of Mandala Jewels and Tatiana Niklova-Houson of Sacred Illuminations, and vendors such as Diane Stepakof-Fay of Judaica by Solomon, among others.
by Mary K. Shanahan, AIAMF Chair