The Houston International Festival officially announced its 2012 lineup this morning. The music is heavy on Latin-flavored rock, reggae and funk, with Texas well-represented as always and an exceedingly rare Houston appearance by Seun Kuti, son of Afrobeat giant Fela, and his group Egypt 80.
Among the other headliners are Los Lonely Boys, Del Castillo, WAR, Steel Pulse, JJ Grey & MOFRO, Galactic feat. ex-Living Colour singer Corey Glover and the Rebirth Brass Band's Corey Henry, bluesman Joe Louis Walker, South African reggae band the Tidal Waves and the Texas Tornados.
Although iFest is relatively light on artists from its featured country, Argentina - sure wish Los Fabulosos Cadillacs could have made it - several others are making the trip from South America: Chilean cumbia crooners Chico Trujillo, Venezuela's Los Amigos Invisibles and Ecuadorian singer-guitarist Cecilia Vilar Eljuri.
Pablo de Viera, front man for psychedelic rockers Espantapajaros, was born in Argentina. Other local and regional acts at iFest '12 include Roky Moon & BOLT, jazz vocalist Jaqui Sutton, Rich del Grosso, Stone River Boys, Jesse Dayton, Ruthie Foster with Hadden Sayers, the Rozz Zamarano Group, and Zydeco Dots.
Blues mandolinist Del Grosso will perform special tribute to Lightnin' Hopkins on April 21, joined by Hopkins' cousin Milton. (Lightnin' would have been 100 this year.) And here's the zydeco groups, none of which should be missed: Curtis Poullard & the Creole Zydeco Band, Keith Frank & the Soileau Zydeco Band and Lil Nathan & the Zydeco Big Timers.
And lots of tango, which will take up a good bit of the festival on both Center Stage and the HEB Cultural Stage. Featured artist Argentina's Hector del Cuerto and his orchestra and dancers, billed as "Eternal Tango," will headline a concert at the Hobby Center at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 21.
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The festival runs 11 a.m.-p.m. April 21-22 and 28-29. Rocks Off would just like to point out that we're still waiting for Free Press Summer Fest to announce its lineup. FPSF's Omar Afra told us "soon" two weeks ago and there still hasn't been a peep. Rocks Off favorites Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, who played Summer Fest last year, have now latched onto iFest.
ifest will take place around Sam Houston Park, 1100 Bagby. See ticket information and everything else at www.ifest.org.