Since we're already playing hangman today, here's another riddle: What do America's finest genre-hopping Latino band, Houston's best Guinness-chugging rockers, a daughter of the nation's premiere gospel family, a perennially unsung honky-tonker who sounds like the ghost of Hank Williams, a bayou-born boogie-woogie piano queen, a Grammy-winning Tejano godfather, two of Louisiana's hottest young Cajun groups, more regional zydeco groups than you can shake a Hohner accordion at and the '70s funk lords whose biggest hit supposedly contains the screams of a woman being murdered in the studio next door have in common?
That's an easy one: They're a small fraction of the musical lineup for this year's Houston International Festival, April 18-19 and 25-26 downtown, spread over more stages than the Austin City Limits festival. See who they are, and a whole lot more, after the jump.
First of all, here are your answers, respectively: Los Lobos, Blaggards, Mavis Staples, James Hand, Marcia Ball, Little Joe, Feufollet and the Lost Bayou Ramblers, accordion princes including Step Rideau, Lil Brian, Lil Malcolm, Keith Frank and C.J. Chenier and, finally, "Love Rollercoaster" riders the Ohio Players. (Note: the story about the screaming is one of the best musical urban legends of the '70s... but you never know.)
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And a few more: South African trumpeter Hugh "Grazin' in the Grass" Masekela, Louisiana blue-eyed soulman Marc Broussard, Texas bluesmen Texas Johnny Brown, Sherman Robertson and Ezra Charles & the Works, reggae imports Wailing Souls and Rootz Underground and New Orleans second-line stalwarts Big Sam's Funky Nation.
This year's featured nation is the evergreen Ireland, so besides local ambassadors the Blaggards - who play two sets at the free City Hall kickoff party Friday, April 17, and then three more times during iFest - the Celtic talent taking up residence in Houston includes young Northern Irish traditionalists Beoga, Scottish singer Julie Fowlis, Iberian Celts - the Spanish province of Galicia is the Southern terminus of the Celtic diaspora - Lucia y Valdemar and Emerald Isle solo acts Kevin Burke, Tom Creegan and Danny O'Flaherty. Plus a bunch of step-dancers, storytellers, bagpipers and even an honest-to-God Irish pub on the grounds.
Rocks Off could go on (and on), but he figures you get the idea by now. Find everything you could possibly want to know about iFest right here.