Soul Stars Charles Bradley, Laura Mvula Lead Early iFest 2014 Names

The Houston International Festival has announced the first confirmed acts for this year's festival, which returns to the freshly renovated Sam Houston Park downtown April 26-27 and May 3-4. This year's spotlight country is Australia, but the first round has a heavy deep-soul tint.

The one single act we're happiest to see is Charles Bradley, the old-school R&B dynamo who has roared onto the soul scene the past few years thanks to his albums No Time For Dreaming and last year's Victim of Love. Imagine a male Sharon Jones backed by an equally stout band, the Extraordinaires, and you're almost there.

Others are emerging UK vocalist Laura Mvula, a double nominee in the 2014 Brit Awards (their Grammys) for her album Sing to the Moon; and the Family Stone -- that Family Stone, keepers of Sly Stone's psychedelic-soul flame. Maybe Sly himself might show up from whatever planet he's been on recently, but don't get your hopes up.

Other acts include Mexican rock en Espanol veterans Los Malditos Cocodrilos (the Damned Crocodiles) and El Gran Silencio (the Big Silence); from the Rio Grande Valley, Latin Grammy winner and multiple Tejano Music Award nominee Elida Reyna y Avante; plenty of steely twang thanks to Asleep at the Wheel and Two Tons of Steel; and local Latin lights Zenteno Spirit.

iFest tickets are on sale now via ifest.org; the Houston Press is proud to be the presenting sponsor of the BB&T Heart of Texas Stage. More acts should be announced soon -- like, a lot more -- and of course we'll let you know.


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