Blue Thread Performance Group Presents Series of Free Concerts Next Week

Blue Thread Performance Group Presents Series of Free Concerts Next Week
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From July 13-16, 2022, the Blue Thread duo and guest artists will launch a week of concerts, installations and outreach programs in Northwest Arkansas called All Over the Map II.

The concerts are free and open to the public. Performances will include:

  • Trillion Series at 4 p.m., Wednesday, July 13, at Crystal Bridges in the Early American Galleries in Bentonville
  • Five & Dime at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, July 14, at the Walton Museum in Bentonville
  • King Opera House at 7 p.m., Friday, July 14, at the King Opera House in Van Buren
  • Mount Sequoyah at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, July 16, at the Mount Sequoyah Dining Hall Patio in Fayetteville

In All Over the Map II, based on their 2021 album of the same name, Blue Thread brings together the Hindustani and Carnatic classical and folk music traditions and pairs them with Portuguese, Sephardic, Celtic and American song traditions, as well as with folk ballads.

For the past 10 years, the duo, consisting of vocalist Cristi Catt and flautist Nikola Radan, have been conversing and collaborating on a project about the various ways in which music connects people as it travels.

"Like a replicating organism, over land or by sea, music adapts and regenerates, finding life in new times, different places. Through music, cultures and languages, people find common ground," the pair said.  

For each one of the programs, Catt and Radan have invited special guests and members of local communities to join the conversation; "this way, a new thread begins."

For these concerts, Blue Thread has invited singers Daniela Tosic from the Balkans and Priya Ram from India, Indian violinist and percussionist Kartik Balachandran, and Santos Ramaswamy and Cody Lucas, a guitarist from the Ozarks.

Catt specializes in Medieval music and has built numerous performance and recording projects around the Galician-Portuguese Cantigas de Amigo folk songs. Radan, on the other hand, has long been fascinated by Sephardic ballad traditions that have traveled from Spain to diverse points around the globe, as well as by the roots of Western music influences from the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. Together with their special guests, Radan and Catt trace ballads that have traveled from Portugal, to India, Greece, the Ozarks and beyond.

The program for each performance includes:

  • Medieval Cantigas de Amigo 
  • Scottish and Al-Andalus dances
  • A set of Carnatic and Hindustani ragas (Jog, Yaman, Sindhu Bhairavi, Bilahari and Madhuvanti Raga) 
  • American, Italian, Balkan, Portuguese and Sephardic folk songs

One of the songs will be Bela Infanta, which opens with a young woman waiting by the sea, and her lover returns in disguise. He, then, tests her loyalty and, in most versions, the two lovers are reunited. In their new album, Blue Thread presents a new telling of this tale that weaves together Portuguese, Sephardic and Ozark ballads with its Indian roots.

Another of the songs performed will be a new version of the popular ballad Cruel Sisters. This version shows traces of its travel through China, Scandinavia, Ireland, Iceland and the U.S.

Join Blue Thread for a musical journey of global storytelling full of love, longing, suspense, betrayal and, in some cases, murder, that Portugal's Evora News called "vibrant and playful music that transported us to the rich and varied musical experience of Medieval time without abandoning the present."

The Blue Thread All Over the Map II concerts in July 2022 are funded by Artists 360, a program of the Mid-America Arts Alliance. Artists 360 is made possible through philanthropic support from Steuart Walton and Tom Walton through the Walton Family Foundation.


Britt Graves, administrative specialist III
Department of Music


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