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Rio Mira brings marimba music to Buskirk-Chumley Theater



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The Lemon Bucket Orkestra brass band rests in the center of the Lotus Festival Parade as they march from Fourth and Washington streets to the Buskirk-Chumley Theater during the 2018 Lotus World Music & Arts Festival on Sept. 29. Andrew Williams Buy Photos

Festival goers were able to explore venues for music, art, a food truck village and craft activities during the Lotus World Music and Arts Festival on Saturday.

The Buskirk-Chumley Theater was home to many acts throughout the festival, including the Afro-Latino Marimba group Rio Mira. Named after the river that separates Colombia and Ecuador, Rio Mira “aims to preserve the treasure” that is marimba music, according to the Lotus Education and Arts Foundation website.

Rio Mira uses the marimba as a key instrument in their music, as well as tambourine-like shakers to create loud and upbeat tunes. The musicians had the crowd clapping and dancing along to the music that they said they grew up with. 

Stephanie Bergstron from Louisville was attending Lotus Festival for a girls trip and said she enjoyed the stylings of the marimba group.

“This was my favorite show,” Bergstron said about Rio Mira. “I feel as though they had the most sounds and soul that spoke to my heart, and they made me dance.”

Sami Marshall, a first year master student of art in art administration student at IU, works as a front of house associate at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. She said her main job during the festival was to make sure everything was going smoothly for the shows. 

“Buskirk is beautiful and there’s such a variety of shows that come here,” Marshall said. “That’s the beauty of Lotus, that there’s so much variety and lots of international bands that you may have never heard of before.”

The festival offered a Big Tent Multimedia Experience where festival goers were able to experience immersive 360 degree technology with video and sound, as well as an arts village, where kids were able to make crafts, look at art installations and play games.

Vicky Huang, first year graduate student at IU SPEA, worked the arts village as a festival volunteer. She said she first learned about the opportunity in class.

“My professor encouraged me to engage with the community and learn more about Bloomington and the arts,” Huang said. “I enjoy welcoming everyone to the village and seeing how they’re having fun at the festival.”

Bands and artists traveled from across the world to perform at Lotus Festival, some as far as China and India. IU alumna Denise Ruby from Chillicothe, Ohio, said she believes we should all embrace what makes us different, whether it’s what kind of music we listen to, food we eat or culture we call our own. 

“I think that more community festivals need to happen,” Ruby said. “More people need to come together for celebration of differences.”

Lotus Festival allows residents of Bloomington to hear music from all around the world, and Bergstron said it's a great way to bring people together. 

“Music is an international, worldwide language," she said. "It doesn’t matter what they’re saying because the song speaks to your heart.” 

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