Folk festival celebrates Peru, Egypt

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

The gracefulness, energy and colors of Egypt, Peru, Ireland and Italy are coming to Northeast Mississippi this weekend.
The Yocona International Folk Festival is hosting several groups that perform traditional dances of those countries, at two shows: one at the Tupelo Civic Center and one at the Ford Center at Ole Miss. The groups are El Horriya of Alexandria, Egypt; Cosandama of Lima, Peru; Tradizione Vivente, an Italian dance group from Milwaukee; and Jackson Irish Dancers from Mississippi.
“This is our first South American group and our first Middle Eastern group,” said festival director Mary Sloan.
Each of the groups will present, in elaborate costumes, dances native to the region.
Cosandama’s name reflects Peru’s three regions: the coast, the Andes and the Amazon, and each of their dances will be from those areas.
They also perform Inca dances.
“For anyone who’s interested in sewing and stitching, the embroidery on their costumes is the most intricate I’ve ever seen,” Sloan said.
The group just took home a gold medal at an international folk festival in France, Sloan said.
El Horriya – which means “freedom” – will include whirling dervishes.
The traditional dance features performers whirling as a form of dhikr, or remembrance of God.
“It is stunning,” Sloan said.
The groups will also perform and work with students in Tupelo and Oxford this week.
Tradizione Vivente has been performing traditional Italian dances for more than 60 years. The Jackson Irish Dancers perform all styles of Irish dancing, from Riverdance-style dancing to céilí dancing.

Two Performances
FIRST SHOW: 7 p.m. Friday at Tupelo Civic Auditorium, $10/adults, $5/students and seniors

SECOND SHOW: 7 p.m. Saturday at Ford Center on Ole Miss campus, Oxford, $10/adults, $5/students and seniors

MORE INFO: Visit or call (662) 238-2630.

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