World music can be a tough sell to the newbie. Lots of folks have an almost involuntary negative reaction to songs in languages they don't understand. Also, the world music audience has an image of being white, middle-aged, and bobo (bourgeois/bohemian). But here's the issue: Wouldn't listening to music in unfamiliar languages only make you concentrate on the actual music that much more? Why, of course. And there are fringe benefits too: This scene attracts smoking-hot chicks -- and dudes, if that's your bag -- of various skin tones, from coffee with cream to cinnamon.
This year's Resonance Festival, the second annual, features some performers well worth anybody's time. Luca Mundaca is a guitarist and singer born in Chile, but raised in Brazil, whose music blends samba, jazz, and folk. Simon Shaheen, an Arab performer who's collaborated with Bill Laswell in the past, plays the violin and the oud (a lute-like instrument), combining traditional Middle Eastern melodies with jazz and classical music. And there will be plenty of drumming too, from a pair of African percussion troupes to a group playing Trinidadian steel pans. So haul your ass down to Ohio City, and hear some sounds that are brand-new . . . to you, that is.