Three Rivers Arts Council

Baladino comes to Wahpeton, ND Through Arts Midwest World Fest Partnership

Wahpeton, ND — Baladino, a lively Mediterranean folk band, will visit Wahpeton as part of a multi-city Midwest tour coordinated by Minneapolis-based Arts Midwest.  The ensemble’s name is a combination of “Baladi” and “Ladino” and both words represent central themes in the ensemble’s vision. “Baladi” means “land” in Arabic and “Ladino” refers to both the language and the culture of Sephardic Jews who lived in Spain up until the 15th century. The music played by Baladino comes from its homeland—Israel—a country composed of Diaspora Jews who migrated from different parts of the world. These migrations have enriched the area and the musical influences from the Middle East, Europe and Africa became a major part of Israeli culture itself.


As Israelis born to immigrant parents, particularly from Middle Eastern countries, Baladino members find a deep connection to their parents’ countries of origin, musically and culturally. The Ladino songs the band plays have been passed on from generation to generation and Baladino is now sharing them worldwide. Baladino ensemble members include Tomer Moked, a brilliant string player and musical arranger, Daniel Sapir provides an inspired foundation on the string bass, Yael Badash brings rich vocals to the mix, Yonnie Dror adds wonderful color with a variety of wind instruments, while Yshai Afterman holds it all together on percussion with mesmerizing Mediterranean rhythm.


It’s not often smaller communities have the chance to host international ensembles like Baladino—let alone for a full week. The music and culture Baladino shares will be absolutely fascinating and different from what we typically hear. Baladino will visit many schools and community locations during the week and present a full public concert. We expect this residency will be a delightful experience for everyone.


We typically would not have the resources to host week-long residencies of the kind Baladino will offer. Arts Midwest, one of six U.S. Regional Arts Organizations, partners with program sponsors like the National Endowment for the Arts and 3M to cover a substantial portion of the program cost so that communities throughout the Midwest can enjoy this rich arts experience. Wahpeton was selected as one of only nine Midwestern cities to host the 2015–2017 Arts Midwest World Fest and is the only partner community chosen in North Dakota. It’s a real honor to be part of this program.


David Fraher, president & CEO of Arts Midwest notes, “Arts Midwest’s goal is to make meaningful and lasting impressions on the communities that host this program. We think week-long residencies can offer so much more than one-day visits. There are more opportunities to truly connect with each other whether through workshops in schools, concerts in the greater community, or through social gatherings. We want this to be a rich experience for the entire community.”


Baladino is the first of four ensembles to visit Wahpeton over the course of this two-year partnership with Arts Midwest. The other ensembles featured in this program come from Québec, Turkey, and China.


Arts Midwest World Fest presents international music ensembles in the nine-state region it serves with the goal of connecting small and mid-sized Midwestern communities to world cultures. Arts Midwest’s

organization-wide mission is to “promote creativity, nurture cultural leadership, and engage people in meaningful arts experiences, bringing vitality to Midwest communities and enriching people’s lives.”


A program of Arts Midwest, the 2015–2017 Arts Midwest World Fest cycle is generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, 3M Foundation, and Anime Twin Cities. Additional support is provided by the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China for Anda Union, the Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest for Baladino, and the Délégation du Québec à Chicago for Le Vent du Nord. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.


Arts Midwest is also generously supported by Illinois Arts Council Agency, Indiana Arts Commission, Iowa Arts Council, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, Minnesota State Arts Board, North Dakota Council on the Arts, Ohio Arts Council, South Dakota Arts Council, and Wisconsin Arts Board.