Walker Art Center will feature acts from a dozen countries and four continents in its 2017-18 performing-arts season, including a West African homage to “Purple Rain,” an exploration of Lebanese mourning rituals, and the return of iconic Quebec director Robert Lepage.
The genre-bending roster kicks off Sept. 23 with several events. Tuareg guitarist Mdou Moctar will perform at the Cedar Cultural Center while the Walker screens his Prince-inspired film “Rain the Color of Blue With a Little Red in It” — so titled because Tuareg does not have a word for purple.
Also that day, French-Moroccan choreographer Bouchra Ouizguen starts a two-day engagement of ecstatic chant and dance featuring a cast that includes Minnesota performers. Ouizguen’s “Corbeaux (Crows)” takes place successively at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, North Commons Park and St. Paul’s Rice Park (Sept. 23-24).
Celebrated Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker teams up with Spanish choreographer Salva Sanchis for a dance interpretation of John Coltrane’s jazz masterpiece “A Love Supreme” (Oct. 12-13).
The annual Choreographer’s Evening showcasing Twin Cities dance will be curated by adventurous dance- and video-maker Megan Mayer (Nov. 25).
French conceptual artist Laure Prouvost teams up with Franco-Belgian dancer/choreographer Pierre Droulers for the premiere of “They Are Waiting for You,” a new work featuring dance, video and music by a Minnesota choir (Feb. 9-10).
From Australia, choreographer Antony Hamilton teams with dancer Alisdair Macindoe for “Meeting,” a dance filled with ritual and mechanical percussion instruments (Feb. 16-17, 2017).
The performance lineup bounces back to Europe with Belgian-Dutch choreographer Jan Martens’ 2009 jump-a-thon, “The Dog Days Are Over” (March 9-10), followed by an exploration of masculinity and the black body by Zimbabwe-bred choreographer Nora Chipaumire. Her electric “Portrait of Myself As My Father” takes place in the Uppercut Boxing Gym in Minneapolis (March 23-25).
The Walker is partnering with the Guthrie Theater to present Lepage’s “887,” a solo meditation about his boyhood home in Quebec City, complete with miniature sets and high-tech imagery, that won raves in New York this spring (April 4-7 at the Guthrie).
Two of modern jazz’s most acclaimed pianist/composers will present multimedia works next spring.
Jason Moran, who doubles as a visual artist and has an exhibit opening at the Walker next April, will collaborate with video installationists Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch and his trio the Bandwagon for the new work “Jazz Fest” May 18-19, 2018. And Vijay Iyer will feature the spoken prose and photography of Teju Cole in “Blind Spot,” a concert co-presented by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music series that also includes a new Iyer piece featuring string players from the SPCO (May 31 and June 1).
Minnesota-rooted jazz trio the Bad Plus joins with guitarist Bill Frisell to reinterpret his 1985-95 catalog (Sept. 29).
The Walker also is teaming with Liquid Music for “Breaking English,” a commissioned work by experimental composer Rafiq Bhatia (Oct. 21).
In Lebanon, theater artist and choreographer Ali Chahrour works as a professional mourner, singing at funerals. “Leila’s Death” is a melding of movement, music and storytelling (Nov. 11 at the Guthrie).
As a companion to the Walker exhibit of Cuban art, “Adiós Utopia”, Cuban composer/singer Dayme Arocena brings her trio to the Cedar for an evening of Santerian chant and jazzy effusion (Nov. 17).
British indie-folk sister trio the Staves, who relocated to Minneapolis, team up with New York-based ensemble yMusic for an evening of pop/classical art songs (Dec. 1-2).
The season also includes concerts by “maximalist” British composer Anna Meredith (Feb. 7, 2018 at Aria); jazz innovators Wadada Leo Smith, Roscoe Mitchell, Oliver Lake, Douglas Ewart, Anthony Cox and Hamid Drake (March 3); and Inuk performer Tanya Tagaq, performing from her new album, “Retribution” (April 20 at Ordway Center).
‘Out There’ series
The 30th year of the Walker’s experimental performance series features an “Antigone” through the lens of the Cuban revolution. Havana theater-maker Carolos Diaz stages “Antigonón, un Contingente Épico” with Teatro El Público (Jan. 4-6).
The following week, Montreal choreographer and performance artist Dana Michel presents “Mercurial George,” a solo show that rummages through garbage in the search for identity (Jan. 11-13). New York company 600 Highwaymen tests a new model of theater-making with its contagious, audience-interactive show “The Fever” (Jan. 17-20). And British collective Forced Entertainment will stage “Real Magic,” a cabaret-cum-game-show that a German magazine dubbed “Beckett meets trash TV” (Jan. 25-26).
Tickets are available now. Call 612-375-7600 or visit walkerart.org.