Concert and residency are part of the U.S. Department of State’s Center Stage program
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Hoba Hoba Spirit
In addition to the concert on Sept. 26, Hoba Hoba Spirit will participate in an extended residency in the community. Photo by Karim Tibari.

The University of Iowa’s Hancher will co-present Hoba Hoba Spirit with Legion Arts at 8 p.m., Friday, Sept. 26, at CSPS Hall in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Known for high-energy performances, Hoba Hoba Spirit is a powerhouse rock band blending a variety of rhythms, languages, and sounds.

This “sharp, vibrant, and very nearly universal” (Washington Post) band has been listed among the 50 people who shape the culture of the Arab world by the Huffington Post. Known for questioning those in power and singing about challenging issues, the band has found a huge fan base in its hometown of Casablanca. A group of professionals by day and rockers by night, the members of the band are deeply connected to the pulse of everyday life in their community.

The band blends rock, reggae, and Gnawa (African Islamic spiritual songs), and sings in the Arabic dialect Darija, French, and English. While their songs reflect the hopes and concerns of young Moroccans, often referring to specific challenges in their country, many tunes have universal themes.

Hoba Hoba Spirit is participating in Center Stage, a program of the U.S. Department of State. The program supports cultural exchange between artists from countries around the world and U.S. communities. Artists have the chance to interact with a number of cities during their visit, learning more about the U.S. and providing insight into their art form and traditions. This is the second time Hancher has presented a Center Stage artist; Ti-Coca and Wanga-Nègès were a part of this program in the fall of 2012.

Hoba Hoba Spirit will be in Iowa City for a week, working with a variety of departments across campus including music, communications, philosophy, and two first-year seminars. Less formal social events (like a trip to Colonial Lanes) will add some fun to the cultural exchange.

The band will also be interviewed by Joan Kjaer as part of WorldCanvass Studio on Thursday, Sept. 25, from noon to 1 p.m. WorldCanvass explores topics international in scope and central to understanding how individuals fit into the global landscape. The WorldCanvass Studio event will be held at FilmScene, 118 E. College St., on the pedestrian mall. It is free and open to the public.

Hancher’s presentation of Hoba Hoba Spirt is part of Center Stage, an initiative of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, produced by the New England Foundation for the Arts in cooperation with the U.S. Regional Arts Organizations, with additional support from the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation and the Asian Cultural Council. General Management for Center Stage is provided by Lisa Booth Management, Inc. The residency and concert are also supported by the Hancher Partners and gifts to the Hancher Circle through the University of Iowa Foundation.

Tickets, which are $17 for non-students and senior citizens and $10 for college students and youth, are available from the Hancher Box Office or from CSPS. Tickets are $21 at the door on the evening of the performance.

The Hancher Box Office, located on the first floor of the south end of the Old Capitol Mall near the parking ramp, is open for phone (319-335-1160 or 800-HANCHER) or walk-up business from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays. Tickets may be ordered online at the Hancher website. Any remaining tickets will be available for sale one hour before show time at CSPS Hall.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, contact the Hancher Box Office in advance at 319-335-1158.