Monday, April 23, 2018
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New Seeds Festival brings socially empowered art from female perspectives to Tampa

The Resonance Project, pictured, is a world music quartet featured during the first weekend of the second annual New Seeds Festival, held Friday and Saturday and March 30-31 in Tampa in honor of Women's History Month. The Sarasota-based quartet performs early sacred music of Spain, Africa, India and Eastern Europe, ranging from Sephardic lullabies to Gregorian chant.

New Seeds has an eclectic mix of music, dance, poetry and comedy. Dance performers include Tampa Bay Ballet, Jacksonville Dance, belly dancer Cait Capaldi and Yulia Arakelyan, who performs in a wheelchair. Phyllis Gaines' Sign of Da Times blends hip-hop and American Sign Language. Comedian Long Island Mary "might remind you of someone you know, like your cousin or that gal from work, if that gal has an incredibly twisted view of life," her blurb says. Israa Khan is a singer-songwriter and guitarist of Indian heritage who was born in Kuwait. Australian folk rocker Martine Locke, who has opened for the likes of Ani DiFranco and the Cowboy Junkies, headlines the second weekend.

The mission of the festival is "to present art from female perspectives on socially relevant issues." It's produced by playwright Suzanne Willett, whose Red Pepper, a new play about Claude Pepper, the former U.S. Senator and Representative from Florida, was recently staged in the bay area.

Performances begin at 7:30, with a different lineup nightly, at the Bob Smith Black Box Theatre of Tampa Preparatory School, 727 W Cass St., Tampa. The Resonance Project performs at 8:30 p.m. Friday. $15, $25 for a two-night pass, $7 students. (813) 892-7502; newseedsfest.org.

John Fleming, Times performing arts critic

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