World Port brings international sound back to Des Moines4/5/2017
For more than two decades, Paul Micich has been putting an Iowa spin on international music. His band, World Port, plays what Micich calls “music with an accent” at street festivals, farmers markets, wineries and other locations. After an eight-year stint in Mason City, Micich is back in Des Moines, starting to gig again regularly and preparing to release World Port’s sixth album, “Bienvenido.”
World Port will perform a concert/exhibit of Micich’s art April 6 at La Poste in Perry.
“I look at what we do as playing music that immigrated here,” Micich said. “People bring their culture with them, and I’m totally drawn to that. Someone might enjoy going out to different restaurants and getting the flavors of different foods from around the world. It’s like that for me with music.”
“Bienvenido” means “welcome” in Spanish, which was the title of World Port’s last album. At the time of its release in 2007, Micich intended it as a greeting to African and Bosnian immigrants in Iowa. Ten years later, he’s still looking to spread the same message, though the idea of helping immigrants has become more politicized in recent years.
“If people bring music in, it’s just like dust on their shoes. It’s part of their being,” Micich said. “I love to see somebody who stands differently, their appearance or gestures or whatever. ‘Bienvenido’ is about lifting up the wonderful influence we have from people who immigrated from South America and Mexico.”
In addition to music, Micich is also an artist. The show at La Poste is an opening for his show “Paper Airplane,” featuring 30 new pieces. Micich plans to talk about the works in between songs.
World Port normally performs as a duo or trio, with Micich playing an EVI electric horn, and most frequently joined by guitarist Dan Nicholson. The rest of the band has been fluid, with Scot Sutherland, Ryan Mullin, Michael Pfaff, Pete Simonson and others spending time in the Port.
Micich is excited to be back in Des Moines and playing for old friends and fans again.
“Music is just life for me,” Micich said. “My mother-in-law is 102, and she just quit teaching piano lessons about five years ago. She told me, ‘Music has kept me going.’ It takes everything I’ve got when I play a gig. The feeling that you get is incomparable. I don’t know where it’s going, but I know it’s the right thing to do.” ♦