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Desert Blues, a Dominican Maestro, Gypsy Rock, Marseille’s Foot-stompin' Vocalists, and More:
Fifth Annual globalFEST Brings Twelve Musical Artists to NYC Showcase
Rarely can a global traveler buy one ticket and make it from the Dominican Republic to the Sahara Desert in one night, hitting Budapest, Marseilles, Milan, Seoul, and several other musical hotspots along the way. That’s just what festival-goers will experience when they go to the fifth annual globalFEST (www.globalfest-ny.org) on Sunday, January 13, 2008, starting at 7 pm on three stages at Webster Hall (125 East 11th Street, NYC). The festival has become a leading showcase of global music, demonstrating the multiplicity of sounds and performance contexts that fall under the ‘world music’ label. Tickets are available now from www.ticketmaster.com or +1-866-448-7849, but promoters caution music lovers to buy early: Prior globalFEST shows have sold out in advance.
“globalFEST proved it's possible to respect the past without being forced to preserve it forever unchanged,” reported the Village Voice in globalFEST’s debut year. "globalFEST not only brings some of the world's greatest artists to New York City each January to create an incredible one-night party, but the reverberations from the event also echo throughout North America for years following the event, as artistic directors from festivals, performing arts centers, and nightclubs are inspired to invite the featured artists to perform in venues across the continent," explains Bill Bragin of The Public Theater, who along with Maure Aronson of Boston’s World Music, Inc., and Isabel Soffer of World Music Institute, founded the festival. “There are a lot of factors in putting together the globalFEST line-up each year, but thanks to the great public support for the festival, which now has a strong following, we were able to make some exciting choices for programming this year” says Soffer. "Get ready for some musical revelations from unexpected places!” The Bowery Presents joins as an associate producer for the second time this year.
Year after year, the globalFEST producers create a lineup that the Star-Ledger has dubbed “evidence of the vibrancy and kaleidoscopic landscape of world music today.” While some performers are flame keepers for endangered traditions, others have created noteworthy hybrids on the edge of the current globalized era. Compelling patterns emerge from the festival roster each year, and this year’s festival promises to surprise even the most die-hard of globalFEST fans.
A third of this year’s performers are playing in the US for the first time at globalFEST. Named after a popular Hungarian cartoon character, Little Cow debuts their Hungarian Gypsy-tinged ska/rock/funk, creating sonic atmospheres ranging from melancholic to carnivalesque. Tuareg rockers Toumast follow in the footsteps of Tinariwen but with a harder edge to their desert blues songs of revolution and ululation.
Two other groups making their US debut emphasize a global trend that returns rhythm to the musical spotlight. Lo Còr de la Plana, an all-male hand-clappin', foot-stompin' polyphonic vocal ensemble from Marseilles, takes a style usually performed in churches and inserts a dose of rhythmical guts, with influences from Bartók to Massilia Sound System. Korea’s drumming ensemble Dulsori (literally, ‘wild beat’) rekindles the spirit of ancient festivals and is certain to dazzle fans familiar with the similar Japanese taiko tradition.
The percussion theme continues with Nation Beat, a NYC band that merges Brazil’s maracatu drums, New Orleans’ second line rhythms and funk, and Appalachian bluegrass. Fallou Dieng & Le DLC—a band named after the club run by Dieng’s mentor/musical forebear Youssou N’Dour—showcases hot mbalax beats and the leading voice of Senegal’s next generation. Newgrass innovators Crooked Still prove that rock energy can mix with old-time, acoustic mountain soul—without any percussion at all. Now performing as a quintet, this successful band features the ethereal vocals of Irish-American Aoife O'Donovan and the virtuosic banjo-picking of Bruce Springsteen sideman Greg Liszt.
The squeezebox falls into the spotlight with two performers. Master accordionist Chango Spasiuk plays Argentina’s chamamé style so beautifully listeners forget they are hearing an instrument that was maligned in a prior era. The four-piece NYC-meets-Mexico alt-rock folkloristas Pistolera features women on guitar/vocals, accordion, and drums, and pack enough punch to get audiences on their feet.
The line up is rounded out with three artists rarely heard in New York. The recently re-discovered 84-year-old Dominican son maestro Puerto Plata is the torchbearer of an old sound harkening back to the days before bachata or merengue. The fingers of French Gypsy jazz string virtuosi Samarabalouf fly melodically and gracefully across their fretboards. Underground visionary vocalist Vinicio Capossela is one of the most theatrically eccentric artists out of Italy, akin to Tom Waits crossed with Roberto Begnini, and his songs evoke worlds inhabited by demons, shadows, and lost souls, all with a sly wink and sense of delight.
Not only has the event broadened and deepened the participants’ appreciation for the enormous breadth of global music, it has opened new opportunities for international musicians in the performing arts field. Scheduled to coincide with the annual Arts Presenters conference (www.artspresenters.org), globalFEST has introduced upcoming stars to thousands of concert presenters and the general public.
“It would take a dozen flights, weeks living out of hotels, and countless nights spent searching the globe to get as much exposure to such varied and impressive talent as you get in one night at globalFEST,” says Jesse Kumagai, Director of Programming at Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto. Washington, DC’s Travis Bowerman agrees. “Besides being one of the more fun and eclectic evenings that you can have at the conference, every year I've encountered an artist that has made me think, ‘I saw them when...’ and then the artist appears on everyone's calendar and season,” says Bowerman who manages Cultural Development Corporation. “It may seem like a bit of a hunt but the overall quality of the artists is impressive and globalFEST has always included some undiscovered treasures that I've been delighted to include in my programming.”
For the fifth year in a row, globalFEST is sponsored by The Cultural Services of the French Embassy, with additional support from the French Music Export Office and Cultures France, recognizing France’s pre-eminent role as a hotbed of global music activity. In addition to providing financial support for the festival, artists who have French productions, regardless of their national origin, are eligible for subsidies to support their travel to participate in globalFEST. "globalFEST has fully established itself as a gateway to the world, creating new opportunities for culturally diverse performers and audiences alike," notes Emmanuel Morlet, Music Attaché at the French Embassy.
Dulsori 's performance is presented with support from Korean Cultural Service NY, Korea Arts Management, and the Korean Ministry of Culture. Visa services for globalFEST have been provided by Tamizdat, a nonprofit committed to fostering the free exchange of information and ideas between artists, audiences, and industries, and across cultures. Promotional support provided by The Onion and Giant Step.
Note: Artist list subject to changes.
press from globalFEST 2007
“World music performers often present themselves as emissaries from a single exotic country. But at the fourth annual globalFEST, a world-music showcase with a dozen acts at Webster Hall on Sunday night, many of the musicians cited dual origins... These are not traditional musicians; they are individualists who happily blend and straddle cultures.” – New York Times
“…a spectacular world-music concert that brings together some of the finest (if virtually unknown here) international performers. GlobalFEST is this city's–indeed our country's–premier world-music event.” – New York Post
“The globalFEST lineup is evidence of the vibrancy and kaleidoscopic landscape of world music today. …Ultimately, globalFEST shows that the state of world music is encouraging, resting in the hands of gifted performers and the hands of those who applaud them and then pass them along to others.” –Star-Ledger
“Can you be nostalgic for a place you've never been? This year's globalFEST will present several bands that re-create times and places that few, if anyone, in these parts ever experienced. In fact, the musicians themselves were never there. Still, they conjure up a spell strong enough to create a place you will want to visit again.” – Newsday
“The globalFEST music showcase has packed the house for the past four years... The event has become a pivotal event for many hybrid acts that blend various musical styles… Be ready to stock up on a few energy drinks before you go…” – New York Press
“Founded to celebrate our melting pot of ethnicity and facilitate travel for artists hindered by post-9/11 "security enhancements," globalFEST spotlights modern takes and cross-continental hybrids of more traditional genres.” – flavorpill
the music industry says…
“It's the thin edge of the wedge for global music and the one event at APAP that is a ‘must’ for me.” – Jesse Kumagai, Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
"I have found many ‘new to me’ artists through showcases at globalFEST. With two music festivals to curate (California WorldFest and the Chico World Music Festival), globalFEST has proven itself to be an invaluable way to educate myself about music from around the world.” – Dan DeWayne, Chico Performances, Chico, CA
“globalFEST introduces and demonstrates possibilities. The showcases erase the fear of the ‘unknown’ and are often the convincing factor that gets me the admin approval I need to include world music variety in our events.” – Njia Kai, Detroit Festival of the Arts, Detroit, MI
“Seeing artists at globalFEST has confirmed (or not) our desire to engage artists for both our marketing and booking people. Agents tell us how fabulous their artists are every day. We get CDs that often have little relation to the live experience. In the end it all means nothing until you see the artist, hear the music, and feel the energy in the room. This is what globalFEST gives us. The Kimmel Center has now booked as many globalFEST artists as WOMEX artists and the train ride to NY is cheaper than the flight to Seville.” – Mervon Mehta, The Kimmel Center, Philadelphia, PA
“globalFEST has introduced artists to us that in the traditional presenting industry we would not have known about. Seeing these artists perform has resulted in bookings at our Festival.” – Diana J. Cherryholmes, Huntington Arts Council, Huntington, NY
“After years of wading through the clowns, magicians and show tunes at APAP, at last some more adventurous bookings showed up, spurred on, no doubt, by the new energy working the fringes of the convention. This is nowhere more evident than globalFEST, an ambitious off-site showcase of eclectic musicians discovered by the intrepid curators who organize the event. For presenters out on the prairie with university booking budgets, this means that the likelihood of finding a Transylvanian Romany band is better than ever and the spillover benefits of block booking and cultural diversity extending to those Iowa caucuses exponentially improved. Further it now makes the production quality in the hotel rooms seem a tad sadder; shouldn't all showcases be given the globalFEST treatment?” – Marguerite Horberg, performing arts consultant, Chicago, IL
“Your choices are consistently interesting and the concert format represents the artists in much better circumstances than many other showcases I’ve had chance to see. Kudos!” – Massoud Saidpour, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
Desert Blues, a Dominican Maestro, Gypsy Rock, Marseille’s ...
Artist Line Up
Performing Schedule with venue
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