Master Musicians and Bold Newcomers to Shake Up World Music at globalFEST in NYC, Jan 12
globalFEST, Webster Hall
Artists creating groundbreaking new sounds to masterful standard bearers at their peak. International sounds with roots that run deep. Myriad fans ready for an evening of revelatory music. This is globalFEST (globalfest.org), America's catalytic springboard showcase/festival and year round service organization for world music. Taste-makers for an increasingly diverse and innovative planet-spanning scene, this one-night festival will gather a dozen international acts at New York City's Webster Hall on January 12, 2014.
That single evening will witness everything from vintage Bollywood confections from Down Under to soaring, heartfelt gospel from the deep South, from lush big bands to the sparest single-string guitar. Long-revered artists-including seminal performers who put Gypsy brass and North African Gnawa trance music on the map-will cross paths with rarely heard masters from little-explored genres.
"We want to give festival goers that sense of revelation," explains Lincoln Center's Bill Bragin, festival co-founder and co-producer along with Live Sound's Isabel Soffer and Shanta Thake of Joe's Pub. "We are programming for people active in world music-people like us-but also programming for people who aren't as immersed in these styles. We want artists that we know from experience are guaranteed to floor everyone, and some performers that are new to all of us, even diehard fans and industry professionals."
The new often flows from the old, reimagined through new technology, new influences, or simply through an artist's personal vision or stunning skill. "This year's globalFEST has a wild and compelling range of musical styles," notes Isabel Soffer. "The artists embrace particularly powerful combinations from traditional to contemporary music performed in really interesting ways."
Founded to coincide with the annual APAP conference, one of the main hubs for arts presenters and concert and festival programmers from across the continent, globalFEST began as a single-night event designed to encourage American presenters to consider a greater range of International Artists and to push international music to the center of the performing arts field. Over its first decade, it has grown into a year-round non-profit arts organization dedicated to boosting global musicians' work on a larger scale. Activities like the globalFEST Touring Artist Fund (which supports touring activities for globalFEST alumni artist) and globalFEST on the Road, in which gF curates events in collaboration with other festivals and presenting organizations, strive to expand performance opportunities for global music artists. And by successfully filtering into the mainstream-including major festivals like Bonnaroo and SXSW-globalFEST and the artists it champions are changing the way programmers and listeners perceive "world music."
"Early on, globalFEST targeted the performing arts field, and we've seen it have a lot of impact there," Thake says. "But now we're seeing many groups who want to tour other kinds of venues and events, and who are succeeding as contemporary popular music artists. World music can work anywhere, and our experiences at events like SXSW have really confirmed this."
The Artists of globalFEST 2014:
Baloji - Afropolitan rumba rapper. Equally at home crooning old-school Congolese chestnuts or rapping, teaming up with Afropop greats like Franco's veteran guitarist Dizzy Mandjeku or pioneering Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen, or with big names in international hip-hop (M1 of dead prez, for one), this stylish, smart performer knows how to take the rumba-inspired past and make it fresh and globally appealing.
The Bombay Royale (US debut) - Technicolor Bollywood big-band pop. The magic and mayhem of vintage Bollywood collides with surfer disco theatrics, complete with mysterious leading lady, a dashing leading man, and a killer brass section. Organs wail, guitars purr through surreal soundtracks for chase scenes and dance numbers, brought to life by this Melbourne 11-piece band in their US debut.
Brushy One String (NYC debut) - Infectious Jamaican single-string guitarist. The son of a musical family with ties to reggae greats, Brushy grew up with a profound sense of joy, a feeling that pervades his stripped down songs. When a dream told him to pick up his one-stringed guitar-he'd broken the other strings-Brushy went from remote Jamaican stages to international acclaim, garnering an outpouring of love online and at major festivals like the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.