World Music Institute Announces 2017-18 Season of Music and Dance

World Music Institute Announces 2017-18 Season of Music and Dance

Building off the momentum of WORLD MUSIC INSTITUTE's acclaimed 2016-17 season, which boasted a record number of sold-out shows, WMI announces an ever-expansive 2017-18 program: over 40 performances by remarkable talents from 28 countries across six continents. The New York Times reports on the new season here.

Among the highlights:

Ethiopian legends Mahmoud Ahmed and Hailu Mergia reunite at The Town Hall 9/15
NY debut of Tuareg music's rising star, guitarist Mdou Moctar and his band at David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center 9/28
Superstar Portuguese Fado singer Mariza in a rare intimate acoustic setting at Pioneer Works 10/31
Beirut's cutting-edge indie-electronic singer/songwriter Yasmine Hamdan at LPR 11/16
One of the greatest living Hindustani classical musicians, bansuri player Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia at 92Y 11/17
Africa Now! gets electric with megastar Black Coffee, South Africa's preeminent DJ and electronic music producer, as well as U.S. debut of Afrobeat/techno duo Tony Allen & Jeff Mills, at The Apollo 3/3
Pipa virtuoso Wu Man joins the brilliant Huayin Shadow Puppet Band at NY Society for Ethical Culture 3/17
New Festival of Mali kicks off with NY debut of rare father-son collaboration Toumani Diabaté & Sidiki Diabaté playing obscure and new kora works at Brooklyn Bowl 4/13
South African jazz legends Abdulla Ibrahim and Hugh Masekela of Jazz Epistles perform on one stage for the first time in almost 60 years in the U.S. at BAM Opera House 4/19
Ibibio Sound Machine performs its distinctive mix of African and electronic music at Brooklyn Bowl 4/28
Canada's Inuk artist Tanya Tagaq performs her exquisite and unnerving vocal improvisations at LPR 5/11
Special collaboration between Kronos Quartet and Soo Yeon Lyuh, master of the haegeum (Korean two-string fiddle) at 92Y 6/28

World music is constantly redefining itself, expanding into new territories as well as preserving tradition. It is no longer a niche category, but a genre that is phenomenally popular, attracting new, young and diverse audiences. Under the leadership of Executive Director Gaby Sappington and Artistic Director Par Neiburger since 2014, World Music Institute presents a passionately curated picture of world music to New Yorkers, expanding its vision from presenting the best in traditional music from around the world to also being on the forefront of new and exciting trends. The result is a program that offers access to traditionalists, experimentalists-and those in between.

In recent years, World Music Institute has established an impressive number of new partnerships with venues from the venerated to the alternative, spreading its wings all over the city and even upstate NY. Venues range from intimate spaces such as Littlefield and The David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center to large-scale stages like BAM Opera House, Apollo Theater and The Town Hall.

Read on for details of the 2017-18 season, which includes three exciting new series: Festival of Mali, Voces De Las Mujeres and Contemporary Jewish. Artistic Director PAR NEIBURGER on the new season: "In my third season as Artistic Director for World Music Institute, we move even further with the programmatic vision that we began in the 2015-16 season: presenting a distinctly wide range of what the global music community has to offer. We will present artists that range from the traditional (Toumani Diabaté & Sidiki Diabaté, Wu Man) to the contemporary and avant-garde (Tanya Tagaq, Yasmine Hamdan); from lesser-known artists often giving their first performance in the United States or New York (Anewal and Mdou Moctar) to legendary masters (Hugh Masekela and Hariprasad Chaurasia) and well-established artists (Mariza and Seun Kuti & Egypt 80). We are honored to present what will be the 32nd concert season for this venerable institution that long ago established its significance in the cultural community. Through our programming and community building, we aim to bring this institution into new territory-and consider it our distinct privilege to do so."

2017-18 Season at a Glance

(Click on any concert to jump to more information, or jump to calendar listings)


Featuring the most acclaimed artists from Africa

Mahmoud Ahmed with Hailu Mergia

September 15, 2017, The Town Hall
Rare concert of two legends (Mergia opens for Ahmed) who were popularized
in the West by the Éthiopiques compilation series, which has been key in highlighting
the most influential artists from Ethiopia over the past 20 years.

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80

September 20, 2017, Brooklyn Bowl
Seun Kuti continues the political ethos of his late father, Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti, as the leader of his father's band Egypt 80, adding his own twist to the music and digging into African traditions to reflect the continent's struggles and traditions.

Jazz Epistles Featuring Abdullah Ibrahim & Ekaya
and Hugh Masekela

April 19, 2018, BAM Opera House
South African jazz legends reunite and perform on one stage
for the first time in almost 60 years in the U.S. on this historic tour.


Featuring the most acclaimed artists from India

Roopa Panesar

September 17, 2017, Storm King Art Center
One of the finest and most soulful sitar players to emerge
from the Indian classical music scene in the UK.

Ustad Nishat Khan

October 8, 2017, Merkin Hall
Part of the prestigious Khan family, this virtuoso sitar player
stands at the forefront of contemporary Indian classical music.

Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia

November 17, 2017, 92Y
One of the greatest living Hindustani classical musicians
and a distinguished master of the bansuri-a North Indian bamboo flute.


Artists from the Saharan region of Africa who are
torchbearers of a centuries-old African musical tradition

Mdou Moctar

September 28, 2017, David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center
New York debut of Moctar and his band
The Tuareg guitarist with the unconventional style is one of the few original singer/songwriters willing to experiment and push the boundaries of the genre.

Group Doueh with Innov Gnawa

September 29, 2017, (le) poisson rouge
The legendary Group Doueh was founded in the '80s and has been playing in and
around their native Dakhla, the capital of the Moroccan administrative region
Dakla-Oued Ed-Dahad in the Western Sahara, ever since.
NY-based Moroccan collective Innov Gnawa opens the show.

Habib Koité & Bamada

November 8, 2017, (le) poisson rouge
Named the biggest pop star of Mali by Rolling Stone, Koité is a brilliant guitarist who produces semi-acoustic interpretations of multiple ethnic traditions from his country.

Anewal (Etran Finatawa)

December 7, 2017, (le) poisson rouge
United States debut
Alhousseini Anivolla's new trio from Niger brings traditional African songs
of the Tamashek people of the Saharan desert into a new soundscape.


May 3, 2018, David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center
Led by Sadam, the youngest member of Tinariwen,
Algeria's Imarhan provides a new take on Tuareg music.


This series showcases artists who represent folkloric music from
their respective cultures, preserving important cultural legacies

Alash Ensemble

October 1, 2017, Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Music Center
Trio of master throat singers from Tuva, a tiny Russian republic in Central Asia.
What distinguishes them from earlier generations of Tuvan throat singers is
the subtle infusion of modern influences into their traditional music.

The Paco de Lucía Project

October 14, 2017, Symphony Space
Created by ten-time Latin Grammy winner Javier Limón, The Paco de Lucía Project reassembles the original band that toured with the legendary Flamenco guitarist
for the last 10 years of his career.

Related Articles

From This Author BWW News Desk

Before you go...

Like Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter
Follow Us On Instagram

Advertisement Advertisement Advertisement