World Music Institute Announces Spring/Summer 2023 Season

WMI celebrates its 38th year in NYC with sixteen performances featuring artists from over a dozen countries.

By: Jan. 25, 2023

World Music Institute Announces Spring/Summer 2023 Season

WMI celebrates its 38th year in NYC with sixteen performances featuring artists from over a dozen countries.

This Season's highlights include the 12th annual edition of WMI's popular Dancing The Gods Indian dance festival, a rare NYC appearance from Brazilian musical legend Hermeto Pascoal, West African pop icons Vieux Farka Touré and Fatoumata Diawara, Korean folk-pop sensation ADG7, and much more.

See this season's full schedule, with venue, artist, and ticketing info below, or at the WMI website.

A message from WMI Executive Director Gaby Sappington: "The second half of our 2022-2023 Season continues to reflect our commitment to offering audiences affordable access to the most exciting, innovative, and meaningful voices in world music and dance. Some of them are already well known, while others are up-and-coming. All of them are united by a passion for their respective cultures and the arts. We are thrilled to bring them to NYC's stages, celebrating our motto: MANY CULTURES - ONE WORLD."

WMI Spring/Summer 2023 Season Events:


Red Baraat 'Festival of Colors' with Shubh Saran and Kahani (DJ)

Friday, March 10, 2023
Doors and DJ: 7 PM | Show: 8 PM
Brooklyn Bowl - 61 Whyte Avenue, Brooklyn
Tickets: $20
Co-presented with Brooklyn Bowl

Red Baraat's annual 'Festival of Colors' celebrates the Hindu holiday of Holi with a colorful array of South Asian sounds. Brooklyn-based Red Baraat is led by dholplayer Sunny Jain. The band is known for its signature blend of hard-driving north Indian bhangra and elements of hip-hop, jazz and punk energy, with a mission of manifesting joy and unity in all people. The Telegraph (UK) says "this year's [WOMAD UK Festival] 'discovery' was Red Baraat... Think Punjabi weddings, Delhi street brass bands, modern jazz and rock" and NPR's Bob Boilen calls them "the best party band I've seen in years". Shubh Saran is a New York-based guitarist, composer, and producer who has performed globally with his band throughout the United States, India, Canada, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Mexico. Kahani, a producer/dj from New York, is a disruptor in the electronic and world music space, fusing global dance rhythms with a South Asian touch.


Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Rescheduled show: March 18, 2023
Doors: 7 PM | Show: 7:30 PM
Kaufmann Concert Hall at the 92nd Street Y - 1395 Lexington Avenue, Manhattan
Tickets: $35 | $45 | $60
Co-presented with 92NY

For over half a century, South Africa's Ladysmith Black Mambazo has been delighting audiences all over the world with their uplifting vocal harmonies, signature dance moves, and charming onstage banter. The four-time GRAMMY Award-winning ensemble came to global fame when they collaborated with Paul Simon on his 1986 smash hit Graceland, and never looked back. Nelson Mandela called the group "South Africa's cultural ambassadors to the world."


Hamid Rahmanian's Song of the North

Friday - Sunday, March 24-26, 2023
Friday and Saturday - Doors 7 PM | Show 8 PM, Sunday - Doors 2 PM | Show 3 PM
Peter Norton Symphony Space - 2537 Broadway at 95th St, Manhattan
Tickets: $25 | $35 | $45

Song of the North is a mesmerizing large-scale, cinematic performance combining the manual art of shadow puppetry with projected animation. The narrative tells the courageous tale of Princess Manijeh who defies her powerful father to rescue her beloved, Bijan, and avert war between rival kingdoms in a show of brave determination echoed in the protests taking place in Iran today. Adapted from the Shahnameh (the Persian "Book of Kings" written over 1,000 years ago), Song of the North was created by 2014 Guggenheim Fellow Hamid Rahmanian, and the original music score is by celebrated Iranian composer Ramin Torkian, featuring vocalist Azam Ali. "This dynamic, family-friendly production involving close to 500 handmade puppets is bursting with "breathtaking fireworks of creativity" - Le Monde.


Tarta Relena

March 30, 2023
Doors: 7 PM | Show: 8 PM
Tickets: $20 Advance | $25 Day of Show
National Sawdust - 80 North 6th Street, Brooklyn
Co-presented with National Sawdust

Needing little more than their voices and a uniquely contemporary take on ancient oral repertoires, the Catalan duo Marta Torrella and Helena Ros create a gorgeously harmonic and synchronistic sound while reinterpreting Mediterranean musical traditions by adding modern effects and subtle electronic pulses to the ancient traditions, giving them added relevance to a new world. Pitchfork said: "This is music of primal essence and unnameable longing, full of frequencies that seem to tap an ancient ache in one's bones. But the occasional smidgen of artificial reverb, synthesizer, or digital editing snaps us back to the present. Their vision of folk is no museum piece; it is contemporary, alive, and buzzing with portent."


NY Arab Festival

Friday, April 7, 2023
Doors and DJ: 8 PM
Nublu - 151 Avenue C, Manhattan
Tickets: $20 advance | $25 day of show
Co-presented with NY Arab Festival

During National Arab American Heritage Month, World Music Institute is partnering with the New York Arab Festival, presenting an evening of music by Arab and Arab American artists in New York City. Among the featured artists will be Felukah, the "neo-soul artist bringing the Nile to New York", whose voice is among the most distinct and versatile in contemporary genre-bending rap. NYAF stages new conversations around the contemporary sound and music from Arab and Arab American artists, in the city they have called home for centuries.


Twelfth Annual Indian Dance Festival curated by Rajika Puri

Come early each evening for a pre-performance slide lecture by curator Rajika Puri.

Friday, April 14 and Saturday, April 15, 2023
Doors: 7 PM | Lec Dem by Rajika Puri: 7:30 PM | Performance: 8 PM
The Ailey Studios - 405 W 55th St, Manhattan
Tickets: $35 / $45 / $55

Night One: Sreelakshmy Govardhanan - 'Sampradaya' (solo Kuchipudi with live music)

Sreelakshmy Govardhanan is an immensely talented and creative dancer, choreographer and teacher of Kuchipudi. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Avantika Space for Dance, a center for learning, performance and research, and her dance activity includes workshops, classes, seminars and lecture demonstrations. In this solo performance set to live music, she will explore the Nritta, Nrutya and Natya elements of Kuchipudi through a repertoire set in the format of Margam (performance set in a traditional format).

Night Two: Praveen Kumar (solo Bharatanatyam with live music)

Hailing from a family of artists, Praveen Kumar showed an inclination toward dance at a very young age. After beginning his studies with the eminent guru of Bangalore (Late) Smt. Narmada, he learned to appreciate the aesthetic depths of Bharatanatyam and decided to dedicate himself to the ancient dance form. He now trains under the celebrated Guru Prof.C.V.Chandrasekhar and runs the Chithkala School of Dance in Bangalore. In this solo recital, he will explore a man's journey as a companion, an admirer, and a friend through various facets of life.


Dakh Daughters with Opening Guest Balaklava Blues

Thursday, April 20, 2023
Doors: 7 PM | Show: 8 PM
(le) poisson rouge - 158 Bleecker St, Manhattan
Tickets: - Advance $30 | Day of Show $35

Dakh Daughters, the sister group of Ukrainian sensation DakhaBrakha, consists of seven performers who also come out of the Dakh Theater in Kyiv. Playing strings, keyboards, and percussion, the artists skillfully combine the romantic atmosphere of French cabarets with the frenetic energy of punk rock to deliver a powerful message about love, freedom, and Ukrainian identity. Rolling Stone included the visually stunning ensemble in their "5 Best Things We Saw at GlobalFest 2019" wrap up. Balaklava Blues is the brainchild of Mark and Marichka Marczyk, creators of the multi-award winning guerrilla-folk-opera Counting Sheep and leaders of the mighty Lemon Bucket Orkestra - Canada's notorious 12 piece balkan-party-punk-massive.



Saturday, April 22, 2023
Doors: 7 PM | Show: 8 PM
Public Records - 233 Butler St, Brooklyn
Tickets: $25 Advance | $30 Day of Show
Co-presented with Public Records

Following an electrifying performance at (le) poisson rouge during WMI's 2019/2020 season, the groundbreaking Congolese group KOKOKO! is back in NYC. Best known for creating a contemporary and unique style of music using instruments constructed by upcycling cans, engine parts, plastic containers, and other trash found on the streets of Kinshasa, their new urban sound and political messaging mirror the harsh realities of life in Africa's third largest city.


Fatoumata Diawara with Opening Guest TBA

Saturday, April 29, 2023
Doors: 7 PM | Show: 8 PM
Brooklyn Bowl - 61 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn
Tickets: $35
Co-presented with Brooklyn Bowl

WMI is thrilled to welcome award-winning Malian singer, guitarist, actor, and social activist Fatoumata Diawara back to NYC following her 2018 appearance at WMI's Festival of Mali, also co-presented with Brooklyn Bowl, as well as the 2014 Africa Now! Festival at the historic Apollo Theater. Like her fellow Malian songstress Oumou Sangaré, Fatoumata uses her music to address critical social issues including human trafficking and the empowerment of women. Her most recent album Fenfo ("Something to Say") gives voice to these urgent themes while paying tribute to her African heritage with songs sung mostly in Bambara, mixing modern electric guitar lines with the ancient strings of the kora and kamel ngoni.


ADG7 with Opening Guest TBA

Wednesday, May 3, 2023
Doors: 7 PM | Show: 8 PM
(le) poisson rouge - 158 Bleecker St, Manhattan
Tickets: Advance $30 | - Day of Show $35
With promotional support from The Korea Society

The nine-piece South Korean ensemble ADG7 (aka Ak Dan Gwang Chil) draws equal inspiration from newly reclaimed Korean folk styles of gut and minyo and the contemporary stylings of modern K-Pop for a mix that will surprise you with its raucous, danceable energy. The band's charismatic three frontwomen are backed by masterfully played traditional Korean instrumentation and present a distinctively theatrical style of performance that's like nothing you've ever heard before, but that you'll never forget. The New York Times called these crowd-pleasing sonic sensations "catchy, bouncy, and brash"


Vieux Farka Touré with Guest DJ TBA

Thursday, May 11, 2023
Doors: 7 PM | Show: 8 PM
Brooklyn Bowl - 61 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn
Tickets: Advance $25 | Day of Show $30
Co-presented with Brooklyn Bowl

Malian master guitarist, vocalist, and social activist Vieux Farka Touré returns to the NYC stage after his 2016 WMI performance at (le) poisson rouge - this time as part of WMI's Let's Dance series. This appearance follows the release of his most recent solo album Les Racines in which he pays tribute to the deep roots of the desert blues tradition made famous worldwide by his father, the late Ali Farka Touré, and features a collaboration with the Texan funk/rock trio Khruangbin - a very personal reimagining of songs composed by his father aptly titled Ali. The Independent says of Vieux's artistry "Every now and then, if you're very lucky, you get to witness a live performance that blows everything else away" and The Guardian hails him as "Africa's next guitar hero".


Alam Khan with Manik Khan and Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri

Saturday, May 20, 2023
Doors: 7 PM | Show: 8 PM
Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center - 129 West 67th Street, Manhattan
Tickets: $35 / $45 / $55

Alam Khan and Manik Khan are the sons of the legendary maestro Ustad Ali Akbar Khan whose lives have been steeped in the ancient tradition of North Indian classical music. After performing internationally with his father, Alam established himself in his solo career as the face of a new generation of sarode players. Prior to beginning his formal training in the sarode with his father, Manik initially studied tabla under the tutelage of award-winning tabla master and frequent collaborator with Ali Akbar Khan, Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri, who will join the brothers for this intergenerational celebration of the Hindustani tradition.


Hermeto Pascoal & Grupo

Thursday, May 25, 2023
Doors: 7 PM | Show: 8 PM
Pioneer Works
Tickets: $30 - standing room | $45 - general admission seating | $65 - preferred seating
Co-presented with Pioneer Works

There have been few musicians to reach the stature of Brazilian master Hermeto Pascoal. Dubbed by Miles Davis as "one of the most impressive musicians in the world", he is a composer, producer, and self-taught multi-instrumentalist who has been an influential figure in Brazilian music for over half a century. Known as O Bruxo ("the Wizard"), his music is inspired by sounds of nature and he often incorporates unconventional objects (including a teapot and toys) in his performances, proclaiming that "everything is an instrument". He will be joined by his "Grupo" including his son Fabio Pascoal, Itiberê Zwarg and his son Ajurinã, André Marques, and Jota P.


Kiran Ahluwalia w/ Yacouba Sissoko

Saturday, June 3, 2023
Doors: 7 PM | Show: 8 PM
Flushing Town Hall
Tickets: $20 advance | $25 day of show
Co-presented with Flushing Town Hall

Two-time JUNO (Canadian Grammy Award) winner Kiran Ahluwalia is a modern exponent of the vocal traditions of India and Pakistan, which she honors intensely yet departs from in masterful, personal ways. Kiran's lyrics explore themes as broad as cultural intolerance in our largely immigrant society and as personal as the struggle to fully embrace female desire by throwing away shame. With roots in Sufi, Qawwali, Ghazal, and Punjabi folk, she crafts her own contemporary originals while organically mixing with West African blues and American jazz to create a sound that is immediately welcoming and ultimately universal. For this performance, she will be joined by Malian kora master, educator, and longtime WMI friend Yacouba Sissoko. Yacouba was born to a well-known Djeli family in Kita, Mali. For centuries, Djelis have been the musical storytellers, a position that is inherited through a family bloodline. Highly respected within their communities, they are the keepers of the history and the fables of past rulers, nobles, social groups and families.


Yasser Tejeda with DJ Sabine Blaizin (Oyasound)

Thursday, June 8, 2023
Doors and DJ: 8 PM | Show: 9 PM
Harlem Stage - 150 Convent Avenue, Harlem
$20 - advance | $25 - day of show

Presented in Partnership with Harlem Stage Uptown Nights and Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute's Rhythm, Bass & Place series

WMI's final Let's Dance party of the Season celebrates Caribbean-American Heritage Month and Black Music Appreciation Month, bringing us to Harlem Stage where Afro-Dominican bandleader Yasser Tejeda heightens the energy with his combination of traditional folkloric music and jazz, rock, and Caribbean rhythms. Keeping audiences moving both before and after Yasser's set, DJ Sabine Blaizin (Oyasound) will spin Global House and Soul, Afrotech, Afrobeat, and other diasporic Afro-Caribbean dance music, always with a nod to her Haitian roots.