World Music Institute Has Announced Spring/Summer 2019-2020 Season

By: Jan. 16, 2020
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World Music Institute Has Announced Spring/Summer 2019-2020 Season

World Music Institute (WMI) continues to celebrate its 34th year in NYC with a fresh roster of global artists for the Spring/Summer 2019-2020 Season.

Curated by Artistic Director Brian Keigher, the second half of WMI's Season features an exciting, eclectic lineup of global artists presenting 16 different cultures, from 17 different countries, including six NYC debuts: China's Zhou Family Band, a rare cross-cultural collaboration between Iran's Sahba Motallebi & Iraq's Rahim AlHaj, a trio of Indian master musicians Gaurav Mazumdar, Rupak Kulkarni, and Hindole Majumdar, Spanish nuevo flamenco sensation Los Aurora, Kenya's "Godfathers of East African rumba" Orchestre Les Mangelepa; and a brand-new collaboration between South African guitar wizard Derek Gripper and Malian kora virtuoso Yacouba Sissoko.

This Season features artists from Bulgaria, China, France, Guinea, Haiti, India, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Kenya, Mali, South Africa, Spain, Syria, Taiwan, Turkey, and the United States.

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

A Message From WMI Executive Director, Gaby Sappington:

We're thrilled to announce the second half of our 2019-2020 Season, and look forward to welcoming NY audiences to exciting performances by both traditional and contemporary world music artists.

As always, our programming aims to demonstrate how music and the arts transcend cultural divisions, connecting people through a joyful exchange that highlights and celebrates our shared humanity. Sahba Motallebi from Iran and Rahm AlHaj from Iraq, for example, two masters of Persian music will for the first time perform together as well as individually at Merkin Hall, promoting peace and harmony in divisive times. In keeping with WMI's tradition, Masters of Indian Music, Masters of African Music, the 9th annual Dancing The Gods Indian Dance Festival, as well as the Flamenco Festival are an integral part of our program. Many Cultures - One World is our motto and we are proud to be part of New York's vibrant cultural landscape.


Zhou Family Band

Lunar New Year Celebration

Co-presented with Flushing Town Hall

Sunday, January 26, 2020 Doors 1:30 pm | Show 2 pm

Flushing Town Hall
137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, Queens
(at the corner of Linden Place)

Tickets: $18 - general admission | $12 for members & students | free for teens (13-19 years old) | General admission seating

NYC DEBUT! WMI and Flushing Town Hall co-present this family-friendly afternoon show, which is the NYC debut of the exuberant Zhou Family Bandwho have been performing traditional Chinese music that has been declared a national intangible cultural heritage of China by the Chinese government at weddings, births, and funerals for seven generations.


Faraj Abyad and His Orchestra - "Enta Omri"

Saturday, February 1, 2020, Doors 8 pm | Show 8:30 pm

Symphony Space Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theater
2537 Broadway at 95th Street. Manhattan

General admission seating with limited premium front row seating | Tickets: $40 general admission| $60 VIP includes meet & greet and premium seating

Take a journey through the golden age of Arabic music (1960-1979) with Faraj Abyad - a singer and musician of Syrian/Aleppian descent. In this concert, Faraj and his orchestra will perform classic repertoire from Syria, Lebanon and Egypt. The concert will include a performance of 'Enta Omri' ('You Are My Life') as well as an original composition by Faraj Abyad (inspired by the golden age of Arabic popular music) to be premiered at this concert. Directed by Layth Sidiq.


Sahba Motallebi & Rahim AlHaj

Presented with Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center

Saturday, February 15, 2020, Doors 7 pm | Pre-Show Artist Discussion 7:30 pm | Show 8 pm

Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center
129 West 67th St, Manhattan

Tickets: $30 | $35

Pre-show discussion with the artists, moderated by WMI Artistic Director Brian Keigher

NYC DEBUT! A rare evening of musical dialog between two masters of traditional music from Iran and Iraq. Four-time winner at the Iranian Music Festival and the Tehran Conservatory, Sahba Motallebi is recognized internationally as a modern master of the tar and setar, lute-like stringed instruments that are central to traditional Persian music. Iraqi oud maestro, composer, NEA National Heritage Fellow and two-time Grammy Award nominee Rahim AlHaj is considered to be one of the world's finest oud players.



Sunday, February 23, 2020, Doors 7 pm | Show 7:30 pm

Peter Norton Symphony Space
2537 Broadway at 95th Street, Manhattan

Tickets: $35 | $45 | $55

The spirit and sound of Altan comes from the deep and rich musical tradition of their native County Donegal in Ireland. The band has been a driving force in the rising popularity of Celtic music around the world for over 35 years. The acoustic ensemble features traditional Irish instrumentation including fiddle, button accordion, melodeon, and bouzouki, and they are renowned for heartwarming, dynamic live performances that range from touching ballads to hard-hitting reels and jigs.


Niño de Elche with special guest dancer Leonor Leal

Presented in collaboration with Flamenco Festival NY

Saturday, March 14, 2020, Doors 7 pm | Leonor Leal 8 pm |
Niño de Elche 9 pm

(le) poisson rouge
158 Bleecker St, Manhattan

Tickets: $35 advance | $40 Day of Show | Standing room with limited unreserved seating.

Francisco Contrera Molina, professionally known as Niño de Elche, is considered by many critics to be one of the most influential innovators in the flamenco genre. A young, multi-disciplinary artist, he infuses his traditional flamenco singing with contemporary music and media. He will be joined by Leonor Leal who is widely recognized as one of the best flamenco dancers in Spain today.


Bulgarian Voices Trio & Navatman Music Collective

Tuesday, March 17, 2020, Doors 7:30 pm, Show 8 pm

The Cutting Room
44 East 32nd Street, Manhattan

Tickets: $20 advance | $25 day of show | Standing room with limited unreserved seating

Bulgarian Voices Trio & Navatman Music Collective, two of New York City's unique female choirs, come together to create a new soundscape with Indian classical and Bulgarian music. Using trademark melodic techniques of their respective forms as well as innovations in group singing format, melisma, and harmony, these rich vocal traditions unite to express music of the soul and to find and spread joy. The Navatman Music Collective will perform under the leadership of noted singer Roopa Mahadevan and Bulgarian Voices Trio will be joined by Bulgarian-born founder Vlada Tomova.


Gaurav Mazumdar, Rupak Kulkarni, and Hindole Majumdar

Presented with Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center

Wednesday, March 25, 2020, Doors 7:30 pm | Show 8:00 PM

Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center
129 West 67th Street, Manhattan

Tickets: $25 I $35

NYC Debut! WMI and Merkin Hall present the NYC debut of a trio of acclaimed artists sharing their passion for traditional Indian classical music. Grammy Award-nominated sitar master, composer, conductor, and educator, Gaurav Mazumdar is a member of the illustrious Mazumdar family and was a student of the legendary maestro, Ravi Shankar. After four decades of study and performing, Rupak Kulkarni has established himself as one of the preeminent bansuri masters and an exponent of the maihar gharana, having studied with Hariprasad Chaurasia from the age of 12. Hindole Majumdar is one of the most accomplished tabla players of his generation. He received his first formal training at the age of 5 and continues to study with the great tabla maestro Sankha Chatterjee. Don't miss the opportunity to experience these three masters in their first NYC collaboration.


Paris Combo

Presented with Sony Hall

Saturday, March 28, 2020, Doors 6 pm | Show 8 pm

Sony Hall
235 West 46th St, Manhattan

General admission seating and limited VIP seating | Tickets: VIP advance: $75 | VIP day of show: $80 | general admission advance: $39.50 | general admission day of show: $45

Fronted by the charismatic chanteuse Belle du Berry, Paris Combo blends traditional French chanson and gypsy jazz with elements of other world music traditions into a signature style that the Los Angeles Times calls "marvelously eclectic" and the Boston Herald describes as "cool, continental, witty and more than a little mysterious." Two decades of crisscrossing the globe have refined the quartet's unique cosmopolitan sound, establishing the band as one of the most intriguing groups on the international music scene.


Los Aurora

Presented in collaboration with Flamenco Festival NY

Sunday, March 29, 2020, Doors 7 pm | Show 8 pm

(le) poisson rouge
158 Bleecker St, Manhattan

Standing room with limited unreserved seating |
Tickets: $35 Advance | $40 Day of Show

NYC DEBUT! Barcelona, Spain is home to the nuevo flamenco movement and Los Aurora, the exciting new ensemble who recently opened the city's 25th Ciutat Flamenco - one of the most important flamenco festivals in the world. The band is comprised of a talented circle of young artists who have created an improvised presentation of flamenco inspired by jazz and other contemporary genres.


Natu Camara with DJ Sabine Blaizin, Hosted by Jodine Dorce

Curated by World Music Institute

Friday, April 3, 2020, DJ & Doors: 9 pm | Show: 10 pm

Apollo Music Café at the Apollo Theater
253 W 125th St,

Tickets: $22 General Admission

Now in its eighth season, the Africa Now! Festival at the Apollo Theater celebrates the best of today's African music scene. This year, WMI and the Apollo present Natu Camara, one of the brightest stars coming out of the west African nation of Guinea. Natu is a singer/songwriter who weaves beautiful musical tapestries of her beloved homeland. DJ Sabine Blaizin will be spinning Afrotech and Afrobeat hits from doors open until show time.


Orchestre Les Mangelepa

Thursday April 9, 2020, Doors 7:00 pm | Show 8:00 pm

(le) poisson rouge
158 Bleecker St., Manhattan

Standing room w/ limited unreserved seating |Tickets: $30 early bird (first 100 tickets) | $35 advance | $40 day of show

NYC DEBUT! A rare opportunity to see The "Godfathers of East African rumba" in NYC. For over four decades, Orchestre les Mangelepa has been making crowds move with their energetic live performances and Signature Sound. Originating from Congo and now based in Nairobi, the legendary band has been so integral to African Rumba, an afro-latin musical style derived from Cuban son, that they are synonymous with the genre.


A Moving Sound

Saturday, April 11, 2020, Doors 7 pm | Show 7:30 pm

Peter Norton Symphony Space
2537 Broadway at 95th Street, Manhattan

Tickets: $30 | $35 | $45

Performing traditional Taiwanese music with a contemporary touch, the award-winning ensemble A Moving Sound has built a worldwide following through their joyous mix of original music and dance. Featuring the distinctive timbres of the erhu (fiddle) and zhong ruan (lute), and the transcendent vocals of Mia Hsieh, A Moving Sound has devised a unique and compelling style that is all their own - a Taiwanese whirlwind that veers between the meditative and exuberant, with irrepressible spirit.


Ninth Annual Indian Dance Festival

Co-curated by Rajika Puri

Saturday, April 18 & Sunday, April 19, 2020

Pre-performance slide lecture by co-curator, Rajika Puri on "Innovation in Indian Dance" and post-performance 'chat & chai' with the artists.

Night One

Solo Kathak with live music

Saturday, April 18, 2020, Doors at 6:30 pm

Peter Norton Symphony Space
2537 Broadway at 95th St, Manhattan

6:30 pm Doors

7:00 pm Pre-performance slide lecture by co-curator Rajika Puri - "Innovation in Indian Dance"

8:00 pm Performance

Post-performance 'chat & chai' with the performers

Tickets: $35 | $45 | $55
Children (14 years and under) who are accompanied by an adult pay only $5.

Aditi Mangaldas is a preeminent dancer and choreographer in the classical Indian dance form of Kathak. With extensive training under the leading gurus of Kathak, Shrimati Kumudini Lakhia and Pandit Birju Maharaj, Aditi is today recognized for her artistry, technique, eloquence and characteristic energy that mark every performance.

Night Two

Solo Bharatanatyam with live music

Solo Bharatanatyam with live music

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Peter Norton Symphony Space
2537 Broadway at 95th St, Manhattan

6:00 pm Doors

6:30 pm Pre-performance slide lecture by co-curator Rajika Puri - "Innovation in Indian Dance"

7:30 pm Performance

Post-performance 'chat & chai' with the performers

Tickets: $35 | $45 | $55
Children (14 years and under) who are accompanied by an adult pay only $5.

Revanta Sarabhai is an actor, dancer, choreographer and filmmaker who has established his presence as a leading actor of the Gujarati film industry. Having made his solo Indian classical dance-debut at age 8, Revanta has been performing as a Bharatanatyam and contemporary dancer. Parshwanath Upadhye is one of the most sought-after dancers of the Indian classical dance form of Bharatanatyam.


Derek Gripper & Yacouba Sissoko

Co-presented with Littlefield

Sunday, April 26, 2020, Doors 7:00 pm | Show 8:00 pm

635 Sackett St., Brooklyn

Tickets: $15 advance | $20 day of show | Standing room with limited unreserved seating

NYC DEBUT! A celebration of Malian music featuring two African artists playing together for the first time on a public stage. South African-based guitarist Derek Gripper has forged a career blending classical guitar with African folk traditions, including the complex music of the kora (the 21-string African harp). Malian-born and kora master Yacouba Sissoko has collaborated with artists such as Harry Belafonte, Baaba Maal, Paul Simon, and Lauryn Hill. Witness these two outstanding artists renowned for their musicianship and explorations of musical styles in this NYC debut collaboration.


DÜNYA Directed by Mehmet Ali Sanlikol

Co-presented with DROM

Friday, May 15, 2020, Doors 6:30 pm | Show 7:30 pm

85 Avenue A, Manhattan

Tickets: Seating - $35 | Standing - $25 | Day of Show - $35 Standing room with limited reserved seating

DÜNYA (the Turkish, Arabic, Persian, and Greek word for "world") is a musicians' collective based in Boston, Massachusetts. Its goal is to explore a cosmopolitan view of the world through the lens of a wide range of Turkish traditions, alone and in conversation with the music of the formerly Ottoman peoples-Greeks, Jews, Armenians, Arabs, Kurds, mystics-as well as with western and other world traditions.


Nayan and Ishaan Ghosh

Presented with Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center

Thursday, June 4, 2020, Doors 7:30 pm | Show 8 pm

Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center
129 West 67th St, Manhattan.
Tickets: $25 | $35

Synergy is a celebration of 50 years of stage performances by Nayan Ghosh, the only maestro to have performed both the sitar and the tabla across the globe at the highest levels of musicianship - an artistic legacy that is being carried forward by his brilliant tabla-playing son Ishaan Ghosh.

About World Music Institute:

Founded in 1985 as a not-for-profit, World Music Institute (WMI) has served as one of the leading presenters of world music and dance within the United States. WMI is committed to presenting the best in traditional and contemporary music and dance from around the world with the goal of inspiring wonder for the world's rich cultural traditions, promoting awareness and appreciation and encouraging cross-cultural dialog and exchange. WMI presents at venues throughout the city and depends on both public and private funding to accomplish its mission.

The program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.