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World Music Institute Opens 'Global Salon' Series with Shafi Mondol Tonight

The World Music Institute is excited to begin its Global Salon series with an intimate performance from Bengali singer Shafi Mondol tonight, November 2 at 8:00 pm at the Thalia Theater.

Shafi Mondol has been praised as a leading voice in the Baul tradition, a nomadic group of wandering saint/singers combining Vaishnava Hinduism and Sufi Muslim poetry. Translating to "mad" or "possessed," Bauls represent a tradition of devotional music dating back to the 10th century that transcends political and religious divisions. Shafi Mondol carries this tradition forward, having studied with Shadhon Mukherjee and promoted the works of 19th century Baul saint and singer Lalon Fakir.

Forging a progressive approach to the Baul tradition, Mondol frequently incorporates western instruments such as electric guitar and violin into his music. The result is a mesmerizing synthesis of the ancient and contemporary, augmenting his mystical lyrics with modern timbres. This performance, however, will emphasize more traditional, trance-inducing sounds such as the single-stringed ektara and theduggi, or kettle drum.

Mondol's contributions have helped the Baul tradition become globally recognized, most notably as a "Masterpiece of the Oral Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO. When he is not touring internationally, Mondol runs the Bhabnagor Shongeet Ashram, teaching many prominent singers in Bangladesh.

Beyond Shafi Mondol's performance, WMI's Global Salon series will feature Colleen Cleveland and Julian Kytasty's interpretations of traditional ballads from across Europe, Armenian oudist Richard Hagopian, and string music from the many regions surrounding the Black Sea. These concerts will take place in the 168-seat Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theater at Symphony Space, providing an informal and intimate setting for a great diversity of ancient traditional music. Now in its second year, Global Salon features brilliant artists who not only perform, but also engage the audience with cultural histories and personal stories.


Tonight, November 2, 8:00pm
Thalia Theater at Symphony Space
$30 Public • $25 WMI Friends • $5 Bring a Kid!
Wednesday, January 27, 7:30pm
Thalia Theater at Symphony Space
$30 Public • $25 WMI Friends • $5 Bring a Kid!
Co-presented with Center for Traditional Music and Dance

Sunday, April 13, 7:00pm
Thalia Theater at Symphony Space
$30 Public • $25 WMI Friends • $5 Bring a Kid!

Wednesday, May 7, 7:00pm
Thalia Theater at Symphony Space
$30 Public • $25 WMI Friends • $5 Bring a Kid!
Co-presented with Center for Traditional Music and Dance

Tickets for all World Music Institute events are available for purchase online at, by calling (212) 545-7536, or in person at the WMI Box Office at 101 Lafayette Street, #801. 15% subscription discount tickets are available when purchasing for 4 or more concerts, before October 4th. Student and group discounts are available, as are VIP tickets for select events. Discounts are also available for WMI Friends with memberships starting at $70. WMI Friends enjoy priority seating throughout the season.

World Music Institute is a not-for-profit concert presenting organization founded in 1985 by Robert and Helene Browning and dedicated to the presentation of the finest in traditional and contemporary music and dance from around the world.

WMI encourages cultural exchange between nations and ethnic groups and collaborates with community organizations and academic institutions in fostering greater understanding of the world's cultural traditions. WMI works extensively with community groups and organizations including Indian, Iranian, Chinese, Korean, Middle Eastern, Latin American, Hungarian, Irish, and Central Asian. This has enabled it to be at the forefront of planning and presenting the finest ensembles from these countries.

WMI presents a full season of concerts each year in New York City, and arranges national tours by visiting musicians from abroad, as well as US-based artists. WMI's accomplishments and expertise in its field are recognized by major institutions throughout the US and internationally.

WMI has brought many musical, dance and ritual traditions to the New York stage for the first time, including Laotian sung poetry, folk music of Khorason and Bushehr (Iran), songs of the Yemenite Jews, Bardic divas of Central Asia, trance ceremonies from Morocco, music from Madagascar, and Theyyams (masked dances) of Kerala, South India. Many artists have been given their U.S. or New York debuts by WMI.

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