Anoushka Shankar, Diego El Cigala, Jorge Drexler and More Set for World Music Institute's 2013-14 Season

Anoushka Shankar, Diego El Cigala, Jorge Drexler and More Set for World Music Institute's 2013-14 Season

The World Music Institute announces its 29th season with an incredibly diverse array of artists spread over 4 concert series and 3 weekend festivals.

Offering its signature breadth and depth of world music and dance talent, WMI hosts international star names such as Anoushka Shankar, Diego El Cigala, Jorge Drexler, Angelique Kidjo, Zakir Hussain, and Farruquito, as well as fascinating lesser-known artists in uniquely accessible and authentic world music experiences.

WMI's Global Salon series returns for its second year. Hosted at the Thalia theater at Symphony Space, the highly intimate setting allows artists to informally share cultural history and personal stories alongside their music.

The wildly hip and successful World To Brooklyn series also returns. Located in the heart of Brooklyn at Roulette, it offers immersive cultural evenings that feature free "cultural" cocktails, dance lessons, and great world music followed by a DJ after-party, all for $25.

Among the weekend festivals are the dynamic two-part Flamenco Gitano, featuring Spanish singer Diego El Cigala as well as celebrated dancer Farruquito's first NY appearance in more than a decade; and year two of Africa Now at the Apollo Theater, which showcases today's African music scene.

With music and dance originating from Africa, India, Latin America, Spain, Eastern Europe and drawing from the roots of jazz, classical Indian, gypsy, afro-pop, singer-songwriter, electronica, salsa, and flamenco music, WMI's 2013-14 season is a richly curated tribute to global artistic achievement.

Artistic Director Karen Sander talks about her vision of WMI:

"We live in a global society, and world music has become increasingly available and popular. At the World Music Institute, we reveal these dynamic cultures through more than just performances, always seeking deeper ways to engage with our artists-whether a rare find or an international star.

Our goal is to truly crack open these cultures for people by adding innovative platforms to make world music come alive. Our new Global Salon and World to Brooklyn series, as well as our weekend festivals full of lectures, demonstrations, personal stories, and artist accessibility, I think, achieve just that. With exciting partnerships this year throughout the city with the Apollo Theater, Town Hall, Madison Square Garden and Roulette, we're writing the next chapter of world music."

T H E ' 1 3 / 1 4 S E A S O N


This three-part series presents an eclectic mix of programs from around the world, at a variety of top venues around the city. This year showcases three one-of-a-kind voices: Christine Salem at Symphony Space, Jorge Drexler at Society for Ethical Culture, and Angélique Kidjo at Town Hall. Each of these visionary artists offers a highly artistic way of looking at tradition, and then moves their tradition forward, to the next place.

Christine Salem / Jorge Drexler / Angélique Kidjo


Friday, October 4, 8:00pm
Peter Norton Symphony Space
2537 Broadway at 95th Street
$35 Public • $30 WMI Friends • $5 Bring a Kid!

The World Music Institute is thrilled to launch its 2013-14 season with Christine Salem from Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean. This year Jon Pareles of The New York Times chose Salem as his standout performance of Globalfest, noting her "potent, indefatigable contralto." Christine Salem is the greatest living champion of maloya, a nearly-extinct musical tradition rooted in the work songs and chants of the island's African slaves. The hypnotic, percussion-driven music is based on rhythms played during ceremonies dedicated to ancestors and is layered with rousing call-and-response vocals. A force of nature on stage, Salem delivers socially-conscious lyrics in Creole, Malagasy, Comorian and Swahili, while shaking out the tempo on a traditional rectangular reed rattle, the kayamn. A channel to another time and place, she seems to fall into a trance while inducing the audience to do the same.


Tuesday, October 8, 8:00pm
Concert Hall at The Society for Ethical Culture
2 West 64th Street
$45-$55 Public • $40-$50 WMI Friends

The Madrid-based Uruguayan doctor-turned-musician Jorge Drexler is one of Latin America's most beloved singer/songwriters. A musical visionary with a gentle voice and seductive, understated stage presence, he is known for his sophisticated arrangements and evocative lyrics which tackle complex, timely themes: nationality, loneliness, language, history, technology, and of course, love. Drexler achieved worldwide fame with his Oscar-winning song "Al otro lado del río" from The Motorcycle Diaries, and hasn't slowed down since-amassing awards and nominations, film scores and film roles along the way. Ever the innovator, Drexler presents "World Abyss," a new show that promises high levels of improvisation and interaction, including a demonstration of his new n app, where smartphone users "collaborate" in the song-making process.


Saturday, February 15, 8:00pm
The Town Hall
123 W 43rd Street
$35-$55 Public • $30-$50 WMI Friends
Co-presented with Town Hall

Named "Africa's premier diva" by Time Magazine, the Beninese singer Angélique Kidjo is the continent's most internationally celebrated female artists. She is known for her uplifting and dynamic music, a blend of tribal and pop rhythms of her West African heritage with zouk, rumba, jazz, and Latin, sung in English, French, Fon and Yorùbá. An agent of inspiration and change, Kidjo is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and a tireless champion for women's health and girls' education in Africa. She's been listed as one of Africa's 50 most iconic figures (BBC), and one of the Top 100 Most Inspiring Women in the World (The Guardian). The prolific Kidjo already has twelve acclaimed albums to her name; this concert at Town Hall marks the NY stop of her new album release tour and her World Music Institute debut.


The Masters of Indian Music series continues the World Music Institute's long tradition of presenting the finest in Indian classical music, both Hindustani (North India) and Carnatic (South India). WMI has been the leading presenter of Indian artists since its founding in 1985; its very first concert featured some of India's most celebrated classical artists, including Lalgudi Jayraman, Maharajapuram Santhanam, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Shivkumar Sharma, and Zakir Hussain. New Director Karen Sander is committed to continuing this legacy.

Anoushka Shankar / Ustad Imrat Khan / Zakir Hussain


Saturday, November 16, 8:00pm
NYU Skirball Center
566 LaGuardia Pl. at Washington Sq. South
$40-$45 Public • $30-$35 WMI Friends • $5 Bring a Kid! • $150 VIP Reception

Daughter and disciple of the legendary Ravi Shankar, sitarist and composerAnoushka Shankar has emerged as one of the leading figures in world music today. She studied exclusively with her father since age nine and by twenty, had already made three records and performed at prestigious venues internationally. Thriving as a composer, Anoushka explores where her deep roots in Indian classical music cross over into other genres including flamenco, electronica, and jazz. This concert marks Anoushka's WMI debut, her first New York appearance since her father died, and the release of her seventh album, "Traces of You," which pays tribute to her father and to the relationships that have left an indelible mark on her life.


Saturday, February 8, 8:00pm
Peter Norton Symphony Space
2537 Broadway at 95th Street
$30 Public • $25 WMI Friends • $5 Bring a Kid!

Guardian of the great heritage of a centuries-old musical dynasty, Ustad Imrat Khan is considered a living legend of Indian classical music. At 78, he is the senior-most member of the Etawah Gharana, a line of master musicians dating back to the Mogul courts. Maestro of the sitar and surbahar (a bass version of the sitar developed by his great-grandfather), he is a consummate musician who has made the melodic subtleties of raag and the rhythmic intricacies of taal accessible to audiences around the world. He will be performing on sitar, accompanied by the illustrious Pandit Anindo Chatterjee on tabla.


Saturday, March 29, 8:00pm
The Theater at Madison Square Garden
7th Avenue, between 31st and 33rd Street
$45-$125 Public • $40-$120 WMI Friends • $300/$500 VIP Reception

The preeminent classical tabla virtuoso of our time, and a longtime favorite of the World Music Institute, the legendary Zakir Hussain returns to NYC with hisMasters of Percussion ensemble, in an exciting new venue-Madison Square Garden Theater. Hussain's consistently brilliant performances have established him as a national treasure in his native India, and musical phenomenon worldwide. Renowned for his mesmerizing improvisations, dazzling technique, and beguiling wit, he has been touring internationally for decades, showcasing premier percussionists in unforgettable ensemble configurations. He will be joined by V Selvaganesh, kanjira and ghatham (clay pot); Steve Smith, drums; Niladri Kumar, sitar; Dilshad Khan, sarangi; Vijay S Chavan, dholki; Deepak Bhatt,dhol. Special guests TBA.


World to Brooklyn is the World Music Institute's vibrant new dance-party series that takes place in the cultural hub of downtown Brooklyn. Offering a socially immersive way to enjoy a culture's music, World to Brooklyn replicates a dance-party in a specific country-one can eat, drink, listen and dance to the culture-and attracts a remarkably friendly, all-inclusive cross-cultural mix. Utilizing the unique flexibility of Roulette's space (seats are removed downstairs to create a dance floor, while the upstairs has fixed seating for those who prefer to lounge), the series offers pre-performance dance lessons, after-parties featuring DJ's connected to the culture presented, culturally specific cocktails, meet-and-greets and art exhibits.

7:00pm - Doors Open
7:00-8:00pm - Open Bar with specialty cocktails from the culture
7:30pm - Dance Lesson with a teacher from the culture
8pm - Live Show with visual projections
9:30pm - DJ After-Party

Romano Drom / La Cumbiamba Eneye / La Clava Secreta


Saturday, February 22, 8:00pm
509 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn
$25 Public • $20 WMI Friends

Playing household items-pots, cans and spoons-alongside modern instruments such as guitar, bass and drums, Romano Drom ("Gypsy Road") exudes the soul and passion of the Roma people. They are one of Hungary's top Gypsy bands, and they sing in the original Olah Gypsy language. With profound emotion and energy, Romano Drom plays both centuries-old melodies and modern concoctions infused with Catalan rumba, Arab, Balkan and pop.


Saturday, March 15, 8:00pm
509 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn
$25 Public • $20 WMI Friends

Capturing the spirit of the outdoor parties that take place in Colombia, known ascumbiambas, La Cumbiamba Eneye puts a contemporary, cosmopolitan spin on several distinct South American traditions. Their dense percussive grooves, punctuated with brass accents, indigenous flute overtones, festive horn lines and gritty guitar riffs, incite listeners to join the fiesta.


Saturday, May 10, 8:00pm
509 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn
$25 Public • $20 WMI Friends

The Grammy-nominated La Clave Secreta (formerly known as La Timba Loca) is a 12-piece modern salsa fusion band that experiments with Cuban, classical, jazz, funk, and even flamenco. Led by the Venezuelan multi-instrumentalist Gonzalu Grau, who is equally known in classical and jazz circles, the group offers adventurous arrangements and a mix of cultures and flavors with a message for serious listeners and rabid dancers alike.


The informal and intimate Global Salon series-which takes place at the 168-seat Leonard Nemoy Thalia theater on the Upper West Side-presents an enticing format for delving into esoteric and ancient traditional music, the kind that won't be found in the mainstream. Now in its second year, the series continues to feature brilliant artists who not only perform, but also share with the audience cultural history and personal stories. Global Salon offers outstanding performances combined with a rare glimpse into the work and minds of modern practitioners of authentic traditional art forms.

(Top) Shafi Mondol / Julian Kytasky / Colleen Cleveland
(Bottom) Richard Hagopian / Nikolay Kolev


Saturday, November 2, 8:00pm
Thalia Theater at Symphony Space
2537 Broadway at 95th Street
$30 Public • $25 WMI Friends • $5 Bring a Kid!

Baul singers are mystic minstrels from Bengal-purveyors of an ecstatic musical tradition of wandering saint/singers, with roots in both Vaishnava Hinduism and Sufi Muslim poetry. Shafi Mondol is one of their leading practitioners, performers, and teachers. He received his training from Shadhon Mukherjee, and he specializes in the music of Lalon Phakir, a nineteenth-century Bengali Sufi saint and song-maker. Mondol tours internationally, and runs the Bhabnagor Shongeet Ashram (school), where many of his disciples are among the foremost singers of Bangladesh. His contribution has been pivotal in the continuation of the Baul tradition, listed by UNESCO as a "Masterpiece of the Oral Heritage of Humanity."


Wednesday, January 27, 7:30pm
Thalia Theater at Symphony Space
2537 Broadway at 95th Street
$30 Public • $25 WMI Friends • $5 Bring a Kid!
Co-presented with Center for Traditional Music and Dance

Murder, Betrayal, and the Supernatural - The Art of the Balladeer and Kobzari pays tribute to the oral tradition of songs passed down since the Middle Ages, from Ukraine's blind epic singers and from the Scotts Irish ballad tradition. This concert brings together two remarkable artists: Colleen Cleveland, a fifth generation traditional ballad singer from New York's north country; and Julian Kytasty, a third generation bandura player and singer. They will perform a repertoire rich in themes of love, religion, history, legends, tragedy, and humor, passed down through the centuries.


Sunday, April 13, 7:00pm
Thalia Theater at Symphony Space
2537 Broadway at 95th Street
$30 Public • $25 WMI Friends • $5 Bring a Kid!

For six decades, Armenian oudist Richard Hagopian has played an important role in preserving the music of Armenians from the Ottoman Empire-collecting tunes from his grandparents' generation, and passing on this legacy to his children, grandchildren, community, and greater public. Born in the Armenian enclave in Fresno, CA, he studied with masters from the old country, quickly learning hundreds of folk songs from Anatolia. He's been honored with a Meet the Composer Grant and a National Heritage Fellowship, recorded for Smithsonian Folkways and ARC Records, and taught master classes at prestigious universities. Here, he'll perform masterworks for the oud, including classical and folk, and will discuss his multifaceted career from performing in Hollywood to traditional Armenian dances (kefs).


Wednesday, May 7, 7:00pm
Thalia Theater at Symphony Space
2537 Broadway at 95th Street
$30 Public • $25 WMI Friends • $5 Bring a Kid!
Co-presented with Center for Traditional Music and Dance

A celebration of lyras and fiddles from Bulgaria, Crimea and Turkey, Strings of the Black Sea explores the musical connections between communities surrounding the Black Sea. A crossroads between Europe and Asia, the Black Sea (known by the Greeks as "Pontus," meaning "sea") has always been a center of mercantile and cultural exchange. The concert will showcase three notable musical traditions represented by four extraordinary musicians: Crimean Tatar violinist Nariman Asanov, with Patrick Farrell on accordion; Nikolay Kolev playing Bulgariangadulka (pear-shaped fiddle); and Christos Tiktapanidis playing Pontic Lyra (vertically held, bottle-shaped three-stringed rebec).


The World Music Institute has long been heralded for its spectacular flamenco presentations that showcase the form's essence and authenticity. Flamenco Gitano celebrates the Gypsy roots of flamenco with leading Gypsy artists direct from Spain.

Diego El Cigala / Farruquito


Thursday, February 20, 8:00pm
Town Hall
123 W 43rd Street
$45-$65 Public • $40-$60 WMI Friends • $250 VIP

With his slick appearance, husky voice, intense expression and explosive delivery, flamenco's superstar singer Diego El Cigala has been deemed "a conjurer of impulseness and abandon" (The New York Times). He returns to the World Music Institute in NYC to present his latest album, "Romance de la luna Tucumana," which continues his pioneering work in fusing flamenco with Latin American genres. The new songs combine El Cigala's favorite sounds-boleros, Cuban jazz, tango-and add a twist of southern twang courtesy of slide guitar of new collaborator Diego Garcia("El Twanguero"). He'll also be revisiting some hits from: "Cigala & Tango," "Dos Lágrima" and "Lágrimas Negras."


Saturday, June 21, 8:00pm
Sunday, June 22, 7:00pm
NYU Skirball Center
566 LaGuardia Pl. at Washington Sq. South
$55-$65 Public • $50-$60 WMI Friends • $150 VIP

From the legendary Los Farruco dynasty, the first family of Gypsy flamenco dance,Juan Manuel Fernandez Montoya, aka "Farruquito" is regarded as one of the most faithful representatives of flamenco puro. Son of the singer El Morenoand dancer La Farruca, he is the chief proponent of the unique dance style founded by his grandfather, El Farruco. Farruquito made his Broadway stage debut at age five, starred in Carlos Saura's film Flamenco at twelve, and was directing his own shows by fifteen. After years of successes-and some personal tragedies-he makes a triumphant return to NYC after more than a decade, and will present his new work, "Déjà vu."


Friday, April 4 - Saturday, April 5
Apollo Theater
253 W 125th Street

The World Music Institute is thrilled to present with the Apollo Theater the second edition of Africa Now - a weekend festival with a focus on today's African music scene, featuring artists who draw upon their roots for inspiration, and transplant them into the global music landscape. Music lovers can brace themselves for family shows, café performances, artist panel discussions, and blow-out concerts on the legendary mainstage of Harlem's Apollo Theater. Stay tuned to hear the thrilling line up.


Saturday, April 26, 8:00pm
Sunday, April 27, 7:00pm
NYU Skirball Center
566 LaGuardia Pl. at Washington Sq. South

The Dancing the Gods weekend festival highlighting classical Indian dance returns in 2014 after unforgettable performances by Shantala Shivalingappa andRama Vaidyanathan in 2011, and Nrityagram's Surupa Sen and Bijayini Satpathy in 2013. Audiences can expect spectacular shows, lec-dems, chat & chai artist receptions and more. Please visit this fall for the full schedule of artists and activities.

TICKETS: 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. Visit for more information.

ABOUT WMI: 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.

Pictured: Christine Salem / Jorge Drexler / Angélique Kidjo