Monday, January 11, 2010

A World of Music

(Burkina Fasa's Alif Naaba making their American debut.)

Last night Bernie, Laura and I met up with John over at Webster Hall and took a tour of the world.

With fours stages of music, 13 or so different acts and five hours of celebration potent enough to pull anyone out of a winter funk, Globalfest was back in town. Every year, New Yorkers reap the benefits of hosting the Association of Performing Arts Presenters Conference, for APAP brings a crew from across the country to New York for an extended booking binge and a host of talent eager to jump into the marketplace and bringing their best. It's a win-win for everyone and a chance to see music experimentation and traditions one might otherwise miss.

It's also about as cool a music experience as one is likely to find.

(above and below: François Ladrezo & Alka Omeka from Guadlepoupe)

The atmosphere is congenial and festive and most rooms feature folks packed in like dancing sardines. My favorite band--or at least the band that surprised me the most by combining styles I never imagined I'd hear together--was Namgar, a band I didn't get to draw. Namgar is from Russia and combines Mongolian folk singing with a sound you wouldn't be surprised to hear emerging from Iron Maiden's amps. Namgar was lush, epic, gorgeous and completely unexpected, which is exacly the sort of thing I have come to expect from Global Fest.

(Caravan Palace from France, making their American debut. They're like a cross between French swing and a disco apocalypse.)

(La Cumbiamba eNeYé from Colombia and the United States)

At the end of the night, I was left with a vision of a smaller world with infinite possibilities, I was wearing a big smile, and I had music in my head that I couldn't even imagine a few hours before.

I had, in short, been to another Globalfest.


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