January in New York City: globalFEST 2023 and more!
If you love live music, the second weekend in January in New York City is a feast for the eyes and ears. With the national arts presenters association, APAP, camped at the Midtown Hilton, music and dance acts of all genres pack the hotel and venues all over the city with showcases aimed at securing bookings. In the realm of global music, our beat, it's almost overwhelming.
Afropop Worldwide made the scene from Thursday, January 12, through the capping finale, globalFEST presented for the first time on three stages at Lincoln Center's David Geffen Hall on Sunday, January 15. We'll tell you the story mostly in images and videos we shot at five different venues. Grab a glass of wine and settle in for a spell. There's a lot to absorb here!
All photos and videos shot and edited by Banning Eyre.
Thursday, January 12 at SOB's: Afromondo Showcase
Not all the promoted acts appeared on this, the first of two Afromondo nights at this signature New York global music hot spot, but we got a full night of excellent music. Starting with Fanta Diabaté of Guinea, an artist new to us, and very impressive.
Alex Boicel, founder of Afromondo and the evening's MC
Cheikh Guisse, one half of Senegal's Les Frères Guissé
Cheikh was joined by New York kora maestro Yacouba Sissoko
Kizaba, maverick Congolese percussionist/bandleader based in Montreal
Sherlee Skai added jazz polish and superb vocal technique to roots music from her native Haiti.
...later on at DROM
Ousmane ag Mossi and Tamikrest were the surprise finish at the Unfit Music Showcase at DROM. Desert rock from Mali and France, worth staying up for!
Friday, January 13: Good Night Showcase at DROM
Night in Tunisia, appearing as part of the Habibi Festival
Maya Burns, an American singer/songwriter based in Mexico City was a surprise. Performing alone amid powerhouse bands, she more than held her own with soulful songs and astounding vocal technique.
Djeli Tapa, daughter of Malian griotte extraordinaire Kandia Kouyate, positively electrified with just three members of her Montreal-based band. The highlight of a great night from the Afropop perspective!
Mid-set, Afropop Worldwide’s Sean Barlow took the stage to dash the artist.
New York’s top Afro-Colombian band Grupo Rebolu put on a joyous set.
This was an extraordinary summit of Afro-Latin musicians gathered to mark the 75th anniversary of a historic concert that took place at the same venue, Town Hall. “Dizzy, Chano and Chico The Original Influencers, 75 Years Later” showcased Chico O’Farrill and The Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra with guests Pedrito Martinez, Daymé Arocena, Jon Faddis, Big Chief Donald Harrison and others. Afropop Worldwide is preparing a program with highlights from this historic concert and interviews with the key artists. Here are a few images, and a short clip of the concert's final moment!
Daymé Arocena and Melvis Santa
Only a Cuban can dance like this!
Earlier on Saturday, we spent an inspiring hour at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall for a kid-focused Musical Explorers concert, featuring Quiana Parler of the band Ranky Tanky, the hip-hop duo Soul Science, and Malian kora player Yacouba Sissoko. The guy gets around! Kids sang and danced and got a decidedly Afro-centric tour of contemporary music culture.
Yacouba Sissoko and Idrissa Sissoko
globalFEST 2023 at Lincoln Center
The evening began with an Afropop Worldwide pre-set reception featuring Afropop founder and CEO Sean Barlow and the one-and-only Georges Collinet, host of our program for 35 years and counting.
Sean Barlow, Georges Collinet and globalFEST co-founcer Bill Bragin
April Chapman, Felicia Appentang, Stephanie Appentang, Kofi Appentang
Sandra Bell, Philippe St Luce, Alex Boicel
And then it was showtime!
Lincoln Center's David Geffen Hall proved a grand upgrade from this event's longtime home at Webster Hall. Two years happened at the now-defunct B.B. King's and the Copacabana. Then there were two years of online productions during COVID. So this was a welcome return. The recently remodeled Wu Tsai Theater may have seemed a bit too grand for bands that could feel more at home in nightclubs, but the festival opener, The New York Arabic Orchestra filled the stage and did righteous justice to this majestic hall.
New York Arabic Orchestra
Conductor Layth Sidiq.
In the hall's lobby, the Legendary Ingramettes kicked off the night with a rousing and rowdy gospel set. Backed by a guitar-based combo, these three ladies delivered full force, in-your-face spiritual fire.
Next up, in the Promenade, a different variety of spiritual energy prevailed. Khadija el Warzazia’s Bnat el Houariyat from Marrakesh, Morocco, presented an entrancing set of "chaabi" and "houari" music, rarely heard on these shores, in the Promenade. Dancer Esraa Warda, an apprentice of Khadija’s, added a delightful element and insight into the music.
Maria José Llergo (Spain)
Guitarist Justin Adams' maverick career has recently focused on fusing his desert bluesy vibe with trance music from southern Italy in a thrilling collaboration with Mauro Durante.
It was a treat to see Dengue Fever back in action. This L.A. based band reworks vintage Cambodian pop full of sweetness, sass and heartbreak.
From Mali and France, Tamikrest blazed the Promenade with guitar-driven Tuareg rock.
Ousmane ag Mossa
From Colombia, Meridian Brothers and El Grupo Renacimiento pumped out a quirky blend of cumbia and electronica in the Wu Tsai Theater.
Moonlight Benjamin is a Toulouse-based Haitian singer/bandleader with a penchant for blues rock. We first met her at WOMEX 2018, and she's staying the course with her second album due out later in 2023.
Not the easiest venue to film in and you had to be into purple, but what a performance! .
Moonlight at our pre-show interview.
Mexico’s marimba-led, cumbia-punk band Son Rompe Pera closed out the night in the Promenade with a wild set that left the crowd buzzing.
The globalFEST team!
Georges Collinet and Afropop friends
Site of the after party...
Georges and Cooki Collinet at breakfast. See you next year...