SummerStage’s pandemic-forced pivot to all-digital content has already brought us intimate performances by Femi Kuti and Angelique Kidjo, and for the next month of Tuesdays, they’ve got stuff that falls squarely into Afropop’s wheelhouse.
This evening, Tues. July 21, will feature live-streamed DJ sets from Haitian-Brooklynite Michael Brun and the Portuguese producer Moullinex from Lisbon. Both Haiti and Lisbon are centers of so many great, diverse forms of Afro-diasporic music that I’m not even sure what to expect tonight—compas, kuduro, rara and sembe? It’s all on the table and it starts at 6 p.m. and can be watched on SummerStage’s YouTube or Twitch channel.
Next Tues., July 28, SummerStage curator Paula Abreu will be in conversation with her counterpart from the largest city in South America, Fabiana Batistela, who is the director and founder of SIM Sao Paulo, which books artists and festivals in Brazil. They’re both facing similar questions about what live arts and performances are going to look like in countries that have wavered in their commitment and ability to fight the ongoing pandemic and can be seen via Instagram and YouTube as well.
"As one of the few (maybe 'only') internationally-born curators of a quintessential New York festival, I'm proud to add a distinctive global lens to SummerStage's programming,” Abreu says via press release. “Before making NYC home, I lived in Africa and South America, which gave me an opportunity to have a unique perspective in music and culture.”
Things continue to simmer along in August. Emel Mathlouthi, the Tunisian singer/songwriter and producer who first gained international attention for a street performance during the Arab Spring, performs on Aug. 11 at 8 p.m. Aug. 18, DJ Medina of The Originals, who opened for Femi Kuti, performs and on Aug. 25, Diddi Emah leads an Afrobeat dance class.
“As we face a phase with great uncertainties about how it will affect the multicultural landscape of our city and country, SummerStage continues to have a leading role in sharing voices of diverse cultures and communities,” Abreu said.
Even though they made their mark putting on live outdoor concerts, SummerStage is nevertheless leaving its imprint on 2020.