January 17th, 2013
Episode 434 of 768 episodes
Every January for the past decade a dozen or more bands from around the world have gathered in New York City for globalFEST - one long, frenzied night of live music showcasing the diverse cultures, histories and numerous sonic branches of "World Music." This year's lineup included Zimbabwe legend Oliver Mtukudzi and his band The Black Spirits, Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara, Chicago's wildly exuberant marching band Mucca Pazza, and much, much more. For this week's edition of All Songs Considered, NPR Music's Anastasia Tsioulcas, NPR contributor and Afropop.org senior editor Banning Eyre, and Rob Weisberg of WNYC (who also hosts WFMU'sTranspacific Sound Paradise) join Bob Boilen to revisit some of the highlights and favorite discoveries from this year's globalFEST. Oliver Mtukudzi and The Black Spirits GlobalFEST is generally a place to discover young new talent, but occasionally the producers welcome familiar friends to their party. This year, it was Zimbabwe's Oliver "Tuku" Mtukudzi, who has been an African musical icon since the late 1970s, who brought that sense of homecoming to GlobalFEST with his band, the Black Spirits. Kayhan Kalhor And Erdal Erzincan The soulful Persian classical virtuoso and composer Kayhan Kalhor has long been interested in creating artistic bridges to other musicians and styles. At this year's edition of globalFEST, he revived a partnership that initially began about a decade ago with a Turkish master artist, the baglama player Erdal Erzincan. La Santa Cecilia Based in Los Angeles and fronted by the smoky-voiced Marisol Hernandez, this fast-rising band splices and dices an array of Mexican and South American sounds in their songs, from Mexican norteño and ranchera to Colombian cumbia. Christine Salem As the globalFEST evening wound down, much of the buzz about who was the biggest find of the year centered around a seemingly unlikely figure: the vocalist Christine Salem, who made her New York City debut in this performance. Fatoumata Diawara Undoubtedly one of the breakout stars of this year's edition of globalFEST, the Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara had the crowd wrapped around her finger. Gifted with enormous stage presence and great looks, Diawara put on a tightly choreographed set that screamed with energy and edged towards rock and funk. Mucca Pazza The circus came to globalFEST in the form of Chicago's Mucca Pazza, a group of 30 clowns who could barely be contained in the cavernous ballroom at Webster Hall. They wore mismatched, thrift-shop marching band getups and sported a full range of brass, drums, violin, accordion and electric guitar — plus a gaggle of nerdy cheerleaders. A Tribe Called Red The night ended with bumping beats down at Webster Hall's Studio space with the Ottowa-based Native collective called A Tribe Called Red. They call their style "pow wow step": an imaginative and dance floor-ready blend of beats, aboriginal singing and dancing, and visuals and audio samples that turn "Indian" stereotypes on their heads.