GlobalFEST Brings International Grooves to Webster Hall

By DNAinfo Staff on January 13, 2013 2:52pm  | Updated on January 15, 2013 4:51pm

By William Farrington

Special to DNAinfo

NEW YORK CITY —  Music lovers, get ready to go around the world in a single day.

GlobalFEST 2013, an annual concert at Webster Hall marking its 10th year of transporting its audience from NYC to the furthest reaches of the globe, is bringing together 12 bands to perform on three stages Sunday at the East Village's Webster Hall.

From a Chicago marching band to a Native American DJ group, to Malian tunes, to a Zimbabwe-based jam, the performances are set to keep up the quality and diversity of years past, organizers said.

This year's show will feature a stronger womens' presence, two Native American groups, and a continued commitment to New York and North American artists, said Isabel Soffer, one of the producers.

The Ottawa-based DJ trio "A Tribe Called Red" uses indigenous traditions, pow wow chants and club mixes to create a modern sound.

“We fuse club music and Pow Wow, which is a still vibrant Native American dance music,  finding a way to diffuse the traditional knowledge into the Urban experience of today’s Native American youth,” said DJ Bear Witness, who performs with DJs NDN and DJ Shub.

The group performed a DJ set at Williamsburg’s Grasslands gallery recently but Sunday's show features live video, two singers Doxtator and her daughter Winter, all original material and live remixing.

Singer Martha Redbone's set was inspired by the imagery and the message of 18th century poet William Blake, who she said reminded her of the Appalachia of her youth. Redbone’s latest album “The Garden Of Love,” resonates with the sad melodies of her mountain roots.

Guitarist Stefane Wrembel, who hosts a his weekly residency at Brooklyn’s Barbes Sunday nights, offers an acoustic whirlwind of notes with an intensity and spontaneousness that crests and crashes like a wave breaking on shore before slowly retreating back to the sea. Wrembel’s musical journey began with classical lessons, later he learned from musicians in the gypsy camp in his native France, more recently his interest in American music has brought him to these shores.

His 5th album “Origins” was released in 2012.

Christine Salem and her quartet play maloya, a percussive music with call and response vocals from the Indian Ocean island of Réunion. Until recently the infectious rhythms of this rich musical tradition with African and Madagascan roots has existed in the shadows on the periphery of society and was even banned at one point. But Salem is a driving force in the revival of maloya, which has been associated with a movement for independence, and the GlobalFEST performance will be her NYC debut.

Zimbabwe’s Oliver Mtukudzi, now an icon in African music, got his start playing guitar in the revolutionary group called The Wagon Wheels with Thomas Mapfumo in the 1970’s. His music reflected the drive for independence against white rulers in Africa. Today his style is is called “Tuku music,” and Mtukudzi's latest album “Sarawoga” was released in 2012 — after a period of mourning over the loss of his son Sam in a car accident. 

Performers Kayhan Kalhor and Erdal Erzincan will bring together the Iranian and Persian musical traditions in a completely improvised performance. Kayhan plays Kamanche (Persian Spiked Fiddle) and Erdal plays baglama (Long necked lute) in a mix of common melodies shared by their two cultures. Kalhor, known as Iran’s foremost master of Persian music and Erdel, a master of the Turkish classical form, have been performing together for more than a decade.

France-based Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara returns following her NYC debut at Pace University in September, playing guitar backed by a bass, drums and percussion. She moved seamlessly from upbeat funky tunes and integrating didadi rhythms and wassalou vocal techniques from Mali into a pop format. Fatou’s music captures the beautiful and fragile culture of northern Mali amid a brutal civil war that is driving artists out of the region.

La Santa Cecilia, a Los Angeles sextet led by dynamic vocalist Marisol Hernandez, embraces a multicultural approach in their music. Marisol grew up learning to sing norteno, boleros and rancheras, and met Pepe Carlos, the group’s accordionist.

Steeped in the traditional, over the past five years their music has been winning over audiences in LA’s alternative scene and beyond. They received a Latin Grammy nomination for their Cumbia, “La Negra” and come to globalFest from a performance at the Kennedy Center.

Based in the Loire valley, Lo’Jo’s music has been called Gallic soul, but has eluded description with its meld of French and North African global rhythms that have been called “Funk, Gnawa, Electro, Tamashek, Créole, Romany, Maloya, Chanson, Baroque, Berber, Dub, Raga, Slam, Rock…any attempt to define and categorize the Lo’Jo sound quickly degenerates into a fool's errand”.  

“I come from a region where there is no specific musical culture, no folklore,” Lo’Jo frontman Denis Pean said in an interview, “So I make fire out of every kind of wood.” Pean is joined on vocals by two sisters Nadia and Yamina Nid El Mourid.

La Shica lead singer Elsa began her career as a flamenco dancer before starting the band. The music expands on the traditional music of Andalusia, creating a provacative new sound by interweaving Flamenco rhythms and handclaps, beautiful vocal harmonies, and guitar work from Vicente Minana with rock, rap and funk.

Lastly, New Orleans' own Stooges Brass Band, who put their unique stamp on the New Orleans tradition. Led by trombonist Walter Ramsey, they were Voted 2011's "Best Contemporary Brass Band" at the Big Easy Music Awards. When not leading second line parades, the Stooges blend their brass with contemporary beats and have collaborated with hip-hop, Cuban, Balkan, and South Asian artists.

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