By William Farrington
Special to DNAinfo
MANHATTAN — Summer is fast approaching, and so is the lineup of sizzling music performances by a host of visiting international artists — giving New Yorkers plenty of reason to explore the city’s neighborhoods and discover new sounds.
On June 6th, St. Croix roots reggae outfit Midnite makes a rare appearance in Brooklyn, at a free show in Betsy Head Park in East New York. The show is the band’s first outdoor show in New York, and promises to be an epic event for the fans of this enigmatic group known for three-hour sets culled from 60 albums of material.
On June 9th, the supergroup AfroCubism, a collaboration between Cuban and Malian masters, performs a free concert at Brooklyn’s Prospect Park Bandshell as part of Celebrate Brooklyn. The group is the latest in a long line of musical collaborations between Cuban and West African musicians. AfroCubism is a blend of tone by Mande griots from rural Mali and the Cuban guajira songs. Featured artists include Toumani Diabate and Djelimady Tounkara, Cuban star Eliades Ochoa and Bassekou Kouyate.
June 14, the Northside Festival in Williamsburg kicks off an eight-night run showcasing “What's Next” in music, art and film. Hundreds of bands will perform in a handful of North Brooklyn venues. M.A.K.U. Soundsystem plays at the Public Assembly on the 14th, with psychedelic inspired guitar and keyboard riffs, horns that follow a melodic line over the folkloric rhythms of Colombia and dreamlike poetry in the lyrics alternating with chantlike choruses, could, perhaps, only come from a Jackson Heights-based band. Guitarist Camilo Rodriguez said, "We go into the studio June 10th to record a new album and probably will play one or two at the Northside gig."
June 15, Tinariwen, a group from southern Algeria, performs at Warsaw in Brooklyn. The band members hail from the Toareg tribe, nomadic traders and herders whose culture spans borders in the Sahara. The group performs in long flowing robes, some with faces veiled, and often start a song with a clapping rhythm, hands raised over head. Andy Morgan, their former manager, offers this description of listening to the music: “When Tinariwen launch into one of their songs on one of their good nights … I’m immediately transported to the place they come from... The perpetual polyrhythms put wanderlust back into my heart and my feet.”
June 16, Tiken Jah Fakoly, an African Reggae artist from Cote d'Ivoire, will make his first appearance at Harlem's Apollo Theater. Fakoly has been hailed for his strong lyrical message against government corruption. His last album "Revolution" was released months before the Tunisian uprising.
June 24th, the 12th annual Kreyolfest returns to Wingate Park. The free, family friendly event celebrates the music and culture of Haiti. “Kreyolfest is the biggest Haitian organized event, it links various parts of Haitian culture and is a good time,” Promoter Garry Pierre-Pierre said. The concert includes 11 bands that span the spectrum of popular Haitian sounds, from veteran band Tabou Combo, thought to be the greatest Kompa band of its era, to Carimi, one of the biggest contemporary stars of the genre. Zing Experience, led by Paul Beaubrun, brings Rasin/Roots music into a rock format, with hip hop and caribbean rhythms. Some of the other highlights include performances by System Band, Vwazedil, and Master Son.
June 26 at 7 p.m., three nights of Latin music in Soundview park in the Bronx kick off with Cano "El Cano" Estremera. "El Cano" is a veteran Puerto Rican Salsa singer, known for his hit "El Toro."
June 27 at 7 p.m., a trio of local artists well known in Latin danceclubs, Safire, Lisette Melendez and DJ Lucho perform. Thursday, June 28th, Felix Hernandez's Rhythm Revue spotlights the artists who put salsa on the global map — from Hector Lavoe to Willie Colón, Ruben Blades, and Ray Baretto.