Returning for a third year after two consecutive sold-out concerts, globalFEST—New York’s world music extravaganza—announces the line-up for what has expanded to a two-night event. The festival takes place Saturday, January 21 and Sunday, January 22, 2006 at The Public Theater, with the same 13 acts performing each night.
The event is the creation of three of America’s premier world music concert presenters: Maure Aronson of World Music/CRASHarts (Boston), Bill Bragin of The Public Theater (NYC), and Isabel Soffer of World Music Institute (NYC). The three teamed up in the face of the post-9/11 economic and political climate which threatened to dampen U.S. touring of international acts. Two years of sold-out crowds demonstrated that the demand for global music has not abated.
“For the past two years, we had more demand than space at the festival,” explains Aronson. “And even those that did get in wanted to see more. So we are going to two days and expect that some people will come back the second night and catch what they may have missed.”
This year globalFEST features artists representing a wide diversity of cultures, traditions, and aesthetics: Anyone drawn to beautiful voices and passionate performance will want to hear Mauritania’s soulful Daby Toure, the pyrotechnic Judeo-Arab-Andalusian vocals of Emil Zrihan (Israel via Morocco), the extraordinary flamenco guitarist Juan Carmona, the sultry and enigmatic Paris/Nolita chanteuse Keren Ann, Cape Verde’s charismatic rising star Lura, or the artful boleros of France’s Las Ondas Marteles. Club enthusiasts may split up to take in Senegalese hip-hop crew Daara J, Brazil’s mangue-beat experimentalist DJ Dolores, or the Persian/Indian electronic synthesis of Los Angeles’ Niyaz. Other party-goers will find themselves dancing to the carnival madness of Frank London’s Klezmer Brass All Stars or Cajun masters Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys. Meanwhile boundary-crossers might try on the North African, jazz, and tap fusion of Roxane Butterfly’s Worldbeats, or the unclassifiable Russian art-rock innovators Auktyon. (Artist descriptions attached.)
The diverse tastes of audience members will be met with 45-minute sets performed on three stages at The Public Theater: Joe's Pub, the Anspacher Theater, and Martinson Hall. Concert-goers pay one price for an evening-long festival of contemporary and traditional music from around the globe, with discounted tickets available for audience members who purchase tickets for both nights.
“People who just want to see their artist for an entire evening are not the primary audience for globalFEST,” says co-founder Isabel Soffer. “It's for people who are very open-minded, and that's what we've geared it to.”
As in years past, globalFEST 2006 challenges audiences to re-think the parameters of world music. As the Village Voice’s Carol Cooper described the first year, “Few, if any, of these acts were obsessed with the ‘purity’ of their music. Authenticity and purity are not the same, and if festival participants chose to bend and blend genre categories, it was only after serious study of those root musics they hoped to update or alter. If anything, the participants in Manhattan's first globalFEST proved it's possible to respect the past without being forced to preserve it forever unchanged.” Isaac Guzman wrote in The Daily News, “Aside from the high quality of the artists, what's striking about globalFEST is that it does away with typical notions of what constitutes world music.”
Since its 2004 launch, globalFEST has served as a beacon for international musicians hoping to boost their presence in North America. The festival seeks to showcase artists for fans and impresarios alike. Scheduled to coincide with the annual Arts Presenters conference—a performing arts event where most North American performing arts centers and festivals book their coming seasons—globalFEST identifies artists on the cus