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.
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GlobalFEST showcases a fusion of international traditions, modern instrumentation and high energy performances. The Canadian, Polaris Prize-nominated electronic trio A Tribe Called Red showcased a mixture of pop music samples and traditional Indian ceremonial songs. Their set came to a close with a "Mother Earth" figure twirling eight hoops harmoniously to the beat.
Mucca Pazza, a marching band with a punch of circus punk hailing from Chicago, attacked the stage with their bright uniforms and an accompanying set of cheerleaders. The headlining band's sound and size (they are composed of thirty members!) could barely be contained by the Ballroom stage.
While Mucca Pazza are an American band, their sound is a madcap journey across the globe. The group's setlist was as colorful as its uniforms, varying from traditional Balkan Brass selections to covers of television show theme songs.
Flamenco fusion filled the night in Webster Hall's Marlin Room. La Shica brought traditional flamenco dance to the stage, along with bursts of rock and hip-hop in her smooth vocals.
The Martha Redbone Roots Project brought a unique and romantic spin on traditional roots music. Her songs' lyrics are comprised of poems from the poet William Blake.
Since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, globalFEST has continued to feature artists from the Gulf Coast region. This year, The Stooges Brass Band represented the city of New Orleans with the group's second-line-meets-hip-hop sound.
GlobalFEST concertgoers get rare glimpses into musical styles that are otherwise almost impossible to see live. Christine Salem, who hails from the tiny French island of Réunion, made her New York City debut this year at the festival. Her performance showcased the traditonal style of maloya.
The Los Angeles-based trio La Santa Cecilia showed off its soulful mix of Mexican and South American-influenced dance pop to the globalFEST crowds. The band also did its own take of U2's hit song "One."
Lo'Jo, comprised of keyboardist-singer Denis Péan and violinist Richard Bourreau, performed tracks filled with both North African and French folk influences. The combination of pounding keyboards and sleek violin created a rich and unique sound that filled the Marlin Room stage.
GlobalFEST not only showcases new international artists, but also brings back to the forefront well known talents. Oliver "Tuku" Mtukudzi, an icon for nearly 40 years, delivered a beautiful and memorable look into the traditional Zimbabwean sound.
Oliver Mtukudzi's sound of Afro-pop is well known as "Tuku music." He's released more than 60 albums. He was accompanied at his performance this year by his band, The Black Spirits.
Acclaimed French-born guitarist and composer Stephane Wrembel has appeared on the soundtracks of Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Midnight In Paris. He dazzled the globalFEST crowds with his "Gypsy Jazz" guitar rhythms.
Persian virtuoso Kayhan Kalhor and Turkish master artist Erdal Erzincan teamed up for a beautiful performance on the Marlin Room stage. While it wasn't the first time they played together, their unique melding of talents led to a mesmerizing performance filled with flowing improvisations.
Oliver Mtukudzi performs during GlobalFest at New York City's Webster Hall on January 13th, 2013.
Kayhan Kalhaor and Erdal Erzincan perform during GlobalFest at New York City's Webster Hall on January 13th, 2013.
La Santa Cecilia performs during GlobalFest at New York City's Webster Hall on January 13th, 2013.
Christine Salem performs during GlobalFest at New York City's Webster Hall on January 13th, 2013.
Fatoumata Diwara performs during GlobalFest at New York City's Webster Hall on January 13th, 2013.
Mucca Pazza performs during GlobalFest at New York City's Webster Hall on January 13th, 2013.
A Tribe Called Red performs during GlobalFest at New York City's Webster Hall on January 13th, 2013.
Kayhan Kalhor showed off his talents with his kemancheh, a traditional Persian bowed string instrument. Along with his collaboration with Erdal Erzincan, he has also collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Project Ensemble and the Kronos Quartet.
Erdal Erzincan performed with a bağlama, which is a Turkish stringed instrument, similar to a guitar. This was both Kalhor and Erzincan's first performances at globalFEST.