Posted on January 16, 2015
The news headlines weren’t always easy to read last week, between the mass shootings in Paris and the relentless violence in Nigeria. But over the weekend, in New York City, some of the most remarkable global music groups in the world converged for a moment of musical solidarity. They came from as far away as Senegal and as close as Texas for the annual globalFEST, one unforgettable night of rapturous dancing, musical meditation and kinship. As Leonard Bernstein once famously said, “This will be our reply to violence: To make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.”
All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen is joined by NPR Music’s Anastasia Tsioulcas, NPR contributor and Afropop.org senior editor Banning Eyre, and Rob Weisberg of WQXR (who also hosts WFMU’s Transpacific Sound Paradise) to revisit some of the highlights and favorite discoveries from this year’s globalFEST.
Listen to the program here.
Posted on January 16, 2015
The Colombian band Puerto Candelaria, from Medellín, poured on the party act more thickly. Its foundation is the Colombian cumbia, which it applied to both its own tunes — speedy chromatic zigzags — and to gimmicky imports like MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This.” It had dance routines and audience participation bits that were crowd pleasing but superficial.
Globalfest also included more earnest performers. Emel Mathlouthi, a songwriter from Tunisia, played moody rock songs with a band that included both electronics and a traditional drum. She dedicated “Libertá,” a song praising the power of pen and paper against dictatorship and narrow minds, to the Charlie Hebdo journalists murdered in Paris.
Read the entire article here.
Posted on January 10, 2015
For the last 12 years, globalFEST has served as the ultimate tip sheet for those far-flung acts most likely to become known here. The show doubles as a confab for arts professionals, who comb the venue’s three stages to pick acts to book for the coming year. The latest line-up spans Europe, the U.K., Africa, the Middle East, the Asian subcontinent and even America.
Here’s the lowdown:
Emel Mathlouthi: One of the prime protest singers of the Arab Spring, Emel Mathlouthi sings in a voice of haunted outrage. The singer was born in Tunis, Tunisia — ground zero for the movement. That’s where she wrote such rallying cries as “Ya Tounes Ya Meskina” (Poor Tunisia) and “Kelmti Horra” (My World Is Free). While taking Joan Baez as an influence and singing her songs, Mathlouthi’s sound also features North African strings and progressive synthesizers.
Puerto Candelaria: Medellin used to be the murder capital of the world. Now it’s gaining renown for something more positive: music drawn from the indigenous Andean culture. Puerto Candelaria melds those folk strains with the loping rhythms of the cumbia.
Posted on December 31, 2014
For over 30 years, Roger Steffens has earned a reputation as an authority on Bob Marley and the Wailers. The massive archive of Marley/reggae memorabilia at his Los Angeles home has attracted reggae’s elite and Hollywood A-listers like Leonardo DiCaprio.
But Steffens had a cache of slides close to his heart under lock-and-key for almost 50 years. With the help of his children, they have been digitised, posted on Instagram and become subject of feature stories in Time and New Yorker magazines, and on CNN.
Most of the photos were taken by Steffens, his first wife, and his friend, famed American war correspondent Tim Page. They cover Steffens’ service in the Vietnam War, his year-long stint in Morocco and his first visit to Jamaica in 1976.