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globalFEST 2017 lineup (Jojo Abot, Maarja Nuut, Rare Essence, Septeto Santiaguero, more)

Jojo Abot
Jojo Abot (photo by Sarah Waiswa)

NYC’s annual world music festival globalFEST returns in 2017 on January 8 at Webster Hall and, as always, it brings together various types of music from all over the world. There are veterans and newcomers, and one artist making their US debut.

One particularly interesting artist is NYC-via-Ghana singer Jojo Abot, who’s currently opening for Lauryn Hill on tour, including the big Radio City show she played this past Thursday (10/13). She calls her sound AFRO-HYPNO-SONIC on Soundcloud and namedrops influences as disparate as Lana Del Rey and Fela Kuti. The result is a sort of psychedelic neo-soul with a clear African influence. Check out three songs right below. Much sooner than globalFEST, Jojo Abot plays a SummerStage-presented NYC show on November 12 at Joe’s Pub (tickets).

Another artist worth checking out, if you haven’t already, is Maarja Nuut (whose last NYC appearance was at Joe’s Pub earlier this month). She’s a dreamy folk singer from Estonia who sings and plays violin, and even if you can’t understand the words she’s singing, the sounds should appeal to anyone who likes contemporary folk with an experimental edge. (If you’re into Joanna Newsom or Julia Holter, maybe check this out.) Her second solo album, Une Meeles, came out earlier this year and here’s a stream of it:

The lineup also includes L’Orchestre Afrisa International et M’bilia Bel, one of the varations of Tabu Ley Rochereau’s veteran group Orchestre Afrisa L’International, who formed in 1965. There’s also DC hip hop/go-go vets Rare Essence, who were known for ’90s singles “Work the Walls” and “Lock It” and recently released Turn It Up, their first album in 15 years. Check out the video for the title track off the new LP, and those two older singles:

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There’s saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, who blurs the lines between jazz and Indian classical music. He’s done several collaborations with Vijay Iyer, and played NYC’s Winter Jazz Fest and SummerStage in 2015. You can get a taste of his music by listening to his entire 2009 Newport Jazz Festival set (including a jazz-sax take on a Ravi Shankar tune) over at NPR.

Cuban group Septeto Santiaguero (who were nominated for the Tropical Latin Album Grammy earlier this year and won a Latin Grammy in 2015) made their US debut this past summer at Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing, and they’ll return to NYC for globalFEST.

Here’s the full initial lineup, and there’s one more TBA:

Batida (Portugal/Angola): Booming electronic kudoro dance party
Betsayda Machado y La Parranda El Clavo (Venezuela): Powerhouse Afro-Venezuelan vocalist (US Debut)
Jojo Abot (Ghana/Denmark/USA): Globetrotting experimental Afropolitan pop-soul
L’Orchestre Afrisa International et M’bilia Bel (DRC/USA): Tabu Ley Rochereau’s Congolese rumba legends return
Maarja Nuut (Estonia): Digital Estonian folk soundscapes
Ranky Tanky (USA): Funky Gullah songs of the South Carolina Sea Islands
Rare Essence (USA): DC’s pioneering polyrhythmic Go-Go superstars
Rascasuelos (Argentina): Vanguard tango music and dance reimagined
Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition (USA): Deeply rooted Indo-jazz
Septeto Santiaguero (Cuba): Adventurous Grammy-winning son cubano stars
SsingSsing (Korea) Extravagant glam rock meets shamanistic Pansori ritual

Tickets for globalFEST are on sale now via an IndieGoGo Campaign.

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