The annual NYC festival globalFEST -- which brings all different kinds of music from all over the world to NYC every January -- is going virtual for 2021 and partnering with NPR's Tiny Desk to do so. It goes down January 11-14 on NPR Music's YouTube channel, and it'll be hosted by Angélique Kidjo, who played the very first globalFEST in 2004. Here's the confirmed list of artists, with bios via globalFEST's announcement:
Aditya Prakash Ensemble – CA, USA | India
Acclaimed for his powerful, emotive voice, Aditya Prakash is among the foremost virtuosos of South India's Carnatic tradition -- which he reimagines in a fresh, dynamic dialogue with jazz and hip hop, featuring his masterful and diverse L.A. ensemble.
Dedicated Men of Zion – NC, USA
The Dedicated Men of Zion came up out of the singing land of eastern North Carolina, around the city of Greenville and its small neighboring town of Farmville. Each trained in the church and the home, the group’s four vocalists – Anthony Daniels, Antwan Daniels, Dexter Weaver, and Marcus Sugg – share the bond of that upbringing and another more literal bond of kinship (they’re all family now through blood or marriage).
Edwin Perez – PA, USA
Composer and vocalist Edwin Perez specializes in socially conscious salsa dura. Growing up in Caguas, Puerto Rico, he moved to the Bronx, New York City at the age of 18 and began to sing with Cuban bands and small ensembles like that of Enrique Lopez. In 2004 Perez became a founding member, composer and lead singer of gF alums La Excelencia, where his vocals headlined three albums until they disbanded in 2012. In 2013, Edwin founded and produced his new salsa dura project Orquesta SCC. After touring 52 countries and gaining worldwide acclaim, Perez decided to release his first solo album La Voz del Pueblo under his own label in 2017. At the start of 2020, Perez released Street Corner Chronicles which has topped the Latin charts and has been nominated for multiple awards. Edwin Perez vocals have also been featured in the blockbuster film '16 Blocks', the hit TV show; 'So You Think You Can Dance', Paul Simon’s Broadway play; The Capeman, Zumba fitness exercise program, and back-up vocals for the salsa legend; Eddie Palmieri.
Elisapie – Nunavik | Montreal, Canada
Through myriad projects, director, composer, singer-songwriter and activist Elisapie has established herself as a true Inuit icon. She was first discovered in 2003 as the director of her documentary If the Weather Permits, a film which thrust viewers into her own origin story. The following year, she released her first album with the duo Taima, winning a Juno Award for Indigenous Music Album of the Year. She has since released three solo albums, There Will be Stars (2009) and Travelling Love (2013) and The Ballad of the Runaway Girl (2018). She was shortlisted at Polaris prize, won multiple awards and played the famous Tiny Desk sessions. Today, she is one of the main voices and advocates of the indigenous culture in Canada.
Hit La Rosa – Peru
Hit La Rosa delivers surf-punk transmissions from Lima of a phantasmagoric cumbia world, channeling Peruvian highlands’ rhythms (huayno) and Amazonian psychedelia. By turns precise and dreamy, Hit La Rosa is a Peruvian tropical music project which plumbs pop music, folklore, jazz, and dancehall to produce its distinctive grooves and hooks. Add to this a punk sensibility designed to, as lead singer and primary lyricist Chaska Paucar puts it, “bring healing to people,” by exploring, not shunning, life’s shadowy sides. Formed in 2013, they explore the journey of Peruvian cumbia, inspired by the sound of the first electric guitars that ventured into the iconic tradition.
Labess – Algeria | Canada
Discover the beauty and the richness of the music of LABESS band, which means “everything is fine” in Arabic. The group brilliantly fused gipsy rumba, flamenco and traditional North-Africa music rhythms such as gnawa and chaabi. By singing in Arabic, his mother language, in French or Spanish, Nedjim Bouizzoul tells with his expressive voice histories full of authenticity, mixing realism and hope, gentleness and fury. He sings about exile, telling us about the joys and the distress that punctuate the road from the native country to the welcoming country, and vice-versa. Through his poetry, he proposes a reflection (about) on cultural diversity and the necessity to be all united, no matter our differences.
Minyo Crusaders – Japan
Minyo Crusaders debut album “Echoes of Japan” marks the arrival of a big band like no other, where distinctive min’yō vocals glide over grooves that join the dots between cumbia, Ethiopian jazz, Thai pop, Afro-funk and reggae. Originally sung by Japanese fishermen, coal miners and sumo wrestlers hundreds of years ago, the crusaders are on a mission to make these folk songs popular again –this time for an international audience.
Natu Camara – Guinea | NY, USA
Hailing from Guinea, Natu Camara is one of its brightest musical stars and a committed activist for the empowerment and education of girls and women in west Africa. Along with her multinational band in NY, she brings a fresh new sound to us with Dimedi (which means Child in her native language, Sousous). In the early 2000s, Camara led West Africa’s first all-female hip-hop group, the Ideal Black Girls (IBG). Years after releasing Guinèya Moumonèra (It’s Not a Shame to Be a Woman) — a multi-platinum opus advocating for women’s rights — as a member of IBG, the dynamism of Camara’s musical evolution is revealed. Singing in five languages, Dimedi showcases Camara’s unique blend of afro-rock, pop, and soul that speaks to the range of heroes influencing her individual sound: Miriam Makeba, Nina Simone, Fela Kuti, Baaba Maal and Tina Turner.
As a builder of bridges socially and culturally, Camara's musical compositions are powerfully constructed to bridge the global gap and bring people together in a captivating blend weaving a beautiful tapestry of musical stories and visions of her beloved home. Natu’s foundation supports local organizations to mentor and empower young girls and support education as a tool to reduce poverty in Guinea. She finds a way to speak to the silent minority through her music.
Nora Brown – NY, USA
Nora Brown plays traditional Appalachian music. She started learning uke at age 6 from the late Shlomo Pestcoe. With a focus on old-time music Shlomo laid a foundation of love of music and the community it creates. He instilled in her the lesson that music is meant to be shared. Now 14 years old, Nora plays banjo and sings ballads - solo and with many of her mentors including her friend, fiddler Stephanie Coleman, as a duet under the name Little Leatherwood. Jalopy Records released Nora’s first album Cinnamon Tree produced by Alice Gerrard.
Rachele Andrioli – Italy
Rachele Andrioli measures herself with singing, spacing in between traditional music and the role of the chansonnier, from music rooted in Salento to world music, to jazz. She started off collaborating over several years with “Officina Zoè”, one of the first and somehow most radical expressions of music from Salento, Puglia in Southern Italy. Together with the band, she participated in important festivals inside and outside national borders. Her musical journey continues, ranging from Italy to India, Lebanon and the Americas. The artist features in several discographic productions. In her musical research, she never forgot her Latin soul, open to modern influences and mindful of her Mediterranean roots.
Sofia Rei – Argentina | NY, USA
Award-winning New York based Argentinian vocalist and songwriter Sofia Rei teams up with Guadeloupean producer JC Maillard fusing South American folk traditions with experimental pop and electronic music exploring the voice as an instrument of texture and expression with a groundbreaking vision.
Vox Sambou – Haiti | Canada
Vox Sambou comes from Limbe, Haiti. He writes and performs in Haitian-Creole, French, English, Spanish and Portuguese. A founding member of Montreal-based hip-hop collective, Nomadic Massive, he performed across North America and the world. His music is a fusion of traditional rhythms of Haiti and Afro-Latin elements on Afrobeat, reggae, and hip-hop. Vox Sambou is a committed musician who is not afraid to denounce injustice, social imbalances, and inequities. He is crucially involved in the achievement of educational and community projects based in Limbe, Haiti and is a founding member for a long-term solidarity between Montreal and movements fighting for social justice in Haiti, according to the principles of self-sufficiency, education, decentralization, and reforestation.
There are also four more globalFEST alumni performers TBA. Stay tuned.
Watch videos of some of the currently announced performers below...