While winter has finally come to New York—vengefully, as if to make up for being so late—the cold weather can’t last forever. Someday the sun will be up for longer than 15 minutes, the leaves will return to the trees, and New Yorkers will emerge from their overpriced little apartments to celebrate in their collective front yard, Central Park. Flesh will be bared, frisbees will be tossed, and most importantly, there will be music overflowing from the SummerStage.
To whet our collective appetite, the City Parks Foundation is launching a monthly series of preview events. The showcases feature artists that may be booked at SummerStage in 2016, or who have played there in the past.
The first such showcase is Jan. 14 at the Highline Ballroom. It features some Afropop favorites and bodes very well for the upcoming year. Brian Shimkovitz of Awesome Tapes From Africa, a blog-turned-label that never ceases to amaze us, will be deejaying the event. If you have been looking for a chance to shake it to Atta Kak, the odds of doing so aren’t going to get any better than they will be here.
Young Paris, who, somewhat confusingly, was raised in New York as the son of world-renowed Congolese musicians, will deliver his music that straddles distinctions between hip-hop and EDM, with a healthy veneer of African samples. If you saw him at Afropunk last summer, you know how good life can be.
Monsieur Periné is a Colombian group whose music is rooted in the tradition of French chanson but still lets a distinctly South American quality bleed through. As this video of them playing ukuleles and guitar in a rowboat would lead you to believe, they’re utterly adorable.
And finally, Deva Mahal continues to be a force in the rootsier corners of blues and r&b, and on to Afro-futuristic soul music. It takes a lot of talent to emerge from the shadow of her father, Taj Mahal, and his considerable legacy, but Deva time and time again proves up to the challenge.
Tickets are available via Ticketweb. If you’re going, let us know; we’ll most likely be around.