globalFEST 2017 offered its trademark panoply of eclectic and highly entertaining sound and spectacle: 12 acts on three stages in New York City’s Webster Hall over the course of five hours on Sun., Jan. 8. The time flies by. This year offered full-throttle Cuban son from Septeto Santiaguero; a historic reunion of the late Congolese legend Tabu Ley Rochereau’s band L’Orchestre Afrisa International; giddy Moroccan-roll from Hoba Hoba Spirit; stylized and visually bracing genre-bending sets from Ghana/Brooklyn (Jojo Abot) and Korea (SsingSsing). There was also roots music from the Georgia Sea Islands (Ranky Tanky) and, in a U.S. debut, Venezuela (Betsayda Machado y la Parranda el Clavo) as well as roots fusion from Sudan by way of New York from Alsarah and the Nubatones.
Maarja Nuut of Estonia spun out hypnotic cycles on violin, backed by electronics, and saxophone maestro Redresh Mahanthapa put a South Asian spin on jazz with the Indo-Pak Coalition. From Washington, DC, Rare Essence kicked out a fabulous, rousing set of go go music near the end of the night, and one-of-a-kind Angolan DJ and performance artist Batida riffed over idiosyncratic remixes and historic video clips, interspersing highly danceable music with eccentric and provocative stage patter to end the festivities.
For more on what I and the NPR globalFEST crew made of the night, check out the “All Songs Considered” podcast on the event. Below find a gallery of shots from Afropop’s Sebastian Bouknight.