globalFEST, the leading showcase festival for world music in the United States will be presenting a showcase at South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas on March 16, 2012, at Speakeasy. The venue is located at 412 N. Congress Avenue.
The artist selection this year features New York and Boston-based acts, including Balkan Beat Box, Chicha Libre, Debo Band, Janka Nabay & The Bubu Gang, and M.A.K.U. Sound System.
“Through our first nine editions, globalFEST has established itself as the most influential international music event in the performing arts world,” explains festival co-organizer Bill Bragin (Acidophilus: Live and Active Cultures). “But many of the artists who perform are just as relevant, if not more so, to indie music clubs and festivals. By bringing a taste of globalFEST to SXSW with four alumni artists and one artist new to the family, our hope is to expand the touring options for some of the music’s most compelling live acts.”
The aspiration of expanding world music’s possibilities and audiences has been at the heart of the globalFEST festival’s mission since it was founded post-9/11, when dedicated global music presenters looked to restart the stalled inflow of international music at a crucial moment. globalFEST remains dedicated to supporting exchange—both cultural and economic—emphasizing artists of note from Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, and from Haiti since the earthquake that struck there in 2010.
2012’s festival continues with this first-ever SXSW showcase. It’s a logical extension of globalFEST’s emphasis on access—access to the U.S. market for innovative musicians, continued access to new global music for music fans through reasonable ticket prices—beyond good times in New York . “The lines are becoming more blurry all the time between so-called mainstream genres like pop and rock and new sounds from all over,” notes globalFEST co-organizer Shanta Thake (Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater). “Artists are being influenced by international sounds and the SXSW audience is increasingly seeking out new sounds.”
“globalFEST needs to constantly be aware of its mission,” continues co-organizer Isabel Soffer (Live Sounds). “We spotlight artists we believe presenters and promoters will want to book, will be successful in their venues and will bring new audiences. Our curatorial decisions are made with this in mind, and in this way, we feel we can encourage presenters to rethink artists that are on tour.”
Another way globalFEST has extended its mission is the inauguration of the globalFEST Touring Fund (gFTF). With support from the Ford Foundation, the gFTF provides artists who have performed at previous editions of globalFEST the ability to apply for tour support to offset tour expenses in order to help them to play new markets. In the first round of the gFTF, two grants were awarded: to French gypsy jazz band Samarabalouf (gF 2008) to support performances in Juneau, Alaska and other U.S. cities, and to New York ‘s Brooklyn Qawwali Party (gF 2009) to support performances in Schenectady and Hudson, New York.
“We hope that the globalFEST Touring Fund will enable some of the artists who showcase at our first gF@SXSW to play in some new markets, and possibly use the grants to enable them to play club dates and smaller festivals they wouldn’t be able to afford to play without this support,” says Thake. “We are excited about the possibilities that these new programs will widen globalFEST’s geographical and musical scope.”
Show: 8:00 pm Janka Nabay & The Bubu Gang (Sierra Leone/NYC)
Show: 9:00 pm M.A.K.U. SoundSystem
Show: 10:00 pm Chicha Libre
Show: 11:15 pm Debo Band
Show: 12:45 am Balkan Beat Box (BBB)
globalFEST at SXSW f r e e with badge or wristband, with limited tickets available at the door. Show starts at 8 PM.
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.