globalFEST has announced the four 2019 winners. The awards honor four individuals for their exceptional, visionary, and inspiring contributions to the cultural landscape in the American performing arts field.
gF Artist Award Mighty Sparrow / Slinger Francisco
83 year-old Slinger Francisco, better known as Mighty Sparrow and affectionately dubbed The Birdie, is the incomparable Calypso King of the World.
With a career that spans over 60 years and counting The Sparrow is one of the most important living exponents of one of Caribbean music’s most important traditions, known for a combination of politics, daily life, humor, innuendo and dance music. Sparrow continues to translate his witty island authenticity to the world, in a one-man demonstration of the role that culture plays in uniting humankind.
gF Impact Award Leigh Ann Hahn
Leigh Ann Hahn, who started at Grand Performances in 1992, is an endlessly creative and innovative programmer. She is a leading figure in the world music performing arts field who has done a remarkable job producing free programs that pay homage to her beloved Los Angeles and its diverse communities with global breadth, depth and power.
Her programs are uniquely multidisciplinary and frequently shine a musical light on significant historical, political and social events.
Tamizdat, founded in 1998 by Matthew Covey and a group of musicians, has become a critical organization in the performing arts and cultural exchange fields. Tamizdat’s work facilitates cultural exchange by easing the burden of the visa process for artists entering the U.S through their programs TamizdatAVAIL, legal visa assistance, outreach, the Artist Mobility Forum, The White Paper Project and other activities.
Their mission is motivated by the conviction that the international mobility of culture is fundamental to a healthy and progressive global civil society and their work has enabled thousands of artists to perform on stages across the country.
gF Pioneer Award Lee Williams
Lee Williams has worked professionally as a venue booking agent, promoter, and non-profit arts leader since 1982, playing a defining role not only in the music culture and community identity of Bloomington, Indiana, but also as a champion of world music in North America.
A co-founder of the Lotus World Music & Arts Festival and founder of the non-profit Lotus Education and Arts Foundation, Lee served as Director of Lotus from 1995 to 2013 and as Artistic Director from 2014 through his retirement in 2017. He also co-led the creation of the Midwest Consortium, a professional and block-booking network for world-music presenters that now includes peers from across the US and Canada.