Now in its 11th year, the globalFEST world music festival was originally created as a cultural response to 9/11.
Its mission is to bring down boundaries between countries and pave the way for artists, governments and scholars from around the world to collaborate with one another.
This year’s festival features 12 artists on three stages, encompassing African blues, the music of India’s Bollywood, American gospel and more. It includes two artists that have never played NYC before and one making its U.S. debut.
amNewYork spoke with festival co-producer Isabel Soffer.
What is your goal for the festival?
Our goal is to push great global music by choosing artists that we believe will be successful on stages and festivals throughout North America. … Ultimately we envision more international music programming in more cities more often.
What is the biggest misperception about world music?
Some presenters worry that audiences won’t come to see world music or won’t be interested in or get world music. We’ve shown that artists from all over the globe, playing music ranging from traditional to fusions with cutting edge dance music, can connect to audiences of all types. There’s a special joy in seeing audiences’ minds blown as they discover musical revelations throughout the night.
Is it important to you to find bands that people have never seen before?
Each year we have at least one debut and we try to have groups at different stages of their careers and with varying touring histories in the U.S. Some artists are fairly well known in performing arts center circles, but haven’t made it to the festival circuit or vice versa.
These days, people can find just about anything online. How has that changed the festival?
It allows us to easily give people a taste of what they will experience at globalFEST. But there is nothing that will ever change a real live music experience being with a crowd of people having a great time and discovering revelations.