Christine Salem Live From Webster Hall (full concert audio)
As the globalFEST evening wound down, much of the buzz about the biggest finds of the year centered on a seemingly unlikely figure: the vocalist Christine Salem, who made her New York City debut in this performance. Often, it's the artists who make 21st-century, Internet-ready musical hybrids that become the most talked-about GlobalFEST artists, but Salem presents the exact opposite model.
Do you think flamenco can only be danced by someone wearing a frilly, fire-engine-red dress? Elsa Rovayo, frontwoman of Madrid's La Shica ("The Girl"), begs to differ. She performed at New York City's globalFEST in stretch leggings and a studded jacket, singing and dancing to her signature blend of flamenco and indie rock in a combination of original compositions and traditional flamenco tunes.
Oliver Mtukudzi Live From Webster Hall (full concert audio)
GlobalFEST is a great place to discover young new talent, but occasionally the producers welcome familiar friends to their party. This year, it was Zimbabwe's Oliver "Tuku" Mtukudzi, who has been an African musical icon since the late 1970s and brought that sense of homecoming to GlobalFEST with his band The Black Spirits. With his sweet acoustic guitar and husky voice, Mtukudzi gave a lilting and gorgeous performance that evoked traditional Zimbabwean sounds like those of an mbira thumb piano, but filtered them through an accessible, guitar-centered aesthetic.
Originally published on Sat March 16, 2013 7:36 pm
One of the breakout stars from this year's edition of New York City's globalFEST, Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara had the Webster Hall crowd wrapped around her finger. Gifted with enormous stage presence and great looks, Diawara — who was a dancer and actor before she joined iconic Malian vocalist Oumou Sangare's band as a backup singer — put on a tightly choreographed set that screamed with energy and edged toward rock and funk.
Mucca Pazza Live From Webster Hall (full concert audio)
The circus came to GlobalFEST in the form of Chicago's Mucca Pazza, a group of 30 clowns who could barely be contained in the cavernous ballroom at New York City's Webster Hall. Wearing mismatched, thrift-shop marching-band getups and sporting a full range of brass, drums, violin, accordion and electric guitar — plus a gaggle of nerdy cheerleaders ("I Heart A Scientist," proclaimed one's T-shirt) — Mucca Pazza wreaks visual havoc onstage.
Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 11:54 am
When he was a boy, Andras Schiff labored over the tedious, repetitive finger studies that are universally loathed by aspiring pianists. He thought they were like spinach: yucky, but good for you if you want to grow up to be big and strong ... on the piano keyboard.
Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 3:09 pm
It never seemed to be in the same place twice. After stumbling on to it by accident during my undergrad days, I seemed to lose its location time and time again. But it was easy to lose, just a door on 19th Street (or was it 17th?) between 5th and 6th Avenue. The door led to a cramped hallway and locked stairwells. Then came an ancient, cranky elevator that took you up to the 3rd floor (or was it the 4th?) and spilled out onto an empty, poorly lit hallway. It always felt creepy, like I was there for a drug deal.
Originally published on Wed January 16, 2013 6:03 am
Tropic Death, the blunt, specific title for Eric Walrond's story collection, first published more than 85 years ago, couldn't be more apt. These 10 stories indeed have tropical settings — namely, British Guiana, Barbados and the Panama Canal Zone — and death is ever present, as palpable as the bludgeoning heat and suffocating racism that characterize many of these tales.
Originally published on Wed January 16, 2013 1:28 am
As someone who dines out a lot for work, I can tell you that barley doesn't appear on a whole lot of menus. And as a home cook, I can see how this grain maybe isn't perceived to be as sexy as farro, as healthy as quinoa or as versatile as oats.
But barley has a lot more going for it than being malted for beer or being dumped in a soup.