Each January when I go to NYC for the annual Association of Performing Arts Professionals conference, one event always stands out for its vastness, variety and promise to surprise: globalFEST. With programming across three stages and four bands on each stage over the course of the evening, the result is an experience of no fewer than twelve music ensembles from around the world and seven hours of music. For that one night, it’s the hottest ticket in town.
Thinking back, the globalFEST experience is inconceivable right now: the crowds are always shoulder to shoulder, the staircases and hallways between stages heavily trafficked, the dancing full bodied and the enthusiasm palpable. During the January 2020 event, the excitement over a particular ensemble, San Salvador from France, had the top floor shaking.
From DakhaBrakha to Ranky Tanky to The Jones Family Singers and Red Baraat (to name a mere few), this is where I’ve first experienced many of these artists myself. The lively experience of globalFEST and enjoying these artists in a club setting where dancing is encouraged – as is singing and drinking along – is what moved Ovations into venues like Port City Music Hall.
Needless to say this year was a little different. I didn’t go to NYC in January and globalFEST was a digital event. What didn’t change, however, is the connection I felt to the music, the joy of discovering groups new to me and the delight in now sharing these artists with you. From a week of digital concerts, we selected this one in particular for our Ovations watch party because it does something Ovations has done for decades – connect our audiences with the familiar, in this case Marko Galanevych and our friends from DakhaBrakha (whom we presented live in 2016) while introducing new artists, sounds and traditions. And, staying true to one of Ovations’ newest traditions, tonight’s event includes a live virtual chat with one of the featured artists, guitarist/singer Nedjim Bouizzoul from Labess, joining us from France.
We’ve also added a twist by inviting these artists (as well as Germany’s Fauré Quartett later in April) to share recipes with us. Because – be it community suppers, cooking demos or international potlucks – what better way to exchange and experience culture than through the arts and food.
Aimée M. Petrin
Executive & Artistic Director
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