Courtesy of NPR

On this week’s radio program, I’ll feature a set of music that includes three artists who will be performing at this year’s all-online globalFEST: Aditya Prakash Ensemble, Natu Camara, and Vox Sambou. As their website states, “Facing dual challenges of the pandemic, along with hardening of international borders, globalFEST will, for the first time, team with NPR Music’s Tiny Desk concerts to present exclusive video performances by 16 artists via NPR Music’s digital platforms, in a series entitled NPR Music’s Tiny Desk meets globalFEST.”

All of the performances will be presented through NPR Music’s YouTube page – with the premiere taking place on Monday, January 11 at 8 pm (EST U.S.) The series will continue at the same time each night through January 14. Here is the complete lineup:

Courtesy of globalFEST

I’ve never been to globalFEST myself and would love to experience it live some day. It always features a wonderful variety of international artists, many that are new to my ears. I’m glad that fans around the world will have the opportunity to hear and see these artists in performance this year. One the band’s that I’ve played on the show before that I’m most excited to see is Minyo Crusaders – the wild folk-song fusionists from Japan. The whole festival should be highly entertaining!

As the NPR Music press release says, “Over the last two decades, globalFEST has become one of the most dynamic global music platforms in North America, growing from an acclaimed festival/showcase into a catalytic non-profit service organization for curators, artists, and the performing arts field.” You can read the full press release which includes short bios of each performer here: globalFEST Announces 2021 Edition in Collaboration with NPR Music’s Tiny Desk

Here’s a taste of what you might hear from one of the four performers that have played globalFEST in the past, Ukrainian group Dakha Brakha. This is their Tiny Desk performance from 2015.

Courtesy of NPR

The first set of the program that will air this weekend is inspired by Bob Boilen and NPR’s All Songs Considered in honor of the 20th anniversary of this “music show for your computer.” I’ve discovered a wide variety of fantastic music through All Songs Considered over the years, and I’ve always loved how they feature many artists and musical styles from around the world. In fact, the very first piece that Bob played on the show back in January of 2000 was a beautiful tune by renowned multi-instrumentalist and composer Gustavo Santaolalla, from Argentina. You’ll hear that tune and a Scottish Gaelic song by Mouth Music that was featured on one of the early episodes of All Songs Considered.  (I just happen – not surprisingly?! – to have both of these albums in my CD collection.) In addition to those, I’ll also play music from Korean traditional group Ak Dan Gwang Chil. I just heard them for the first time on one of the most recent All Songs Considered shows covering discoveries at this year’s globalFEST in New York City.

You can listen to Bob Boilen and his co-host Robin Hilton reminisce about the beginnings of ASC on this fun episode of the show that came out on January 7, 2020: What ‘All Songs Considered’ Sounded Like 20 Years Ago. And I’m really pleased to know that when Spokane Public Radio recently picked up The Rhythm Atlas for their Saturday night line up, they also added All Songs Considered and NPR’s Alt.Latino in the time slots right before it. How cool is that?!

I just want to say thanks to Bob Boilen, Robin Hilton, and all the other regular guests, hosts, and staffers who make All Songs Considered – and now the whole, expansive NPR Music hub – such a wonderful place to discover and explore music of all kinds. Here’s to 20 more years!

I hadn’t heard of the New York City-based Latin boogaloo revival band Spanglish Fly until I came across their recent Tiny Desk Concert on the NPR Music website last week. I am so glad to have seen that! So glad, in fact, that I’ll be playing one of their songs on The Rhythm Atlas program that will air this weekend. (Go to the Listen menu above to find out how you can hear the radio show.)

As their website says, “Spanglish Fly is part band, part celebration: 12 musicians igniting a party that quickly spreads to the audience. Boogaloo! That mix of Latin and soul/R&B that emerged from the clubs, the street corners, the transistor radios and the pool halls of 1960s Spanish Harlem, “El Barrio.” Inspired by Latin boogaloo, or bugalú, Spanglish Fly plays irresistible grooves that blend Afro-Caribbean rhythms with the fervor, the feeling, and the harmonics of 60s soul.”

I also love what Felix Contreras, host of NPR Music’s Alt.Latino program, had to say about the band on the Tiny Desk concert page: “When the crew that is Spanglish Fly pulled in behind the Tiny Desk, the group’s vibrant version of boogaloo raised the temperature in the NPR Music offices quite a bit. Whether displaying their party spirit or even the slow burn of social consciousness on the song “Los Niños En La Frontera [The Children at the Border],” this band plays from the heart and engages both the mind and body.”

You can watch their performance here to get yourself boogalooing! And tune in to The Rhythm Atlas this weekend to hear Spanglish Fly and more fantastic music from all over the globe.