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Sunday, January 4, 2004 Gotta have more of that "world music" stuff...

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Often in the pages I refer readers to what might be called World Music: Electronic Trance Tango, the late Elis Regina from Brazil, Vietnamese club music from Paris (Arôme: Barbara Bui Café) and lots of other items.  See the Archives for that, of course.


I like such stuff. 


I came across this in the New York Times:

The Goal: To 'Open the Ears and Eyes of the Gatekeepers'

Guy Garcia, January 4, 2004


Garcia writes about Bill Bragin, the music director of Joe's Pub at the Public Theater and what's up there - a Brooklyn-based samba group, Ginga Pura.  And "Mahogany," a musical theater piece by the African-American singer and writer Michael Benjamin Washington that featured music by Billie Holiday, Whitney Houston and Eartha Kitt.  And the Brazilian electro-bossa nova singer Fernanda Porto.  My kind of place.

And on Saturday there was Globalfest, an international music showcase at the Public Theater featuring sixteen world music performers.


Bill Bragin: "Audiences are much more adventurous than a lot of people give them credit for.  People are listening to music from all over the world: from American pop, funk and techno to Asian and European hybrids of the same.  This has been happening for 50 years, but lately it has accelerated."


And what does Bill Bragin do in his spare time?


When not cultivating world artists at Joe's Pub, Mr. Bragin can often be found bent over a CD turntable, cuing up techno-samba-break beat mixes for multiethnic hipsters at NuBlu, an East Village club where he moonlights as part of Globesonic, a New York-based D.J. collective.  Along with his partners, Fabian Alsutany (a k a Sultan 32), who founded Globesonic in 2000, and Derek Beres, the managing editor of Global Rhythm magazine, Mr. Bragin is part of a loose but ardent coalition of D.J.'s, musicians and industry executives dedicated to the promotion of international folk and electronic fusion styles.  Their genre-jumping tastes range from the gospel-country-blues outfit the Blind Boys of Alabama to the electro-Indian "nu jazz" of the avant-garde composer Robert Miles and the South Asian percussionist Trilok Gurtu.


... For Mr. Bragin, world music has a significance that goes far beyond catering to demographic trends.  He cites the Qawwali, or Sufi trance music, made popular by the Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn, as an example of music's transformative power. "There's a sensitizing that happens even if you don't understand the words," he said. "As it is with American gospel music, a lot of world music transcends the linguistic."  


Cool.  I'd like to meet this man.  And hear this stuff.  A trip to NYC might be in order.