NPR
All Songs Considered

Our Top Discoveries From globalFEST 2017

509120055_1665723069.jpg

Clockwise from upper left: Ssing Ssing, Jojo Abot, Betsayda Y La Parranda El Cavo, Batida, Septeto Sentiguero
Kevin Yatarola, for NPR Music
Clockwise from upper left: Ssing Ssing, Jojo Abot, Betsayda Y La Parranda El Cavo, Batida, Septeto Sentiguero

Every January, we look forward to globalFEST, a one-night showcase of newly emerging and well-established artists from around the world. This annual event, held at Manhattan's Webster Hall, is where industry insiders and cool-hunters alike ferret out the next big global music acts on the touring circuit — the buzzed-about bands playing on this single winter night form the vanguard of what you're going to be watching at festivals and at venues across the country over the next couple of years.

This year's globalFEST roster tipped towards splashy and conceptual sets from artists like SsingSsing, who melds glam-rock aesthetics with Korean folk songs, and Jojo Abot, a singer from Ghana who channels Grace Jones. But there were also big dance bands, like Cuba's watertight Septeto Santiaguero, and the Orchestre Afrisa International, masters of the Congolese rumba. And "global music" doesn't just mean sounds from abroad: This year's lineup included several regional American artists and some hyphenate Americans, like the Sudanese-born singer (and Tiny Desk Concert alumna) Alsarah.

Support comes from

Joining All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen for this week's podcast are NPR Music's own Anastasia Tsioulcas, NPR contributor and Afropop Worldwide senior editor Banning Eyre and Rob Weisberg of WQXR, who also hosts WFMU's Transpacific Sound Paradise.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

You won’t find a paywall here. Come as often as you like — we’re not counting. You’ve found a like-minded tribe that cherishes what a free press stands for. If you can spend another couple of minutes making a pledge of as little as $5, you’ll feel like a superhero defending democracy for less than the cost of a month of Netflix.

More Stories

Discover Music
Discover Music