By Bob Boilen
Premiering tonight at 8 p.m. ET.
For the second consecutive year, NPR teams up with globalFEST for a thrilling online music festival we call Tiny Desk Meets globalFEST: three nights, nine bands, and a world of musical traditions beamed into your living room.
Every January, I attend globalFEST at a New York City nightclub and see some of the most fantastic music I’ll experience all year. Not being able to do this live and in person again is a challenge, but it’s also an opportunity: Leaving the nightclub for the desktop lets us share this festival with the world. And … IT’S FREE!
For each of the three nights, Tiny Desk Meets globalFEST will present artists in intimate settings (often behind their own globe-topped tiny desks), some of whom are making their globalFEST debuts, while a few others are notable past performers.
It’s all hosted by African pop star and four-time Grammy Award winner Angélique Kidjo. She is one of the greatest artists in international music today, a creative force with 13 albums to her name. She also performed at the inaugural edition of globalFEST in 2004.
Tiny Desk has been working from home since March 2020, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. We’ve tried to maintain the same spirit as the shows at my NPR desk — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just in a different space. The following biographical information about each performer was written by the globalFEST team.
Born from the rich musical and historical heritage of San Basilio de Palenque, Colombia (the first free Black town in the Americas), Kombilesa Mí fuses the traditional sounds of the community with urban pop. The band’s members experiment with the instruments created by their ancestors (and introduced to them when they were young) by layering them between new sounds.
Over traditional percussion, metal handmade drums of their own design, and marímbula, Kombilesa Mí rhymes and raps in Spanish and the traditional Palenquero language, a fusion of African Bantu, Portuguese, French and English. During the performance, you’ll hear them call their music “RFP,” which means Rap Folklórico Palenquero, a combo of cumbia, son de negro, mapalé and son palenquero.
- “I tando pa palenge”
- “I a piyá bó”
- “Kumo kusa tá”
- “Los peinados”
- “Asina gue”
- “Ma Nduse”
- “Ata uto begá”
Northern Cree is a powwow and round dance act, based in Maskwacis, Alberta, Canada. Formed in 1982 by the Wood brothers – Steve, Randy, Charlie and Earl Wood of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation – most members originate from the Treaty 6 and are members of the Cree Nation. This year marks Northern Cree’s 40th birthday as a group.
Northern Cree has recorded 50 albums and been nominated for a GRAMMY nine times. They made history in 2017 when they became the first powwow group to perform at the Grammy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles. They recorded this performance at the powwow arbor of the Tsuut’ina Nation.
- “The Dream”
- “Storytelling Warrior”
Born and raised in the deep outskirts of Mexico City, the three Gama brothers are keeping alive the rich legacy of marimba music running through their family. Originally performing alongside their father at local events as kids, they now find themselves at the forefront of the contemporary international cumbia scene with their sonic explorations of the classic marimba.
From the Salón Los Ángeles in Mexico City, this quintet urges listeners to their feet with their unique style of garage-marimba-cumbia rock, played on the historic marimba like no one has ever heard or seen before.
- “La Tortuga del Arenal”
- “Cumbia Pa’ Tu Madre”
- “Ay David!”
- “Los Chucos Suaves”
Tiny Desk Meets globalFEST
TINY DESK TEAM
Producer: Bob Boilen
Video Producer: Maia Stern
Audio Mixing: Josh Rogosin
Tiny Production Team: Bobby Carter, Kara Frame, Joshua Bryant, Sofie Hernandez-Simeonidis
Executive Producer: Keith Jenkins
Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann
GLOBALFEST ARTISTIC TEAM
Co-Directors: Shanta Thake, Isabel Soffer, Bill Bragin
2022 Curators: Shanta Thake, Isabel Soffer, Bill Bragin, Gabrielle Davenport
GLOBALFEST PRODUCTION TEAM
Event Producer: Ian Thake
Producer: THE OFFICE performing arts + film
Video Producer: Karim Tabbaa
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
National Endowment for the ArtsNYC Department of Cultural Affairs
NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment
Social Media Manager: Valerie French
Publicity: Yuri Kwon, Pitch Perfect PR
Legal Services: Tamizdat
Legal Services: Duane Morris
THE OFFICE performing arts + film consists of Rachel Chanoff, Laurie Cearley, Olli Chanoff, Erica Zielinski, Nadine Goellner, Lynn Koek, Noah Bashevkin, Catherine DeGennaro, Gabrielle Davenport, Chloe Golding, Kyla Gardner, Tess Peppis, Zion Jackson, Scout Eisenberg and Jose Alvarado