New York, LA, San Francisco, Houston, Miami, Chicago: all cities known for their strong international flavor. Thanks to the efforts of Tom Frouge and Neal Copperman in partnership with the National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC), we can now add Albuquerque to that list.
¡Globalquerque! celebrated its 11th anniversary at the NHCC in 2015. The annual event featured a jam-packed lineup of influential musicians from the World Music scene, including: Aurelio (Honduras), Fareed Ayaz & Abu Muhammad (Pakistan), Cimarrón (Colombia), Kassé Mady Diabaté (Mali), Tony Duncan (Apache/Arikara/Hidatsa), Alejandro Escovedo (Texas), Joy Harjo (Mvskoke Nation), JAH9 (Jamaica), Orlando Julius & the Afrosoundz (Nigeria), Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca (Angola/Congo), Lone Piñon (New Mexico), Emel Mathlouthi (Tunisia), Maarja Nuut (Estonia), Otava Yo (Russian Federation), and Nano Stern (Chile).
My personal favorites were JAH9 and Grupo Cimarrón.
JAH9 hails from Jamaica with Jah9 being the pseudonym of Janine Cunningham. Ms. Cunningham is a preacher daughter from Trelawny, Jamaica. Her and her bandmates music contains those older 'roots reggae' melodies made famous by Bob Marley and Peter Tosh back in the 1970's. Her lyrics are filled with her passion for her Rastafari culture. Like her lyrics, Jah9's lyrics are powerful and her stage presence emits the passion of an intelligent young woman bent on setting the world on fire through positive light.
Grupo Cimarrón is the brain-child of Harpist Carlos Rojas. They perform Joropo music from the Llanos Orientales region of Colombia. To many New Mexicans, the music resonated due its similarities to traditional hispanic New Mexican music. The ensemble includes harp, bandola, cuatro, bass, cajon, tambora, maracas and high-pitched voices which are simply breathtaking. Read more about Cimarrón and other ¡Globalquerque! performers in this Albuquerque Journal article.
The organizers of ¡Globalquerque! did an amazing job including the whole community with their Saturday "Global Village". This event included family-focused workshops with visiting performers, instrument-building for kids of all ages, international dance lessons, films, and other hands-on cultural craft-making. In addition the Global Village of Craft, Cuisine and Culture included local and international vendors and artisans showing off their crafts!
¡Globalquerque! 2015 was a huge success for all involved. Be sure not to miss it in 2016! Move over NYC, Albuquerque is now also a destination for those seeking a taste of the many wonderful flavors of world music.