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Our Top Discoveries From globalFEST 2017

Clockwise from upper left: Ssing Ssing, Jojo Abot, Betsayda Y La Parranda El Cavo, Batida, Septeto Sentiguero
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.

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

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter on NPR's Arts desk. She is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics and identity, and primarily reports on music. Recently, she has extensively covered gender issues and #MeToo in the music industry, including backstage tumult and alleged secret deals in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against megastar singer Plácido Domingo; gender inequity issues at the Grammy Awards and the myriad accusations of sexual misconduct against singer R. Kelly.
In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.
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