It was frigid in New York on January 8, the day of globalFest 2012, but it was warm inside Webster Hall where twelve diverse contemporary music acts hailing from Brazil to Italy generated heat on three different stages. There were too many musical fusions on display to list, but the event gave us the opportunity to see two of our very favorite artists who mix the old and the new.
We thrilled to the jazz pop pyrotechnics of France’s Zaz. For much of the set she demonstrated an uncanny ability to sing and dance with vaudevillian elan while also playing a snare drum with brushes. The compact Paris-based chanteuse sang the way she danced: playfully, with style that united the unpredictable qualities of Edith Piaf, Björk, and Ella Fitzgerald.
Next we got swept up in the Malian folk-hop dance party that was SMOD’s US debut. The young trio, which includes the son of Amadou and Mariam, were undaunted by the New York City venue. Indeed, they brought the infectious spirit of their freestyle sessions in the streets of Bamako to the stage and it soon spilled over into the audience.