• Bill Nevins

¡Globalquerque! Festival Adds Northern NM Flavor to World – Music, September 22nd-24th

by BILL NEVINS, Contributing Writer

¡Globalquerque!, New Mexico’s Annual Celebration of World Music and Culture, is the

family-friendly, international, eclectic music festival now in its 18th year which takes place September 22-24 on stages both indoors and outdoors at the National Hispanic Cultural Center campus in Albuquerque at 1701 4th St SW, at Avenida César Chávez.

Along with musical performers from Ukraine, Estonia, Sweden, India, Africa, Israel, South America and Brooklyn, NY, this year’s fest will especially feature and celebrate Northern New Mexico music and artistic culture. Festival curator Tom Frouge, CEO of non-profit Avokado Artists which sponsors ¡Globalquerque!, tells us in an August 14 phone chat,

“Our mission is “dedicated to cross-cultural understanding through the arts” and each year we focus on a community in need of recognition and support. We decided that our community focus this year will be on Northern New Mexico because with the wildfires and floods there is a danger that the culture there could be displaced, and we know it must be preserved and celebrated. And with our festival coming back bigger than ever, we decided to have some old friends return because we feel like we are returning, post-pandemic! Among those friends are Robert Mirabal of Taos Pueblo, who will bring his rock band for a rare appearance and who will also do a workshop on seat preservation accompanied by his flute music. From Jemez Pueblo, the Adrian Wall Trio will bring music, history and stories of Native America, with an innovative style, using their music to express cultural identity while adding story-telling to present new voice to the Native American traditional canon.

“And we’ll have Nuevo Luna—the northern New Mexico music group consisting of New Mexico State Historian Rob Martinez, Laura Manzanares and Felix Peralta—along with planned craft workshops on tin-pounding, weaving and wood-carving. Rob will also do his talk on New Mexico history through music, and the Yarma Ensemble from Israel will perform music of the Jewish diaspora and also give a presentation on Sephardim in America which is very relevant to our history in New Mexico.”


Tom Frouge is eager to remind us that ¡Globalquerque! is far from being a staid, museum-style presentation. “We are very much alive,” he says, “and there is plenty of fun and dancing, both onstage and in the audience!” He points out that, in addition to Mirabal’s rock band, the festival will be enlivened by the “ethnic chaos” music of DakhaBrakha (“give/take”) from Kyiv, Ukraine, the “boundary-breaking” jazzy songs of Kiran Ahluwalia with her band from India and the “funky but rootsy” old school R&B/rock sound and powerful voice of Bette Smith from BedStuy, Brooklyn—described by Frouge as being “like a spiritual daughter of Mick Jagger and Tina Turner”.

Then there is Son Rompe Pera from Mexico City, whom Frouge says is “like the Clash with marimbas” who will perform Friday and also lead the free opening dance-concert on Thursday night. Tuareg “desert blues” band Al Bilali Soudan will invoke the mysteries of their native Timbuktu, Mali. The Bazurto All Stars will bring their Champeta high-voltage party music from Cartagena, Colombia. Kolonien will bring their Nordic folk-pop sound-- Sweden's answer to Mumford & Sons. Intuitive, authentic, and full of ruthless rhythms, Malawi's Madalitso Band will inspire their audiences to clap, dance, smile, “and rethink everything they thought they knew about African sound and instrumentation.” Panama’s Making Movies group will blend classic rock into Latin American rhythms of rumba, merengue, mambo and cumbia. Hailing from Estonia, the neo-zombie-post-folk Estonian duo Puuluup! will bring a burst of punk-rock surrealism in its performance and in a screening of a documentary film about the band made especially for the festival. Montreal-based Haitian musician Vox Sambou and his 9- piece band will bring his multi-lingual, socially-conscious anti-violence dance- music, celebrating the principles of self-sufficiency, education, decentralization and reforestation. Gili Yalo from the diaspora Jewish community of Ethiopia will blend traditional sounds music into his stirring contemporary music production.

The incomparable BETTE SMITH - photo by Shervin Lainez

And the dynamic Asian-American classical-rock-jazz duo ARKAI will join with New Mexico groups Nosotros and Nohi Y Sus Santos to perform a specially-commissioned work sponsored by Chamber Music America.

Truly a world of fine and varied music, all in one weekend!

Besides the concert shows, there will be dance lessons in blues-dance, Haitian dance, Ukranian folk dance and southwestern US wedding dance. Three Sisters Kitchen will do a demo workshop on South Indian cuisine.

On Saturday, September 24, 10 am-3:30 pm, the free Globalquerque Global Fiesta takes place on the NHCC grounds and all are welcome to enjoy educational workshops, inter-activities, film, panels, food demos, performances, and much more created in collaboration with the National Hispanic Cultural Center’s Department of Education! There will be interactive art activities inspired by the music and global cultures visiting the festival to multilingual poetry readings to International Dance Lessons to the NY International Children’s Film Festival Viva Kids Flicks to International Food Demo & Tasting to a presentation on New Mexican History Through New Mexican Traditional Music to workshops from visiting artists from Haiti, Israel, Taos Pueblo, and Malawi and so much more!

Detailed information on ¡Globalquerque!, including ticket prices (very reasonable), performance schedules, free family events, film screenings and discounted rates for festival-goers at the Albuquerque Best Western Airport Hotel can be found at: Globalquerque.org

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