GlobalFEST’s Creole Carnival featuring Brushy One String, Emeline Michel & Casuarina – 3/18
Venue:City Winery Chicago
Just in time for Carnival season, globalFEST’s Creole Carnival Tour (February 2016) honors African musical currents alongside a fusion of sounds from the Americas, that have ignited the sounds of Carnival, the pre-Lent festival celebrated globally that’s everyone’s favorite excuse for a party. From Brazil (Casuarina) — the superpower of celebration — to Haiti (Emeline Michel) and Jamaica (Brushy One String), each culture has its own rich traditions of music, dance, costumes, and cutting loose. The tour’s international trio of artists will delve into the musical riches of Carnival, and explore how magic and religious fervor intersect in a madcap, no-holds-barred soiree.
Brushy One String: Jamaican music soaked in soul, played on a single unstoppable guitar string
Emeline Michel: Shimmering, rhythmic sounds with a call for change and hope from Haiti’s leading lady
Casuarina: Rio’s modern Afro-Brazilian samba stars play timeless classics and their own songs
“There is so much conversation about the creolization of culture, about people who bring together traditions and cultivate cultural hybrids,” notes globalFEST co-director Isabel Soffer. “These processes are much more specifically associated with Haiti and Brazil, but even if you look at Brushy, he’s bringing together elements of reggae and soul and hip hop. Creole Carnival speaks to the traditions of hybridity.”
Beyond the party, Carnival has other roles, both sacred and political. Social roles are inverted, and norms challenged, both by letting loose and by making explicit statements through music, movement, and attire. Emeline Michel manages this kind of multifaceted expression with charismatic grace, speaking out about the issues impacting her homeland yet never straying from the beauty of the song, the joyful force of the beat.
For globalFEST, crafting a special tour of interconnected performances is a logical next step. From its inception, the organization has always aimed to infiltrate the broader market for live music in North America, to put international music before more and more diverse audiences, by gathering presenters to hear carefully selected global musicians every January during New York’s annual presenters conference, and by supporting past festival artists on future tours via the globalFEST Touring Fund.
The response to globalFEST On the Road has been very enthusiastic because many presenters have been coming to globalFEST for years and have been looking for a way to present the acts they’ve seen there. “This program gives them a creative, timely concept, quality performers, and credibility based on globalFEST’s heritage,” says globalFEST co-director Shanta Thake.
Creole Carnival is the non-profit’s first On the Road project, using the organization’s curatorial clout and thoughtful contextualization to present artists with great appeal to new audiences.
“From a mission standpoint, we’re doing exactly what we always strive to do: to get artists deeper into US markets, especially new markets. We’re bringing Creole Carnival to more than thirty cities large and small that may rarely see artists from Brazil, Haiti, and Jamaica,” Thake reflects. “The presenters we’re working with are university Performing Arts Centers and independent presenters alike, an impressive group of partners that speak to the quality of the lineup.”
“Working directly with the globalFEST team to help expand and spread their vision of what global music means in the market today is an exciting project and something that I personally am very passionate about,” enthuses Tobias Tumarkin of CAMI, who has worked closely to make this extensive tour a reality. “globalFEST have been the tastemakers and leaders in global music in the 21st century, and I believe that they offer some wonderful strategies and tools for presenters who want to bring international music to their communities. We look forward to sharing those ideas and growing audiences and awareness through globalFEST On The Road.”
“Having Brazil, Jamaica, and Haiti on the same stage is a spicy, winning combination, a flavorful cocktail because of our political, cultural, and musical history and background. This project is a sure ticket to travel and understand the diversity of the world we are in. Therefore an open door to tolerance and compassion towards others,” says Emeline Michel. “globalFEST brings a wider spectrum and possibilities for having my music exposed to places I might never be able reach. I am also excited about the possibility to create moments on stage and new music with fellow touring companions.”