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Songs without frontiers

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — At next weekend’s ¡Globalquerque! world music and culture festival, kids will get to hear one of the country’s most popular bands — Ozomatli — before the general public gets its chance.

¡Globalquerque! schedule

Sept. 21 and 22 at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, 1701 Fourth SW

Sept. 21

Plaza Mayor

6:20 p.m. Zeb & Haniya

7:40 p.m. Ti-Coca & Wanga-Nègès

9 p.m. Bombino

10:30 p.m. Ozomatli

Albuquerque Journal Theatre

7 p.m. Ali Akbar Moradi Ensemble

8:20 p.m. R. Carlos Nakai Earth Sounds Ensemble

9:40 p.m. Canteca de Macao

Fountain Courtyard

6:40 p.m. The Big Spank

8 p.m. Daniel Kahn & The Painted Bird

9:20 p.m. EarthRise SoundSystem


Sept. 22

Plaza Mayor

7 p.m. Keith Secola Band

8:40 p.m. Bettye LaVette

10:20 p.m. Plena Libre

Albuquerque Journal Theatre

6:40 p.m. Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto

8 p.m. Zeb & Haniya

9:20 p.m. Razia

Fountain Courtyard

6:20 p.m. La Familia Vigil

7:40 p.m. R. Carlos Nakai Earth Sounds Ensemble

9 p.m. Bombino

Festival tickets are available online at for both nights or for just Sept. 21 or Sept. 22 or call the National Hispanic Cultural Center box office at 724-4771 or in person at the box office.

Through Thursday, Sept. 20, these are the advance ticket prices:

Adult two-day pass, $50

Adult one-day pass, Sept. 21 or Sept. 22, $30

Children 12 and under two-day pass, $25

Children 12 and under one-day pass, $15

Tickets day of show, Sept. 21 or 22

Adult two-day pass, $60

Adult one-day pass, Sept. 21 or Sept. 22, $35

Children 12 and under two-day pass, $30

Children 12 and under one-day pass, $17

Children under age 3 admitted free

The weekend festival package is $250. This includes one double-occupancy room at the Sheraton Albuquerque Airport Hotel and a pair of ¡Globalquerque! weekend passes. You can purchase a festival package by visiting or by calling 843-7000 or toll-free 800-227-1117. Ask for local reservations.

The Los Angeles-based music-fusing band will perform for several thousand school kids during the day on Sept. 21. The performance is part of a festival outreach program.

That same night Ozomatli will return to ¡Globalquerque! on stage for the general public to hear.

“We’ve been doing kids’ shows for about a little over a year now,” said Ozomatli’s Jiro Yamaguchi. “They’ve been going really well.”

Those concerts have offered songs the band has adapted for younger audiences. On Sept. 25 the band’s kids’ album “Ozomatli Presents Ozokidz” will be released.

Ozomatli and kids aren’t a new relationship. The band has performed its songs on the TV show “PBS Kids” and composed music for several videos, including one for “Sesame Street,” Yamaguchi said.

Ozomatli’s music incorporates salsa, hip-hop, dancehall, cumbia, merengue and other rhythms.

In a way, the band symbolizes what ¡Globalquerque!, now presenting its eighth annual festival, tries to accomplish.

“We have try to bring in an interesting mix that reflects cultures from around the world with a blend from traditional to contemporary music,” said Neal Copperman. He and Tom Frouge are Globalquerque!’s founding co-producers.

Copperman and Frouge sometimes leave the comfort of their homes to scout for the new and the interesting to bring back for the annual festival of music and culture. Copperman has traveled to Europe to attend the World Music Exposition and then to Asia to check out bands that might be coming to the United States under the State Department’s Center Stage cultural exchange program.

Zeb & Haniya is a six-piece group from Pakistan he interviewed in their country, Copperman said. As a result the band will be performing at next weekend’s festival. It is here as part of a Center Stage-sponsored tour.

Zeb & Haniya are cousins whose compositions are based on Pakistani, Indian and Afghani melodies. Their compositions also have been influenced by American blues and folk, music of Latin America and West Africa and Indian classical music.

Ti-Coca and his band Wanga-Nègès of Haiti, which is also touring here under the Center Stage program, will be playing at ¡Globalquerque!. The players come from rural Haiti and perform on found objects, fusing Haitian-style merengue, Afro-Cuban and dance music.

Copperman said he and Frouge may invite bands on the recommendations of agents or managers.

“I learned about Canteca de Macao, which is from Spain, because they were represented by the same poeple who represented Ojos de Brujo, which played in Albuquerque prior to ¡Globalquerque!,” he said. “I’ve never seen the band, but I drove the band around and met their management at WOMEX.”

It was on the basis of the band’s recorded music, reputation and the recommendations of people who had seen them that Copperman and Frouge invited Canteca de Macao for next weekend’s festival.

Canteca is one of several groups that has what Copperman described as “a strong carnival vibe.” Its musicians wear costumes and some of its members are dancers and jugglers. Their music blends flamenco, jazz and ska.

Another band at next weekend’s festival that goes beyond strictly music is Daniel Kahn and The Painted Bird, a band from Germany. Kahn studied theater and poetry at the University of Michigan. There he became interested in the musical theater collaborations of Kurt Weill and Bertold Brecht.

“For me it’s a natural accumulation of interests,” Kahn said in a phone interview.

“As I got more interested in being a songwriter and traveling musician, I was also interested in punk rock and political folk music — Billy Bragg, The Clash. When I came to Yiddish music, I found all of these elements were already there just waiting — the politics, the Modernist poetry, the theatricality of the humor, the irony and the dance music. It’s all a natural mixture.”

He said he wanted his latest album, “Lost Causes,” to be a carnival of sounds, of ideas.

A group that ¡Globalquerque! wanted to perform at last year’s festival, the Ali Akbar Moradi Ensemble, couldn’t make it as a fill-in for a performer who couldn’t get a visa. But the Moradi ensemble is on the program this year. Its leader plays the tanbur, an ancient lute used in religious ceremonies, and its music includes meditative improvisations of the Yarsan people of western Iran.

Other purveyors of world music playing at the festival include Razia, a singer from Madagascar whose influences include French chanson, jazz, rock and Sade-like R&B; Plena Libre, a band from Puerto Rico that interprets the plena and bomba musical traditions of the island; Bombino, a Tuareg guitarist from Niger whose political activism includes equal rights for his people and promoting education and cultural heritage; Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto, an ensemble from Colombia that plays gaita music; Carlos Nakai Earth Sounds Ensemble, which brings together Native American flute, Mongolian zither and throat singing and Australian didgeridoo; soul singer Bettye LaVette of Detroit; the Keith Secola Band featuring the Wild Band Dancers, which mixes Native American rhythms with rock, folk and roots music; EarthRise Sound System, which is the duo of DJ/yogi Derek Benes and percussionist/producer Duke Mushroom; La Familia Vigil, a family trio led by Cipriano Vigil of El Rito, N.M., that brings its own take of Spanish Colonial folk songs; and the Albuquerque Latin-rock-ska band The Big Spank.

“We’ve been wanting to play ¡Globalquerque! for quite a while because a lot of major acts are coming here, like Ozomatli,” said Mike Garcia, guitarist-accordionist-vocalist of The Big Spank.

“I love world music, so it’s great to be part of it.”

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