ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Nawal, who is from the Comoros Islands off the east coast of Africa, plays music that has East Indian, Arabic, Persian and African influences.
Burkina Electric , which is from the country of Burkina Faso, performs music of West Africa.
And Te Vaka brings together indigenous sounds and dances of New Zealand and the South Pacific.
They’re each giving evening concerts tonight and again Saturday, Sept. 17, at the two-day Â¡Globalquerque!
Want more background before you attend their Saturday evening shows? You might want to check out their midday Saturday demonstration-workshops. The workshops are part of the festival’s free Global Fiesta daytime programming.
“The daytime is designed to complement the evening performances and expand your understanding and your experience with the artist and the whole festival,” said Neal Copperman, a co-founder and co-director of ¡Globalquerque!, now in its seventh year.
“The daytime is more interactive. Audiences can ask questions. It’s a chance for performers to fill in the gaps as to what it is that they’re doing. At night they’re not telling you a huge amount about where they live, what that instrument is they’re playing, what that interesting rhythm is.”
They’re examples of how ¡Globalquerque! lives up to its self-description as an “annual celebration of world music and culture.”
Nawal, reached in France, explained that she tries to use the movement of her body – and her voice – to express herself through her music.
“I also mix that in trying to heal ourselves. … Find the beauty inside ourselves. … I believe that the voice is the muscle of the soul,” she said.
Nawal is scheduled to host a workshop at 12:45 p.m. Burkina Electric will give a workshop on West African guitar styles at 1:45 p.m. and Te Vaka will demonstrate the musical traditions of the South Pacific at 2:45 p.m.
The festival is presenting groups from many parts of the world. Frigg is a fiddling ensemble from Finland and Norway. Los Amigos Invisibles, which fuses Latin rhythms with funk and lounge music, are from Venezuela. Sergent Garcia, which blends punk and indie rock with reggae and dancehall, is a group that hails from France. La Excelencia is a salsa dura band from New York City.
Buffy Sainte-Marie, the veteran folk singer of Cree heritage, is from Canada. The Yuri Yunakov Ensemble plays folk music from Bulgaria.
Baraka Moon, which is playing only tonight at the festival, is a trio whose members are from Pakistan, England and the United States. The group formally organized as a group in 2008 on the night of an eclipse of the full moon.
The three members – vocalist Sukhawat Ali Khan, drummer Geoffrey Gordon and didgeridoo player Stephen Kent – had performed together for the first time two weeks before as backup for poet Coleman Barks on the 800th anniversary of the birth of famed Rumi.
“It evolved out of that moment,” Kent said in a phone interview. “Mainly, we play the ecstatic Sufi trance songs of Ali Khan.”
The name Baraka, the Sufi word for blessing, is an important part of the band’s vision as a musical entity. “Cosmically, it’s the correct name to go with the band,” Kent said. “It’s an interesting combination, bringing together the sounds of different cultures into a seamless whole.”
Up-and-coming Brazilian vocalist Luísa Maita also is performing tonight. She was named 2011 New Artist of the Year in Brazil. “It’s a very important award. It’s like a Grammy in Brazil,” Maita said.
She wrote songs for other artists before she became a professional singer.
Maita said the title song on her recent album “Lero Lero” is about friendship and what it’s like to live in the metropolis of SÃ£o Paolo, her hometown.
“I don’t talk about birds or nature of Ipanema girls,” she said in a reference to the subjects of some of the popular songs of the bossa nova era.
“The context I write about is always the big city. SÃ£o Paolo is a hard city to live in. There’s so much traffic. I say that in my songs. But at the same time it’s a very creative city, an energetic city. I have never lived in so creative a moment.”
The festival also will present on stage groups from New Mexico. They include Felix y Los Gatos and Frank McCulloch y Sus Amigos.
Musicians at the two evenings’ concerts perform on three stages, and the performances are staggered. That way, Copperman said, patrons “can sample a little of everything. Other people might spend more time with one group. The biggest challenge is when you want to see everything. There’s so much going on that you can’t see all of it.”
For a full schedule of bands and times visit www.globalquerque.com.