In 2012, the world is such a postmodern, postcolonial jungle that in order to make sense of anything you've got to be thinking globally.
Global economies, global trends, global crises. And global music. The collapse of cultural segregation -- thank the Internet -- has created some curious crossbreeds when it comes to how we humans construct and compose sound.
Friday, April 13
The festival starts with a set from Seun Kuti ---Nigerian Afrobeat saxophonist, band leader, and son of African funk legend Fela Kuti -- alongside his father's Egypt 80 backup band.
Last July, Kuti told Crossfade that, as far as he's concerned, "there's no separating the music from the movement." Kuti's most recent full-length album, 2011's From Africa With Fury: Rise, is peppered with anti-capitalist, people-positive philosophies espoused by his famous father. And much like his pops, the 28-year-old band leader can fuse funk, jazz, and Afrobeat like an expert chef preparing a grand cuisine.
Meanwhile, opening act Gold Dust Lounge provide an appropriately subdued appetizer. This jazz trio slinks and swaggers through North American subgenre favorites such as surf rock, spy-movie soundtracks, and spaghetti western film scores, with a dose of wandering groove to keep the audience feeling loose.
Saturday, April 14
The festival's second night features not one, but two headliners. What can we say, Seun Kuti is a tough act to follow. And the collective strength of the individual acts -- not to mention the broad range of traditions and cultures they reference -- ensures that neither night of this festival is to be missed.
Quantic is a bloke from the UK who ended up in Colombia and now travels the world -- often with his Combo Bárbaro in tow -- producing, arranging, and performing an assortment of cumbia-derived styles.
The globetrotting producer has been known to infuse Latin-based music with electronica and dub. But his recent collaboration, Look Around the Corner, with vocalist Alice Russell (another English ex-pat) is a mostly analog affair that sounds as classic as it does contemporary. For the TransAtlantic fest, he will be teaming with cumbia vocalist Nidia Gongora.
And also atop the bill on Saturday night will be the Florida debut of Perdito Martinez's Afro-Cuban quartet. The Cuban percussionist not only bridges geographical divides, but generational as well, pairing the rhythm of classic guanguancó and rumba with the sensibility of pop and hip-hop.
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No doubt, it's gonna be a global affair. Get ready to boogie around the world.
Heineken TransAtlantic Festival 2012 with Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, Quantic, Pedrito Martinez, Gold Dust Lounge, and Mr. Pauer. Friday, April 13, and Saturday, April 14. North Beach Bandshell, 7275 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. The show starts at 7 p.m. each night. Single-night tickets cost $20 and weekend passes cost $30 via fla.vor.us. Call 305-672-5202 or visit transatlanticfestival.com.