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.
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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.
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.