• APAP: Brooklyn Qawwali Party at GlobalFEST

    January 12, 2009. Posted by Simon Rentner.

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    Brooklyn Qawwali Party

    As if New York isn't culturally overloaded enough. Every year, when the conference sponsored by APAP - the Association of Performing Arts Presenters - hits New York, the senses of industry music professionals are bludgeoned by the world's finest talent. Throughout the conference's fanfare, there are two music events where critics line-up for in great anticipation - GlobalFEST, curated by Bill Bragin, and, Winter Jazz Fest, booked by Brice Rosenbloom. Click here to read the NY Times review of Winter Jazz Fest, which I unfortunately missed. There were two acts at GlobalFEST that caught my ear:  The Brooklyn Qawwali Party and The Hot 8 Brass Band, which, in case you missed, is slated to perform in Queens College at the Kupferberg Center, February 14th. I was struck most by The Brooklyn Qawwali Party, a ten-piece orchestra, primarily comprised of jazz-trained musicians. They are devoted to the music of Pakistani Sufi legend Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.  After hearing the group, I can't help but be reminded of Antibalas, another large jazz instrumental group that famously focuses its repertory on another overseas legend, Fela Kuti. The Brooklyn Qawwali Party would seem to be a perfect match for U.S. State Department's American Musicians Abroad program, where artists spread diplomacy and understanding through the common language of music. Can you imagine what Pakistanis would think of this Sufi-jazz group from Brooklyn? - Simon Rentner

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