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Music breaks down borders

From Hungary to Venezuela, Pakistan to Norway, these musicians don’t let their countries’ borders limit the scope of their art.

¡Globalquerque!, an annual global music festival, will be held at the National Hispanic Cultural Center this Friday and Saturday and features three concurrent stages of performers each night.

Neal Copperman, one of the founders and directors of the festival, said while people come to the festival with certain preconceptions and formed musical tastes, they often leave with a whole new mindset.

“They might come because they like something that they know, but what they often find is that the music they don’t know is surprisingly captivating, and they’ll love it in ways they didn’t expect,” he said. “Like maybe they’ll discover that fiddle music of Finland is really joyous and fun, and they’re like, ‘I never thought I wanted to go see Finnish fiddle music, but it’s great!’ There’s a sense of discovery with the festival.”

¡Globalquerque! is entering its seventh year, and Copperman said that compared to previous festivals, ¡Globalquerque! 2011 boasts a strong Latin American presence.

“It seems like we have a particularly strong Latin dance vibe going this year,” he said. “We got three super, really compelling Latin bands. In fact, both of our closing bands Friday and Saturday night are really fun Latin bands.”

The ¡Globalquerque! festival is not just about music — it crosses all cultural boundaries. On Saturday a free, family-geared event called Global Fiesta offers a variety of activities that promote cultural understanding.

“That program is really an opportunity for people to dig a little deeper into the cultures,” Copperman said. “There’s workshops; there’s dance classes; there’s craft activities. It’s a really nice compliment to the evening.”

Baraka Moon, one of the bands set to perform at ¡Globalquerque!, is a trio with members from India, New York and England who together create a combination of the musical traditions of India, Pakistan, Australia and Africa. Didgeridoo player and percussionist Stephen Kent said he and his bandmates’ music is based on Sufi ecstatic trance music from India, and the group’s diverse background helps create a profoundly unique sound.

“We combined the music and sounds of those various parts of the world into one kind of seamless whole which represents all of those musical sounds, if not the cultures that they come from,” he said. “Music is universal language.”

Kent said musicians have an ability to truly unite those who listen.

“Music is like water — it flows into all cultures, and there’s respect for musicians and the energy that we bring in our music everywhere I go,” Kent said.

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Copperman said ¡Globalquerque! provides attendees with a diverse spectrum of music from all over the world, which is important for understanding other cultures.

“When you look at a broad palate like that, there’s a lot more to experience than, say, if all you ever wanted to listen to was punk music or country music.” Copperman said. “You’re only getting one sort of view of the world, whereas this is kind of a broad view in multiple perspectives and multiple ways of looking at things.”

National Hispanic Cultural Center
Friday and Saturday
6 p.m. to midnight
Adult two-day pass: $50
Adult one-day pass: $30

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