Globalquerque livestreamed its 16th annual performance on Wednesday, Sept. 30, featuring collaborative performances from musicians from around the world as well as interviews with the musicians and coordinators.
The theme of this year’s event was “Cross-Cultural Crossover,” wherein musicians from different musical backgrounds gathered to re-imagine a song that one of the musicians had written.
The collaborations included blends of New Orleans jazz, Angolan vocals and Iraqi oud music to create something that Globalquerque has never done before.
The event usually occurs at the National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC) but was streamed online through Twitch, YouTube and Facebook due to the coronavirus pandemic. Attendance was free of charge, although donations were accepted.
Tom Frouge, the director, producer and curator of Globalquerque, remembered the busy days he had in preparation for this event. Frouge said he "couldn't replicate" the previous 15 years on a screen and do this year's event justice. He knew he had to do something different than what previous audiences had seen, so he asked the performers to collaborate, "deconstructing" the songs and "re-imagining" them.
According to Frouge, the previous years of Globalquerque have been "collaborative in that you have 17 bands from around the world ... and you have workshops during the day, film and dance lessons (and) international food. It's more like a trip around the world, and it expresses our mission on a macro scale.”
Frouge talked about the stresses the musicians felt about ensuring that they would do justice to the multicultural music they would be playing and respect the cultures from which the music stems.
“What I thought we could represent was the mission statement, which is cross-cultural understanding,” Frouge said.
Frouge recalled the challenges he faced in choosing musicians who would be open to allowing their songs to be interpreted differently.
"They had to be the right bands who were open to deconstructing their music," Frouge said.
Frouge expressed gratitude for co-producer of Globalquerque Scott Kettner, who is also the percussionist of musical group Nation Beat. Kettner mixed the audio for the video presentations for the four songs for the event: Algunas Cantan, Jisabu, Missing You/Mae Querida and Pajarito.
According to Frouge, the group interviews during the event was the first time that some of the performers had met, since they had been "sending tracks" and recording videos from their homes.
“It started with a lot of nervousness”, Frouge said, recalling the insecurities that the musicians felt sending their work to strangers.
But as soon as the songs started coming together, all of the musicians felt excited about what they were working on, according to Frouge.
Globalquerque featured four reimagined songs and various interviews with musicians such as Randy Sanchez, a guitarist from Nohe y Sus Santos, a band with members from Honduras and New Mexico, and Nation Beat, a band with members from the U.S. and Brazil. An interview with the new director for the NHCC, Josefa Gonzales Mariscal, was also included.
“It began with conversations with the artists, and I think that everybody is coming from important and strong traditions and cultural backgrounds,” Kettner said.
The Globalquerque team is discussing plans to put on more virtual concerts, educational workshops and Q&A sessions hosted by musicians worldwide. Frouge hopes to return to live performances for next year’s Globalquerque on Sept. 17, 2021.
"We shall gather again," Frouge said.
Sarah Bodkin is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @sarahbodkin4