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Tiny Desk Meets globalFEST: Edwin Perez, Elisapie, Nora Brown, Rokia Traoré

The Tiny Desk is teaming up with globalFEST this year for a thrilling virtual music festival: Tiny Desk Meets globalFEST. The online fest includes four nights of concerts featuring 16 bands from all over the world. From Monday, Jan. 11, through Thursday, Jan. 14, we'll be streaming new performances at 8 p.m. ET on NPR Music's YouTube channel and NPR.org.

Every January, I attend globalFEST at a New York City nightclub and see some of the most fantastic music I'll experience all year. Now, given the pandemic's challenges and the hardening of international borders, NPR Music and globalFEST is moving from the nightclub to your screen of choice and sharing this festival with the world. Each night, we'll present four artists in intimate settings (often behind desks donning globes), and it's all hosted by African superstar Angélique Kidjo, who performed at the inaugural edition of globalFEST in 2004.

For the final night of Tiny Desk Meets globalFEST, we have Edwin Perez's presentation of salsa dura, First Nations advocate and singer-songwriter Elisapie performing in Montreal, 15-year-old Appalachian banjo player Nora Brown, and globalFEST alum Rokia Traoré performing from Mali.

Below you'll find short descriptions about each act, written by the globalFEST team.

/ Courtesy of globalFEST
Courtesy of globalFEST


From the basement of the Bowery Electric in downtown Manhattan, composer and vocalist Edwin Perez and his 10-piece band come together to put on a show. With a strong backbeat and enough room to move around, Perez's up-tempo energy brings the party and keeps it going. The theme of the night is salsa dura music, which originated in New York in the 1970s and gained acclaim thanks to acts like the Fania All-Stars and Spanish Harlem Orchestra.


  • "La Salsa Que Me Crió"
  • "No Puedo Respirar" (I Can't Breathe)
  • "Mi Tierra"

  • / Courtesy of globalFEST
    Courtesy of globalFEST


    Elisapie returns to Tiny Desk for a show-stopping performance from Montreal, with the disco globe of our dreams helping to light her set. Elisapie, in both her songs and work, is a resounding advocate of First Nations culture in Canada. In her set, she harnesses an incredible energy with electrifying, emotive vocals.


  • "Qanniuguma"
  • "Wolves Don't Live by the Rules"
  • "Arnaq"

  • / Courtesy of globalFEST
    Courtesy of globalFEST


    30 feet below the surface in Brooklyn, 10th grader Nora Brown brings incredible, surprising depth to the Appalachian music she plays. Over the course of her Tiny Desk Meets globalFEST concert, surrounded by innumerable globes and instruments, she infuses new life and energy into the traditional songs of Addie Graham, Virgil Anderson and Fred Cockerham. Nora weaves together songs and storytelling, speaking of the great history of the music that came before her and at which she excels.


  • "The Very Day I'm Gone"
  • "Miner's Dream"
  • "Little Satchel"

  • / Courtesy of globalFEST
    Courtesy of globalFEST


    Rokia Traoré performed at globalFEST in 2005, the music festival's second year, and it's a thrill to present her meditative performance as part of Tiny Desk meets globalFEST. Her work is rooted in the Malian musical tradition, but defies the confines of a single culture. Born in Mali to a diplomat father, Traoré had a nomadic upbringing that exposed her to a wide variety of international musical influences. She joins us from Blues Faso, a theater inside her Foundation Passerelle in Mali, which she created to support emerging, interdisciplinary artists, from music and the performing arts to visual arts and photography.


  • "Souba Lé"
  • "Tiramakan"
  • "Fakoly"

  • Tiny Desk Meets globalFEST


    Producer: Bob Boilen

    Video Producer: Morgan Noelle Smith

    Audio Mastering: Josh Rogosin

    Associate Producer: Bobby Carter

    Tiny Production Team: Kara Frame, Maia Stern

    Executive Producer: Lauren Onkey

    Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann


    Co-Directors: Shanta Thake, Isabel Soffer, and Bill Bragin

    2021 Curators: Shanta Thake, Isabel Soffer, Bill Bragin, and Viviana Benitez

    Event Producer: Ian Thake

    Host: Angélique Kidjo

    Social Media Manager: Valerie French

    Publicity: Brendan Gilmartin, Chart Room Media

    Legal Services: Tamizdat

    Legal Services: Duane Morris

    Producer: THE OFFICE performing arts + film

    Video Production: MODEMA Studios

    THE OFFICE performing arts + film consists of Diane Eber, Rachel Chanoff, Laurie Cearley, Olli Chanoff, Erica Zielinski, Gabrielle Davenport, Catherine DeGennaro, Noah Bashevkin, Lynn Koek, Bruna D'Avila, Chloe Golding, Kyla Gardner, Zion Jackson, Tess Peppis, Scout Eisenberg

    MODEMA Studios consists of Jammal Lemy (director and editor), Matt Deitsch (producer), Theo Braun (audio), and Gary Blake (editor)

    Special Thanks: Joshua Feigenbaum, Mona Golub, Steven Kirkpatrick, Daniel C. Smith, Ken Umezaki

    globalFEST 2021 funders include The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, The Québec Government Office in New York

    Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.