Front Row

Christine Salem: globalFEST 2013

As the globalFEST evening wound down, much of the buzz about the biggest finds of the year centered on a seemingly unlikely figure: the vocalist Christine Salem, who made her New York City debut in this performance. Often, it's the artists who make 21st-century, Internet-ready musical hybrids that become the most talked-about GlobalFEST artists, but Salem presents the exact opposite model.

She comes from a far-flung spot — the tiny Indian Ocean island of Reunion, an overseas department of France — and sings socially conscious music in four languages (Creole, Malagasy, Comorian and Swahili), rooted in the traditional and nearly extinct style called maloya. Salem often accompanies herself with a kayanm, a box-shaped percussion instrument made from the flowers, stems and seeds of sugar cane.

Salem's exceptionally rich voice and fiery stage presence easily transcends any and all cultural barriers, with her hypnotic and powerful voice underscored by dense layers of percussion in her mesmerizing set at New York City's Webster Hall.


Producers: Mito Habe-Evans, Bob Boilen; Videographers: Gabriella Garcia-Pardo, Mito Habe-Evans; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Video Editor: Denise DeBelius Assistant Producer: Denise DeBelius; Special Thanks to: Webster Hall, globalFEST 2013; Executive Producers: Anya Grundmann, Keith Jenkins.

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