All the way from Brazil came Bixiga 70 to the stage this past Sunday at Webster Hall for the annual world music showcase, globalFEST. gF is a non-profit organization that serves the world music community, bringing talents from all around the world under one roof. Bixiga 70 was the third act to come onto the stage in the Grand Ballroom of the downtown venue.
Because there were three different stages being preoccupied for the event, the audience was allowed to travel from one room to another, catching other music groups’ performances. While I stayed in the Grand Ballroom, many others did as well. “I didn’t even know what I was getting myself into. I didn’t know what globalFEST was until I walked in through the door. But I think I’m going to stay here [Grand Ballroom] because the other rooms are crowded,” said Sharon, 32, from Long Island City. Indeed, it was a packed show as groups of people would come in and out of the rooms.
After waiting patiently in the photo pit, Bixiga 70 got the crowd riled up as they walked on stage with an abundance of energy. Comprised of ten talented musicians, the band formed five years ago in São Paulo, Brazil. Bixiga is a neighborhood in São Paulo, and the number 70 in its name is the number of the Gadgety Studio building, where the band was born. The Afrobeat orchestra brought together an eclectic music performance incorporating trumpets, saxophones, trombones, percussions, and strings. I felt as if I was in a totally different continent due to the band’s fusion of Latin dance, psychedelia, jazz, and African instrumental music. For a moment, I forgot about the -6.67 °C weather outside and found myself dreaming I was on a cruise ship, dancing under the sun and sipping a piña colada.
The brassy band definitely knew how to put on a show. They highly encouraged the audience to clap their hands, sing along, and form a conga line in the middle of the packed room. My favorite part was the drumming battle between percussionists Rômulo Nardes and Gustávo Cék. They had so much enthusiasm in their playing as well as their facial expressions. It was indeed an act worth watching. Brass players Cuca Ferreira, Douglas Antunes, Daniel Nogueira, and Daniel Gralha were all flawless, dancing in unison and creating loud jazzy tunes that very well could have shaken the ground floor.
The following is the set list from Sunday night: “Morte do Vaqueiro (Death of a Cowboy),” “Ocupai,” “Canjira,” “Grito de Paz (A Cry for Peace),” “5 Esquinas (5 Corners),” “Especial Perc. (which is most likely the battle of percussions),” “Kalimba,” “100% 13,” “Balboa,” “Desengano (Disillusion),” “Retirantes (Refugees),” and “Kriptonita (Kryptonite).”
There were other amazing performances at Sunday night’s globalFEST, two being The Nile Project and Zap Mama, who were the first and second act in the Grand Ballroom. You can check out the event review here.