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Tiny Desk Meets globalFEST: Dedicated Men Of Zion, Labess, Sofia Rei & DakhaBrakha

The Tiny Desk is teaming up withglobalFEST 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 superstarAngélique Kidjo, who performed at the inaugural edition of globalFEST in 2004.

For our opening night, we have the gospel sounds of the Dedicated Men of Zion, the flamenco and Gypsy jazz-influenced North African sounds of Labess, the award-winning vocalist and songwriter Sofia Rei, who blends Argentine and other South American folk traditions with experimental pop and electronic music, and Tiny Desk alum DakhaBrakha, a Ukranian rock band overflowing with joy and energy. Below you'll find short descriptions about each act, written by the globalFEST team.

/ Courtesy of the artist
Courtesy of the artist


Dedicated Men of Zion come to you from their backyard barbecue in North Carolina, bringing with them an electrified version of sacred Gospel soul music. This family band (all related through blood or marriage) has been isolating together during the pandemic, and the members are excited to provide an uplifting note during difficult times.


  • "Father, Guide Me, Teach Me"
  • "Can't Turn Me Around"
  • "It's A Shame"

  • Anthony "Amp" Daniels: vocals
  • Dexter Weaver: vocals
  • Antwan "Ace" Daniels: vocals
  • Marcus Sugg: vocals
  • Jaheim Daniels: drums
  • Aaron Adams: keyboard
  • Jerry Harrison: bass guitar
  • Mark Richardson: lead guitar

  • Producer: Aaron Greenhood
  • Video: Cornelius Lewis
  • Audio: The Sandwich Shoppe

  • / Courtesy of the artist
    Courtesy of the artist


    This Algerian and Canadian band proves that music has no boundaries even in times of isolation. Recording its set from France and Colombia, Labess blends flamenco and Gypsy jazz-influenced North African chaabi into energetic soul music with a nonstop beat. Singing in Arabic, French and Spanish, lead vocalist Nedjim Bouizzoul mixes realism and hope, gentleness and fury, in stories about exile that illustrate the joys and the distress that pave the road from the native countries to new homes and back again. Through his poetry, he proposes we reflect on cultural diversity and the necessity to unite, no matter our differences.


  • "Yal Maknin"
  • "Yemma"
  • "La Vida Es Un Carnaval"

  • Nedjim Bouizzoul: lead vocals, guitar (France)
  • Simon Demouveaux: banjo, oud (France)
  • Rabah Khalfa: derbouka, chorus (France)
  • Simon Lannoy: cello (France)
  • Loran Bozic: violin (France)
  • Pierre Bonnet: bass (France)
  • Mike Rajamahendra: drum (France)
  • François Taillefer: percussion (France)
  • Julio Frias: percussion (Colombia)
  • Miche Molina: accordion (Colombia)
  • Javier Villa: trombone (Colombia)
  • Rafael "Pachalo" Gavilan: trumpet (Colombia)
  • Moises Marquez Leyva: saxophonist (Colombia)

  • Producer: Arte de Luz
  • Video: Victor Delfim
  • Audio: Arnaud "Peck" Dervaux

  • / Courtesy of the artist
    Courtesy of the artist


    Recording from her apartment in Brooklyn, award-winning Argentine vocalist and songwriter Sofia Rei provides a concert that blends South American folk traditions with experimental pop and electronic music. That mix of tradition and modernity extends to her surroundings, which features traditional iconography, robotic 'saints,' exuberant plants and looping pedals.


  • "Un Mismo Cielo" (The Same Sky)
  • "Negro Sobre Blanco" (Black On White)
  • "Escarabajo Digital" (Digital Beetle)

  • Sofia Rei: vocals, charango, electronics
  • JC Maillard: guitar, bass, programming, background vocals
  • Leo Genovese: keys
  • Jorge Glem: cuatro
  • Ana Carmela Rodriguez Contramaestre: background vocals, percussion

  • Recording Engineer: Rafael Urbina
  • Mixing Engineer: JC Maillard
  • Photography: Esteban Veras
  • Camera: Armando Ortega Toribio
  • Editor: Christine Vaindirlis

  • / Courtesy of the artist
    Courtesy of the artist


    Tonight marks DakhaBrakha's return to globalFEST and Tiny Desk. The Ukranian band's first globalFEST performance was in 2014, and their 2015 Tiny Desk concert remains a favorite. We've had them in our spaces, so it's a real treat to see them in theirs, the Dakh Theater in Kiev. Coming together, their performance maintains the energy and joy that define their music, bouncing off each other musically and emotionally. DakhaBrakha aims to keep Ukraine's musical and storytelling tradition alive by making it more accessible to a younger, international audience, a kind of self-proclaimed "ethno-chaos." They craft stunning sonic worlds for traditional songs, reinventing their heritage with a keen ear for contemporary resonances.


  • "Komora"
  • "Vynnaya ya"

  • Iryna Kovalenko: vocals, keys, percussion
  • Marko Halanevych: vocals, accordion
  • Nina Garenetska: vocals, cello
  • Olena Tsybulska: vocals, drums

  • Director: Vladyslav Troitskyi
  • Art Manager: Iryna Gorba
  • Mixing Engineer: Maksym Taran
  • Audio: Andrii Nidzelskyi
  • Photography: Stefanyak Juryj

  • 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, The 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.