U of M Students Take On The Global Roots Festival

Sierra, Dasha and Justine are leadership minors at the University of Minnesota, participating in The Cedar’s programing as part of the Leadership Minor’s Arts and Media Field Experience semester. Here’s their take on The Cedar’s 8th Annual Global Roots Festival. 

A sense of community engulfed The Cedar Cultural Center on September 19-21st at the Global Roots Festival. Men, women and children all gathered to partake in the cultural music and dance, entirely for free. Each year, Global Roots brings in nearly 3,000 people and has been free-of-charge since 2011. This year’s festival featured artists from Argentina, Ghana, Columbia and more. The MC this year is Dalmar Yare, who is a Minnesota-based Somali on residence at The Cedar.

gr2 52The second night of the Global Roots Festival, two musical groups performed. The first group was J.A.S.S. Quartet. This band’s music is a mixture of classical Indian Folk and jazz hip hop. They kept the audience engaged by improving many of there songs. This also made the band seem free and alive. I enjoyed the personal feeling in their music.

The second band that played on Tuesday night was Lautari. The type of music they play is polish-folk music. There sounds were made with a piano, bass cello, violin, and clarinet. Something unique that they did was have very little voices, a few yells here and there. This kept the audience guessing.”



“On the third night of the Global Roots Festival, two musical groups performed. Sk Kakraba was a really cool artist who performed on the xylophone. His music was unique because it incorporated the rhythm of the xylophone with occasional chants from Kakrabab. The music created a calming sensation that swept through the crowd, exemplified by people swaying to the beat of the music.

Afterwards, Palenke Soultribe took the stage and wowed the whole crowed with their electric vibe. Everyone in the crowd, from young children to their parents, had their hands up in the air and pumped along to the music. The sense of community was overpowering as the whole crowd grew together and became one with the music.”


“I was immediately surprised when I walked into Global Roots. When I arrived, SK Kakraba was performing. He was seated on the stage playing an instrument that radiated a clear, high pitched sound. It was hard to see him, especially with the crowd that had gathered to watch him. I was amazed to see how many people showed up to listen to this music which I assumed would not have a huge following. Despite the general lack of lyrics and use of only one instrument, people were very engaged with his performance. I was amazed to see people all over the crowd moving to the beat, bobbing their heads and dancing. This moment spoke to the true spirit of Global Roots: the power that music has to bring people together, despite our cultural differences, cultural musical norms or language barriers.

The act that I was anticipating most was Palenke Soultribe, and they lived up to all of my expectations. By the time they came on stage, the size of the crowd and the energy in the room grew immensely. Their performance featured several instruments and lively vocals that included everyone. The group was constantly trying to involve the crowd in their lyrics and get them to dance and clap along. The dancing, yelling, and shouting of whatever Spanish phrases people had up their sleeve lasted the entire performance. Looking around and seeing people jumping up and down or moving to the beat with their eyes closed was amazing. I was truly inspired to see people so moved by these sounds from a culture that most are probably unfamiliar with. The spirit of Global Roots exudes so much positivity, love and acceptance and I am so happy that I experienced it!”

– Justine