2017 Global Roots Festival Lineup

Our free, all ages 2017 Global Roots Festival, taking place September 18-20 2017, will feature six artists from around the globe who are fixtures in their home countries but just starting to make waves internationally. The artists, who are all making their Minnesota debut at The Cedar, include Latin American quartet Ladama and Haitian/Canadian hip-hop artist Vox Sambou, with fresh new multi-national bands ; Korean percussionist Hong Sung Hyun and Iranian tar and setar player Sahba Motallebi, virtuosos in their instruments who are expanding their compositions to play with ensembles; and Cape Verdean accordionist Bitori and Venezuelan vocalist Betsayda Machado, veteran musicians who are bringing a lifetime of experience to the international stage.


The Global Roots Festival connects 2,000 Minnesotans to unique and innovative artistic voices each year through performances, educational programs, and workshops featuring international musicians. The Global Roots Festival is completely free for audiences, though reservations are encouraged for the evening performances.




Monday, September 18th
7pm doors, 7:30pm show. Seated show
First: Hong Sung Hyun’s Chobeolbi 홍성현의 초벌비 (South Korea)
Second: LADAMA (Brazil/Venezuela/Colombia)
Reserve your tickets


Korean drummer Hong Sung Hyun presents Chobeolbi, a collaborative project that showcases his work across various traditional Korean percussion instruments. Chobeolbi (초벌비) translates to ‘rough rain,’ a potent metaphor for a project that aims to “fill the parched hearts of people living in the rough modern world.” Hyun’s main instrument is the janggu, a traditional drum identified by its hourglass shaped body and differently pitched drum heads. Historians have traced the origins of this drum to the reign of Korean King Munjon of Goryeo (1047-1084), where it was used as a field instrument. Through Chobeolbi, Hyun pushes Korean percussion away from its traditional supporting role and transforms it into the center point for melody and story.



A quartet of women from Brazil, Venezuela, and Colombia, LADAMA creates modern, soulful and vibrant original compositions that celebrate cross-cultural Pan-American collaboration. The group brings together the rhythms and traditional instrumentation of frevo and maracatu from Pernambuco, Brazil, joropo songs from the high plains of Venezuela, cumbia, gaita and champeta from the Colombian coast, and contemporary strains of American pop and jazz. Through their music and educational programs, LADAMA aims to address gender inequality and unequal representation of women, transforming music into a tool to address pertinent issues.


Local Roots Programming: 6:30-7:25pm

Somali Museum Youth Dance Troupe:

Dancers from the Somali Museum showcase traditional Somali dance from the past and present

Roosevelt High School Choir:

Roosevelt High School singers, led by Daniel Felton, kick off the Festival with their vocal talents and artistry


Tuesday, September 19
7pm doors, 7:30pm show. Standing show
First: Betsayda Machado y La Parranda El Clavo (Venezuela)
Second: Vox Sambou (Haiti/Canada)
Reserve your tickets



Venezuelan artist Betsayda Machado is a vocal powerhouse. Raised in the small village of El Clavo in the region of Barlovento, her music with bandmates La Parranda El Clavo is deeply rooted in their shared Afro-Venezuelan heritage. As descendents of slaves from the area’s cacao plantations, the band shapes their songs around the politics and stories of their community, mixing complex polyrhythms on Venezuelan percussion instruments such as the tambora, tumbadora, culoepuya, cumaco, and furruco with call-and-response sections and thunderous vocals. Betsayda Machado y La Parranda El Clavo have been playing together for almost 30 years throughout Venezuela and the world, becoming icons of Afro-Venezuelan music along the way.



Haitian/Canadian hip-hop artist Vox Sambou uses kreyól (Haitian hip-hop) as a platform to denounce injustice, social imbalances and inequities. Performing alongside his six-piece band, Sambou’s sound is a dynamic fusion of traditional Haitian roots music, jazz, afrobeat, and reggae, with piercing lyrics in Creole, English, French and Spanish. He is a founding member of the revered Montreal hip-hop supergroup, Nomadic Massive as well as SOLID’AYITI, an initiative of artists and activists fighting for social justice in Haiti.


Wednesday, September 20
7pm doors, 7:30pm show. Standing show
First: Sahba Motallebi and Naghmeh Farahmand (Iran/LA/Canada)
Second: Bitori (Cape Verde)
Reserve your tickets


Iranian musician Sahba Motallebi is one of the few female soloists of the tar and setar, lute-like stringed instruments. She specializes in Persian classical music, a tradition of virtuoso improvisation based on melodic modes (dastgah) that reflect the mood of the musician and the occasion. At the age of 14, Sahba began studying at Tehran Conservatory of Music where she helped found the women’s music ensemble Chakaveh, and later joined the Iranian National Orchestra, beginning her career as an international performer. Sahba is accompanied by Persian percussionist Naghmeh Farahmand, who grew up surrounded by music as the daughter of one of the leading percussion masters of Iran, Mahmoud Farahmand. Naghmeh plays a single headed goblet drum called the tonbak; the daf, a large frame drum; and the santoor, a hammered dulcimer.



Cape Verdean accordionist Victor Tavares, better known as Bitori, is a torchbearer for the island’s funaná genre. An upbeat, accordion-based music accompanied by the ferrinho, a scraped metallic bar, funaná was initially banned and discounted as music of uneducated peasants. It was only following Cape Verde´s independence from Portugal in 1975 that the funaná sound began to gain recognition. Traditional funaná wasn’t recorded until the late 90’s when iconic singer and composer Chando Graciosa invited Bitori to record an album. It was an immediate hit, and proved to be a catalyst for generations of musicians from Cape Verde and beyond. Recently reunited with a five-piece band after 20 years, the 78-year-old Bitori continues to tour funaná around the world.



The Global Roots Festival is made possible by: