In the November/December 2012 issue, Aarti Virani talked to Jacob Edgar, founder of the world music label Cumbancha and host of the PBS travel series Music Voyager. Here, Edgar shares his favorite places to hear live music around the world.
Bazurto Social Club, Cartagena, Colombia
Located just outside the walls of Cartagena’s magnificent colonial old city, Bazurto Social Club (above) celebrates the vibrant Afro-Colombian music scene that makes Cartagena one of my favorite music destinations in the world. You can hear calypso, reggae, afrobeat, cumbia, porro, and champeta. It’s small and colorful, with decor that reminds you of the fluorescent artwork on local buses. BSC is a great place for young people who like old things or old people who want to feel young again. Getsemaní, Av. del Centenario, Cra 9 No. 30–42, 57/1-664-3124, bazurtosocialclub.com
Just 4U, Dakar, Senegal
Dakar has one of the world’s hottest music scenes, and Just 4U regularly features top local artists such as Orchestre Baobab and Omar Pene. These acts headline big festivals around the world. The music starts late and often goes until dawn, but the funky mbalax grooves—influenced by jazz and Latin rock—and a few bottles of Flag beer make time fly by. Ave. Cheikh Anta Diop Point E, 33 824 3250, myspace.com/just4udakar
Babylon, Istanbul, Turkey
The hippest nightclub in Istanbul hosts an eclectic mix of artists, from Turkish indie rock, folk, and pop to international hip-hop, electronica, and jazz. American guitarist Charlie Hunter has played there in his duo with drummer Leon Parker. Run by Pozitif, a local concert-promotion company with impeccable and adventurous taste, Babylon is a must-see in Istanbul for music lovers. Şehbender Sokak No. 3, Tünel-Asmalımescit-Beyoğlu, 90/212-334-0190, babylon.com.tr
Momo, London, England
Located in the basement of a high-end North African restaurant near Picadilly Circus, the Kemia Bar at Momo has free live world music several times a month. It’s an intimate, cloistered space that puts audiences up close and personal with big stars and hot new discoveries from Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and beyond. Momo hosted the U.K. debuts of groundbreaking international artists such as Seu Jorge and Tinariwen. 25 Heddon St., London, 44/(0) 207-434-4040, momoresto.com
Barbès, New York City
“Manhattan and Williamsburg, Brooklyn, get all the attention, but when I’m looking for surprising music, great company, and an atmosphere that manages to be both hip and homey I head to Park Slope, Brooklyn, for a visit to Barbès. It’s named after my favorite multicultural neighborhood in Paris. On any given night you can hear bands performing Peruvian chicha, French chanson, Balkan brass, Congolese rumba, and otherwise uncategorizable sounds.” 376 Ninth St., Brooklyn, (347) 422-0248, barbesbrooklyn.com
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