Song. Dance. Culture. Celebrating the diversity of cultural traditions in New York City, the Center for Traditional Music and Dance (CTMD) is launching an online series, Beat of the Boroughs: NYC Online on Monday, November 16.
The series highlights the artistry of 54 of the City’s leading immigrant performers from around the world – but from right here at home in our five boroughs.
The artists include several National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Award winners. They represent traditions hail from Bulgaria, China, Colombia, Gambia, Haiti, Iraq, Japan, Mongolia, Ukraine, and West Africa, among other areas.
“New York City’s traditional and folk artists have been particularly impacted by both the pandemic and the anti-immigrant political climate in our country. Amid the pandemic, many of these artists have structural impediments, including the digital divide and language barriers to access federal relief funds or private sources of funding,” CTMD Executive Director Peter Rushefsky said.
“It is imperative that we come together as a city to support and celebrate our immigrant communities. Beat of the Boroughs: NYC Online showcases the immense talents of our artists and further the public’s understanding and appreciation of their work during these trying times.”
CTMD has worked closely with dozens of diverse communities
Since its founding in 1968, CTMD has worked closely with dozens of diverse communities to create a number of ongoing art programs, festivals, and community-based cultural organizations. Each year, CTMD serves thousands of New Yorkers through programs that provide unique opportunities to experience and participate in the City’s rich cultural traditions.
Organizers hope the series will build more support for the artists and for CTMD, particularly as the nonprofit continues to highlight the artistic diversity within New York City. CTMD encourages donations at https://ctmd.org/donate/.
From Borough to Borough
The schedule kicks off with:
- The Crimean Tatar Ensemble, of Brooklyn, with folk music and dance from the Crimean Peninsula, Ukraine (Monday, November 16).
- The Mencius Society with Xiao Xiannian and Julie Tay of Manhattan, with yangqin (hammered dulcimer) and Chinese percussion (Wednesday, November 18).
- Sidiki Conde of Manhattan, with West African drumming and his sacred ancestral masks (Friday, November 20).
- Malang Jobarteh and Salieu Suso of the Bronx, presenting on West African jali/griot traditions (Friday, November 27).
CTMD will highlight three artists or ensembles each week, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Audiences can tune in on those days at 5:00 PM to CTMD’s YouTube channel, or Facebook page.
“Through workshops, lectures, demonstrations, and streamed live performances, a stellar cast of musicians and dancers presents their personal stories, remarkable traditions, and pandemic experiences,” Project Director and Staff Ethnomusicologist Andrew Colwell said. “Their voices serve as a powerful platform for continued advocacy for traditional arts in our city of immigrants.”
Beat of the Boroughs: NYC Online is made possible through the generosity of the New York Community Trust’s NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund and the Scherman Foundation.