meta-script5 Artists To Watch At GlobalFEST 2022: Colombia’s Kombilesa Mí, South Korea’s ADG7 & More |


Photo: Sachyn Mital


5 Artists To Watch At GlobalFEST 2022: Colombia’s Kombilesa Mí, South Korea’s ADG7 & More

New York’s annual GlobalFEST showcases international music for American audiences and industry, hosting artists from 80 countries since 2003. Now in its 19th year, GlobalFEST will be streaming through NPR’s Tiny Desk Jan. 18-20

GRAMMYs/Jan 11, 2022 - 01:18 am

Even in New York City — an artistic epicenter with seemingly every population under the sun spread across five boroughs — global music is underrepresented in the arts. Enter GlobalFEST, an annual January festival and nonprofit dedicated to highlighting the impactful performances (and touring potential) of international artists across genres.

Held at the same time as the Association of Performing Arts Professionals conference, GlobalFEST is an opportunity for artists to perform in front of industry professionals — festival programmers, club promoters and media — who can see firsthand how a Ukrainian folk quartet or psychedelic punk band from Soweto resonates with American audiences. Many of GlobalFEST's artists perform some version of traditional music, which its organizers believe requires more of an effort for audiences and presenters to get behind.

"Often, the type of music that we present is almost an afterthought with a lot of presenters," says GlobalFEST co-founder and co-director Isabel Soffer. "They're presenting in big performing arts centers, Broadway plays and things that they know are going to sell really well. The more interesting stuff — which is often what we are bringing — takes a lot more work to sell tickets and for those shows to reach new communities."

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Despite those challenges (as well as the myriad issues around finding funding, securing visas and managing COVID protocols), GlobalFEST has hosted over 2,000 performers from more than 80 countries. The festival has been the US launchpad for a variety of international artists while being an early stage for groups such as Flor de Toloache, A Tribe Called Red, Antibalas and La Santa Cecilia. The festival is also an important opportunity for audiences, notes co-director Shanta Thake. "Live performance is one of the opportunities we have to be with people that are not like ourselves," she adds.

GlobalFEST went online in 2021 in response to the pandemic, leaning into a partnership with NPR's Tiny Desk. The resulting online festival, Tiny Desk Meets GlobalFEST — a series of at-home performances that lent extra depth to the cross-cultural connection — was surprisingly successful, netting that year's 16 artists over 1.8 million views.

Although GF2022 was initially designed as a return to live, in-person performances, concerns regarding the omicron variant forced the festival to remain online-only, with nine performers scheduled for another Tiny Desk Meets GlobalFEST.

GlobalFEST will stream on NPR Music's YouTube channel Jan. 18-20, hosted by four-time GRAMMY-winner Angélique Kidjo. Before tuning in, get to know five of the fest's most alluring global acts.

Ak Dan Gwang Chil (ADG7)

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South Korea's Ak Dan Gwang Chil (ADG7) are an arresting meld of shamanic ritual music, folk songs from the Hwanghae Province and K-pop.

Led by three singers typically dressed in contrasting colorful geometric outfits, the band also features traditional Korean instruments such as the gayageum — a 12 to 25 stringed plucked instrument — and the saenghwang, a free reed mouth organ. Energetic and theatrical, ADG7 manage to be both other-worldly and exquisitely pop.

Son Rompe Pera

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The five-piece Son Rompe Pera meld marimba, cumbia and punk into an electric reimaging of a folkloric music.

Led by the three Gama brothers, Son Rompe was born out of a family marimba tradition; the eldest, Mongo, began playing marimba with his father at age 11. As Mongo, and brothers Kacho and Kilos performed at weddings, birthdays and at markets with their father José, they explored other music scenes while hiding their activity in the family band, also called Son Rompe Pera.

Today's Son Rompe has renewed appreciation for the rich history of marimba while actively folding in psychobilly, rock and cumbia. The result is punk as hell, with much respect paid to tradition. 

Kombilesa Mí

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Coming from San Basilio de Palenque, the first free Black town in the Americas, Colombia's Kombilesa Mí mixes traditional music from the region with rap. The nine-piece group are at the center of an emerging genre called RFP, or rap folklorico palenquero.

Sung in multiple languages, including Palenque creole, Kombilesa Mí's lyrics are empowering and catchy, often performed at a frenzied pace and fit for dancing. Musicians Afroneto, KRMP, Mc Pm and Mc Ukibe employ traditional instruments including bass drums, their own handmade metal drums and the plucked box marímbula to stretch and modernize mapalé, bullerengue and son palenquero rhythms.

Al Bilali Soudan

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A family of popular griots and musicians, the members of Mali's Al Bilali Soudan perform Tuareg music that is a continuous exchange between the tehardent (lute), vocals and hand percussion, creating a somewhat psychedelic feeling.

The traditional genre Al Bilali Soudan performs has existed since at least the 16th century, and is played to celebrate the end of harvest, changing seasons, heroic warriors, and noble families. Yet, Al Bilali Soudan makes this ancient sound modern, masterfully creating a hypnotic and ethereal vibe that will take you to a far away land — even on YouTube.

Kiran Ahluwalia

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Singer Kiran Ahluwalia may hail from Patna, India, but her sound spans far beyond her native country: She creates original compositions based on traditional Indian and Pakistani music while incorporating elements of jazz, R&B, and both Western and Mali blues.

Over seven albums, Ahluwalia's songs run the gamut from personal tales of growth, to love songs and empowered feminist ballads. Backed by a five-piece band (which includes accordion, organ and tabla), Kiran Ahluwalia has a borderless appeal that's both poetic and rocking.

Get To Know The First-Ever Best Global Music Performance Nominees | 2022 GRAMMYs

(L-R) Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney attend the 'This is a Film About The Black Keys' world premiere as part of SXSW 2024 Conference and Festivals held at The Paramount Theatre on March 11, 2024 in Austin, Texas.
(L-R) Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney attend the 'This is a Film About The Black Keys' world premiere as part of SXSW 2024 Conference and Festivals on March 11, 2024 in Austin, Texas.

Photo: Astrida Valigorsky/Getty Images


5 Memorable Moments From SXSW 2024: A Significant Protest, The Black Keys, De Facto, & More

More than 340 new bands played SXSW for the first time in 2024, while many others returned to the annual fest. Read on for some of the most inspiring and exciting moments from SXSW 2024 — from performances by legends to groundbreaking new acts.

GRAMMYs/Mar 18, 2024 - 10:57 pm

The 2024 South By Southwest Festival got off to a dramatic start: approximately 80 artists, speakers, and event sponsors pulled out of the event to protest the sponsorship of the U.S. Army and defense companies and then a hit-and-run traffic incident in a crowded festival area resulted in a fatality and serious injury early Tuesday.

SXSW spokespeople issued statements about both. They were "saddened" by the tragic traffic incident, and reiterated that they are an organization that welcomes diverse viewpoints and therefore saw no issue in allowing the military sponsorships. They also did not criticize anyone who pulled out of the festival to show solidarity with Palestine and protest genocide. Republican Texas Governor Ron Abbott was not as diplomatic.

And yet the music portion of the festival pushed on. 

Some of the bands who pulled out of the festival performed "unofficial" shows, and as with previous SXSW festivals, the diversity of music offerings was staggering: artists played genres such as folk, pop, indie rock, psychedelic cumbia, punk, electronic, and Americana, but also offered regional lenses to musical styles — Texas rap, Southern California soul-jazz  — and social justice viewpoints like indigenous hardcore. Artists also offered global perspectives on jazz, hip hop, and psychedelic funk.

Read on for TK of the most inspiring and exciting moments from SXSW 2024 – from performances by legends to groundbreaking new acts.

The Black Keys Take Audiences Behind The Scenes (And Back To Their Salad Days)

Music keynote offerings felt slim compared to previous years, but festival goers did get an authentic, revealing glimpse into the world of the Black Keys — there to promote a new documentary film about their band history and to perform two shows. 

Drummer Patrick Carney stole the show with humorous, deadpan anecdotes —including that time he slept in the van to guard the $500 they made at a show and woke up in the middle of the night to a crowd of drunk people dressed like Santa Claus in the middle of July — and self-effacing jokes about himself and the group: "The first time we came to SXSW we couldn’t afford to stay in town." 

One thing the film makes clear is that two key elements of the Black Keys are simplicity and technology. They kept things simple by being a two-piece band: a few bass players auditioned early on but Carney and Dan Auerbach preferred the sound of drums and guitar. But the key element was Carney’s four-track recorder: he taught himself how to use it, which enabled the band to record themselves in Carney’s basement and fine-tune their nuanced approach to rock music.

 "We wanted the kick drum to sound like the speakers were blown," Carney said in an interview

Carney and guitarist/singer Auerbach later performed a blues-driven sold-out show at Austin’s Mohawk, joined by artists on Auerbach’s Nashville-based record label Easy Eye Sound. There was no banter, just music.

Bootsy Collins Brings The Funk & A Lot Of Flair

Legendary funk bassist, singer, and producer Bootsy Collins — who played with James Brown and Parliament-Funkadelic, boasts a long solo career, and collaborated with artists like Deee-Lite, Fatboy Slim, Silk SonicKali Uchis and Tyler, the Creator — hosted high-energy shows with the Ohio group Zapp and his entourage of collaborators and proteges at the 2024 festival. 

A long line of people snaked down Austin’s busy Red River Street waiting to get into the packed Mohawk club for a March 15 show, which featured guest artists Henry Invisible, Tony “Young James Brown” Wilson, and FANTAAZMA. A few fans wore big hats and star-shaped sunglasses to emulate Collins’ distinct look.

Collins, who announced in 2019 he wouldn’t play bass in live performance anymore, was in town to promote his anti-violence initiative, "Funk Not Fight," and a new song and album of the same name. He also promoted his Bootzilla Productions company and Funk University, which aims to mentor younger creatives like Hamburg-based FANTAAZMA, who joined Collins for a SXSW Studio interview with TikTok creator Juju Green.

“At some point James Brown saw something in me, you know, and grabbed us in, and I’ll never forget that, and so that’s what I try to do,” Collins said about his efforts to help mentor younger artists. 

Omar Rodríguez-López & Cedric Bixler-Zavala Get Weird

What a journey these two have had: they met as teens in the hardcore scene in El Paso, Texas, formed two influential alternative rock bands — At The Drive-In and The Mars Volta — and one obscure dub project — De Facto — that earned them rock and roll acclaim from the music press and respect from musical peers in bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers

Omar and Cedric: If This Ever Gets Weird, a new documentary about the creative partnership between Rodríguez-López and Bixler-Zavala, premiered  at the 2024 festival. The film illuminates the duo’s struggles with bandmates, addiction, racism, Scientology, and their ups and downs in the music industry. 

Rodríguez-López recorded loads of footage over the years of them on the road, in recording studios, and in live performance. Those intimate, up-close moments used in the film reveal a partnership that begins in solidarity, drifts apart, and comes back together stronger than when they started. It’s essentially a film about friendship.

The two appeared briefly onstage before the film’s screening, alongside director Nicolas Jack Davies, but said nothing. For the first time in 21 years, the two performed at this year’s SXSW festival as De Facto, their lesser-known reggae-influenced side project, to promote the new film.

Cumbia Is The Real Soundtrack To SXSW 2024

Cumbia in 2024 is conscious party music, still closely linked to its Colombian origins but expanded and modernized by elements of psychedelia and the young players from across the country and the world interpreting the genre. 

Cumbia could be heard throughout the festival, in particular at a heavily attended party March 12 at Hotel Vegas in Austin, which featured more than 10 bands on four stages. A few fans could be seen wearing T-shirts with the phrase “Cumbia is the new punk,” the title of a song by Mexican cumbia fusion group Son Rompe Pera

Bands mostly from Texas — including the “barrio big band” Bombasta and Latin psych bands like Combo Cósmico and Money Chicha —  and the rock-influenced Denver band Ritmo Cascabel played dance music driven by hand percussion, heavy bass lines and guitars drenched in reverb.

Earlier this year, Billboard predicted that cumbia music in all its entirety and subgenres — chicha, sonidera, norteña, villera — would see a massive growth in 2024, citing higher-profile artist collaborations and social media viral hits.

Classical Music Unveils Its Changing Profile

Classical music is most often associated with beautiful concert halls and polite, well-dressed audiences who sit quietly as music is being played. This was not the case for Vulva Voce, an all-female Manchester-based string quartet that played their unique blend of modern classical music at various SXSW stages this year. 

Band members wore one-piece jumpsuit coveralls with Doc Martin boots and performed mostly original, high-energy, uptempo compositions to loud crowds at dive bars throughout Austin. They shredded strings and swayed and bounced onstage as if it were a rock show, and said they loved every minute of it.  Vulva Voce also performed live with Ash, a Northern Irish rock band whose career in music spans 30 years.

Vulva Voce’s modern approach to classical music comes at a good time. Mid-week, a group of classical music artist managers, lawyers and classical music label executives spoke about classical music’s revival in gaming and soundtracks

Traditional classical music performance continues to struggle with attendance, but the genre has gained traction on platforms like TikTok and Instagram, and has seen a surge in interest in film scores, Netflix soundtracks, video games, and sports broadcasts. 

More than 340 new bands played SXSW for the first time this year. Each year, SXSW awards three emerging artists The Grulke Prize, in honor of festival Creative Director Brent Grulke, who passed away in 2012. Sabrina Teitelbaum, who performs as Blondshell, won for developing U.S. act, the South Korean alternative K-pop band Balming Tiger won for developing non-U.S. act, and British psychedelic pop band the Zombies won the career act award

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Son Rompe Pera, with guest musicians Gil Gutierrez and Lyka Kaiumova

Photo: John Kisch Archive/Getty Images


5 Latin Alternative Artists To Watch: Francisca Valenzuela, Rafa Pabön & More

Latin alternative navigates a broad ocean of sounds, from punk and hip-hop, to EDM and even mainstream pop. Read on for five artists who continue pushing the genre further.

GRAMMYs/Nov 13, 2023 - 02:32 pm

At one point during the ‘90s, the term rock en español became too narrow and myopic. As a category, it failed to encompass the dizzying variety of styles that bands like Mexico’s Café Tacvba, Colombia’s Aterciopelados and Argentina’s Babasónicos displayed in their music.

By the beginning of the new millennium, a new trend had emerged: fusing electronica with the authentic folk roots of individual countries — from Peru’s Novalima and Brazil’s Bossacucanova to Argentina’s Gotan Project and Mexico’s Nortec Collective.

It was in this exhilarating moment of change that the term "Latin alternative" became part of the mainstream. For over two decades now, the genre has been celebrated with a yearly conference that takes place every summer in NYC.  Today, Latin alternative navigates an even broader ocean of sounds — from punk and hip-hop, to EDM and even mainstream pop.

Latin alternative sounds are also the basis of a nationally syndicated radio show and yearly conference. [Editor's note: The author of this story produces "The Latin Alternative," and the show's co-host is involved with the Latin Alternative Music Conference.]

More than a style, Latin alternative is a state of mind. Here are five artists who continue pushing the genre further.

Glue Trip

While having its feet planted firmly on the future, Latin Alternative is also nourished by the past. Hailing from the port city of João Pessoa in northeastern Brazil, Glue Trip is obsessed with the spirit of psychedelia and has amassed enough of an international following to warrant a European tour this fall.

Just like Os Mutantes did in the late ‘60s, the quartet fuses the hazy melodies of psych-pop with a Brazilian sensibility. With its exotic flute line and otherworldly vocals, "Água de Jamaica" was one of the best Latin singles of 2021. The band’s dazzling new album, Nada Tropical includes a guest spot by 78-year-old veteran Arthur Verocai on the gorgeous "Lazy Dayz."

Francisca Valenzuela

Born in San Francisco, Chilean American singer/songwriter Francisca Valenzuela exemplifies the Latin Alternative’s elusive qualities. A pop star in Chile, she brings to mind the quirky passion of Kate Bush — not only because of the theatrical panache with which she sings and plays the keyboards, but also because of her talent for storytelling through song. Her restless vision draws from alt-rock, jazz, dance and balada.

"Tómame," from 2020's La Fortaleza, is a thumping electro-pop compendium of erotic delights. 2022’s semi-conceptual Vida Tan Bonita included "Detener El Tiempo," one of the most profound Latin pop-rock tracks of the decade. This year’s Adentro shines on the strength of "Nada Para Ti," a smoldering breakup power-ballad with Mexico’s Ximena Sariñana.

[Editor's note:  Francisca Valenzuela's song "¿Dónde Se Llora Cuando Se Llora?" from Adentro is nominated for Best rock/pop song at the 2023 Latin GRAMMYs, alongside Bunbury's "Alaska," León Larregui's "Amantes," Julieta Venegas' "Caminar Sola," Lasso's "Ojos Marrones," and "Señorita Revolución" by Bruses.]

Rafa Pabön

The Latin alternative movement is connected predominantly with rock. But with the current globalization of reggaetón and Latin trap, a number of urbano artists began making music that clearly ventures outside of the box. Fittingly, Puerto Rican singer/songwriter Rafael Pabön left no stone unturned in his quest for new avenues of expression on his latest, Galería. 

Released in April of this year, Galería shows Pabön can rap and emote like a serious reggaetonero, but he also goes reggae on the duet with Gomba Jahbari "Manifestación de Amor," and embraces neo-flamenco on "Ay Amor," with the husky voice of Spanish diva Buika. The silky montuno of "Leyenda" features former Los Van Van vocalist Mayito Rivera, but the record’s most revelatory track is probably "Rosa" — a sweet merengue with touches of Indian sitar and tabla.

Silvina Moreno

A Berklee College of Music graduate, Buenos Aires singer Silvina Moreno has recorded duets with transcendent alternative artists such as fellow Argentine Kevin Johansen and Colombia’s Juan Pablo Vega.

A songwriter of staggering sophistication, she has a wicked sense of humor that adds lightness to the 2017 gem "Lord Inglés," about a Latina woman spurned by a British man — complete with a comedic, harpsichord-filled bridge. Other songs are informed by her luminous vocalizing and a stately sense of nostalgia, as in "Esperanza," a bouncy track with Uruguayan murga band Agárrate Catalina. For the lush 2022 session Selva, Moreno recorded a traditional bachata — "Ley De Atracción" — that demonstrates her encyclopedic understanding of foreign genres. It is this cosmopolitan breadth that confirms her as one of the most promising names in contemporary Latin.

Son Rompe Pera

The grand cumbia orchestras of the ‘60s and ‘70s would be extremely proud of Son Rompe Pera. Formed in the municipality of Naucalpan, Mexico, the quintet favors a percolating blend of cumbia with punk, ska and rock – made even more distinct by the traditional sound of the marimba.  Son Rompe Pera’s cred shines through its determination to stay close to the roots of cumbia while borrowing touches from other genres.

The band’s full-length debut, 2020’s Batuco, featured a collaboration with like-minded Chilean group Chico Trujillo on the spiraling "Cumbia Algarrobera," a minimalistic take on the comedic "Calculadora" — a hit for both Orquesta Aragón and Oscar D’León — and an electrifying, marimba based cover of Lalo Guerrero’s Chicano classic "Los Chucos Suaves." Their self-assured sophomore effort, 2023's Chimborazo opens with the reckless grooves of "Selva Negra" — and also collaborated with Mexican veterans Inspector on the lilting, retro ska nugget "Te Faltó Corazón."

2023 Latin GRAMMYs: See The Complete Nominations List

Kendrick Lamar GRAMMY Rewind Hero
Kendrick Lamar

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic


GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016

Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.

GRAMMYs/Oct 13, 2023 - 06:01 pm

Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.

A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.

This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system. 

"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."

Looking for more GRAMMYs news? The 2024 GRAMMY nominations are here!

He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.

"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.

"Hip-hop. Ice Cube. This is for hip-hop," he said. "This is for Snoop Dogg, Doggystyle. This is for Illmatic, this is for Nas. We will live forever. Believe that."

To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood." 

Lamar has since won Best Rap Album two more times, taking home the golden gramophone in 2018 for his blockbuster LP DAMN., and in 2023 for his bold fifth album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.

Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes. 

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Franc Moody
Franc Moody

Photo: Rachel Kupfer 


A Guide To Modern Funk For The Dance Floor: L'Imperatrice, Shiro Schwarz, Franc Moody, Say She She & Moniquea

James Brown changed the sound of popular music when he found the power of the one and unleashed the funk with "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag." Today, funk lives on in many forms, including these exciting bands from across the world.

GRAMMYs/Nov 25, 2022 - 04:23 pm

It's rare that a genre can be traced back to a single artist or group, but for funk, that was James Brown. The Godfather of Soul coined the phrase and style of playing known as "on the one," where the first downbeat is emphasized, instead of the typical second and fourth beats in pop, soul and other styles. As David Cheal eloquently explains, playing on the one "left space for phrases and riffs, often syncopated around the beat, creating an intricate, interlocking grid which could go on and on." You know a funky bassline when you hear it; its fat chords beg your body to get up and groove.

Brown's 1965 classic, "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," became one of the first funk hits, and has been endlessly sampled and covered over the years, along with his other groovy tracks. Of course, many other funk acts followed in the '60s, and the genre thrived in the '70s and '80s as the disco craze came and went, and the originators of hip-hop and house music created new music from funk and disco's strong, flexible bones built for dancing.

Legendary funk bassist Bootsy Collins learned the power of the one from playing in Brown's band, and brought it to George Clinton, who created P-funk, an expansive, Afrofuturistic, psychedelic exploration of funk with his various bands and projects, including Parliament-Funkadelic. Both Collins and Clinton remain active and funkin', and have offered their timeless grooves to collabs with younger artists, including Kali Uchis, Silk Sonic, and Omar Apollo; and Kendrick Lamar, Flying Lotus, and Thundercat, respectively.

In the 1980s, electro-funk was born when artists like Afrika Bambaataa, Man Parrish, and Egyptian Lover began making futuristic beats with the Roland TR-808 drum machine — often with robotic vocals distorted through a talk box. A key distinguishing factor of electro-funk is a de-emphasis on vocals, with more phrases than choruses and verses. The sound influenced contemporaneous hip-hop, funk and electronica, along with acts around the globe, while current acts like Chromeo, DJ Stingray, and even Egyptian Lover himself keep electro-funk alive and well.

Today, funk lives in many places, with its heavy bass and syncopated grooves finding way into many nooks and crannies of music. There's nu-disco and boogie funk, nodding back to disco bands with soaring vocals and dance floor-designed instrumentation. G-funk continues to influence Los Angeles hip-hop, with innovative artists like Dam-Funk and Channel Tres bringing the funk and G-funk, into electro territory. Funk and disco-centered '70s revival is definitely having a moment, with acts like Ghost Funk Orchestra and Parcels, while its sparkly sprinklings can be heard in pop from Dua Lipa, Doja Cat, and, in full "Soul Train" character, Silk Sonic. There are also acts making dreamy, atmospheric music with a solid dose of funk, such as Khruangbin’s global sonic collage.

There are many bands that play heavily with funk, creating lush grooves designed to get you moving. Read on for a taste of five current modern funk and nu-disco artists making band-led uptempo funk built for the dance floor. Be sure to press play on the Spotify playlist above, and check out's playlist on Apple Music, Amazon Music and Pandora.

Say She She

Aptly self-described as "discodelic soul," Brooklyn-based seven-piece Say She She make dreamy, operatic funk, led by singer-songwriters Nya Gazelle Brown, Piya Malik and Sabrina Mileo Cunningham. Their '70s girl group-inspired vocal harmonies echo, sooth and enchant as they cover poignant topics with feminist flair.

While they’ve been active in the New York scene for a few years, they’ve gained wider acclaim for the irresistible music they began releasing this year, including their debut album, Prism. Their 2022 debut single "Forget Me Not" is an ode to ground-breaking New York art collective Guerilla Girls, and "Norma" is their protest anthem in response to the news that Roe vs. Wade could be (and was) overturned. The band name is a nod to funk legend Nile Rodgers, from the "Le freak, c'est chi" exclamation in Chic's legendary tune "Le Freak."


Moniquea's unique voice oozes confidence, yet invites you in to dance with her to the super funky boogie rhythms. The Pasadena, California artist was raised on funk music; her mom was in a cover band that would play classics like Aretha Franklin’s "Get It Right" and Gladys Knight’s "Love Overboard." Moniquea released her first boogie funk track at 20 and, in 2011, met local producer XL Middelton — a bonafide purveyor of funk. She's been a star artist on his MoFunk Records ever since, and they've collabed on countless tracks, channeling West Coast energy with a heavy dose of G-funk, sunny lyrics and upbeat, roller disco-ready rhythms.

Her latest release is an upbeat nod to classic West Coast funk, produced by Middleton, and follows her February 2022 groovy, collab-filled album, On Repeat.

Shiro Schwarz

Shiro Schwarz is a Mexico City-based duo, consisting of Pammela Rojas and Rafael Marfil, who helped establish a modern funk scene in the richly creative Mexican metropolis. On "Electrify" — originally released in 2016 on Fat Beats Records and reissued in 2021 by MoFunk — Shiro Schwarz's vocals playfully contrast each other, floating over an insistent, upbeat bassline and an '80s throwback electro-funk rhythm with synth flourishes.

Their music manages to be both nostalgic and futuristic — and impossible to sit still to. 2021 single "Be Kind" is sweet, mellow and groovy, perfect chic lounge funk. Shiro Schwarz’s latest track, the joyfully nostalgic "Hey DJ," is a collab with funkstress Saucy Lady and U-Key.


L'Impératrice (the empress in French) are a six-piece Parisian group serving an infectiously joyful blend of French pop, nu-disco, funk and psychedelia. Flore Benguigui's vocals are light and dreamy, yet commanding of your attention, while lyrics have a feminist touch.

During their energetic live sets, L'Impératrice members Charles de Boisseguin and Hagni Gwon (keys), David Gaugué (bass), Achille Trocellier (guitar), and Tom Daveau (drums) deliver extended instrumental jam sessions to expand and connect their music. Gaugué emphasizes the thick funky bass, and Benguigui jumps around the stage while sounding like an angel. L’Impératrice’s latest album, 2021’s Tako Tsubo, is a sunny, playful French disco journey.

Franc Moody

Franc Moody's bio fittingly describes their music as "a soul funk and cosmic disco sound." The London outfit was birthed by friends Ned Franc and Jon Moody in the early 2010s, when they were living together and throwing parties in North London's warehouse scene. In 2017, the group grew to six members, including singer and multi-instrumentalist Amber-Simone.

Their music feels at home with other electro-pop bands like fellow Londoners Jungle and Aussie act Parcels. While much of it is upbeat and euphoric, Franc Moody also dips into the more chilled, dreamy realm, such as the vibey, sultry title track from their recently released Into the Ether.

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