Annoncering
VENUEWISE

Denmark's Only World Music Venue Wants You to Care About World Music

World music isn't just for geriatrics—according to Copenhagen venue Global, that is.

af Nereya Otieno
27 oktober 2015, 2:13pm


Photo by Flemming Bo Jensen

There are always places in a city that are hidden in plain sight, or well-kept secrets that no one is actually trying to keep. In Copenhagen, this place is called Global. If you don’t know about it, you’ve probably biked past it a number of times. An outrageous number of times, even—and you know what? You’ve missed out.

Tucked away next to Sankt Hans Torv, Global has been around since 2006, quietly hosting some of the best concerts the city has offered. Global – as its name might suggest – is a non-profit world music venue. It is also the only venue in all of Denmark dedicated to the genre. In case you’re confused, world music is another way of saying non-western—and non-western is another way of saying, ‘there aren’t too many white folks on stage.’ While the term itself is a bit weird, it basically gives Global carte blanche to bring in acts from the vast array of musical styles that fall underneath the gigantic ‘world music’ umbrella.

From Mali blues to Latin cumbia to Korean k-pop—nothing is off the table for the Global programming crew. "It’s important for us to present the diversity of music that lies within the strange concept of world music," says Bjarke Svendsen, Global’s daily manager. This is a task they do not take lightly. Svendsen’s aim is to promote the idea of world music and to urge people to consider its possibilities the way we consider other cultural avenues. Do late-night shawarma feasts you barely remember the next morning sound familiar? That’s world food. Ever valiantly attempted to tackle a massive, impossible-to-get-through Russian novel? That’s world literature. So according to Svendsen’s attitude, why not also make your music palette more rich by including some from other cultures?


Fendika at Global. Photo by Tor-Erik Ulriksborg

To push this method of thinking, Global has made a partnership that's nearly as ingenious as the first time gin and tonic hooked up. Gobal’s booker is actually Roskilde Festival’s booker. Even though Global is this tiny little venue tucked away in tiny little Copenhagen, their booker brings the chops that enables them to bring in big names. Like, really big names. “The artists playing at Global know they’ll be seen by the guy booking Roskilde Festival. So bands that would normally be pretty hard for us to present want to play Global because it means they might get to play Roskilde in the end," says Svendsen. We’re talking cats like Bassekou Kouyaté and Ngoni Ba, Hugh Maseleka, Bomba Estéreo, Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, and Dengue Dengue Dengue!—just to name a few. These are bands that sell out stadiums in their home countries; 50,000 seats filled, easy. Yet here they are, playing Global, in a room that has a capacity of 230, standing for fractions of their usual ticket price. It’s so unusual that it doesn’t make sense—and it kinda makes Global an eyebrow-raiser on the world music playground.

“When you travel around Europe and talk about word music, Global is the region's reference point. We’re who Europe looks to because our line up is really, really remarkable," Svendsen explains in a way that isn’t boastful but is simply factual.

Dengue Dengue Dengue! at Global. Photo by Piotr Sapiezynski

One of the big obstacles for world music venues is to maintain a cool factor to draw people in. Typically, the term ‘world music’ draws images of geriatrics sweating out patchouli twisting in circles –you know, those elderly men who seemingly always have their backpacks on. Sure, Global has that. Of course it does. However, its audience is as diverse as its music. The majority of people going to Global fall between the ages of 18 and 30—making it a pretty intriguing choice for the sophisticated and cultured Tinderers of the city. As Copenhagen’s demographic changes to represent more areas of the world, Global reflects that change—both on stage and in front of it. That’s what gives Global one of the more ethnically diverse audiences in the whole country.

“I'm really thinking about the local potential of Global,” says Svendsen. ”World music isn't only about what is exotic and strange because it is also local to people. People can see these huge names from other countries – possibly their home countries – from the front row and touch them and dance with them. We have a lot of partying and dancing, actually. More so than in other venues in Copenhagen. It’s tearing down concepts about what world music is.”

In addition to their nighttime programming, Global also has daytime reach-out programs that brings in primary school students to expose them to world music in a proper way—as in, not through a crappy school sound system. This represents what Svendsen claims is Global’s main goal with the music they present, “We want to present good music but we want to keep it cheap. We want to keep it accessible.” That’s a concept that can be understood—even, well, globally.


Quick Facts: Address: Nørre Alle 7, 2200 København N
Capacity: 230, standing
Opened: October 2006
Financed by: Government Subsidies
Cool thing they do: 20kr discount for students at all concerts & opportunity to volunteer at shows.
Website: Global. If you don’t know about it, you’ve probably biked past it a number of times. An outrageous number of times, even—and you know what? You’ve missed out. 

Tucked away next to Sankt Hans Torv, Global has been around since 2006, quietly hosting some of the best concerts the city has offered. Global – as its name might suggest – is a non-profit world music venue. It is also the only venue in all of Denmark dedicated to the genre. In case you’re confused, world music is another way of saying non-western—and non-western is another way of saying, ‘there aren’t too many white folks on stage.’ While the term itself is a bit weird, it basically gives Global carte blanche to bring in acts from the vast array of musical styles that fall underneath the gigantic ‘world music’ umbrella.

From Mali blues to Latin cumbia to Korean k-pop—nothing is off the table for the Global programming crew. "It’s important for us to present the diversity of music that lies within the strange concept of world music," says Bjarke Svendsen, Global’s daily manager. This is a task they do not take lightly. Svendsen’s aim is to promote the idea of world music and to urge people to consider its possibilities the way we consider other cultural avenues. Do late-night shawarma feasts you barely remember the next morning sound familiar? That’s world food. Ever valiantly attempted to tackle a massive, impossible-to-get-through Russian novel? That’s world literature. So according to Svendsen’s attitude, why not also make your music palette more rich by including some from other cultures?


Fendika at Global. Photo by Erik Ulriksborg

To push this method of thinking, Global has made a partnership that's nearly as ingenious as the first time gin and tonic hooked up. Gobal’s booker is actually Roskilde Festival’s booker. Even though Global is this tiny little venue tucked away in tiny little Copenhagen, their booker brings the chops that enables them to bring in big names. Like, really big names. “The artists playing at Global know they’ll be seen by the guy booking Roskilde Festival. So bands that would normally be pretty hard for us to present want to play Global because it means they might get to play Roskilde in the end," says Svendsen. We’re talking cats like Bassekou Kouyaté and Ngoni Ba, Hugh Maseleka, Bomba Estéreo, Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, and Dengue Dengue Dengue!—just to name a few. These are bands that sell out stadiums in their home countries; 50,000 seats filled, easy. Yet here they are, playing Global, in a room that has a capacity of 230, standing for fractions of their usual ticket price. It’s so unusual that it doesn’t make sense—and it kinda makes Global an eyebrow-raiser on the world music playground. 

“When you travel around Europe and talk about word music, Global is the region's reference point. We’re who Europe looks to because our line up is really, really remarkable," Svendsen explains in a way that isn’t boastful but is simply factual.


Dengue Dengue Dengue! at Global. Photo by Piotr Sapiezynski

One of the big obstacles for world music venues is to maintain a cool factor to draw people in. Typically, the term ‘world music’ draws images of geriatrics sweating out patchouli twisting in circles –you know, those elderly men who seemingly always have their backpacks on. Sure, Global has that. Of course it does. However, its audience is as diverse as its music. The majority of people going to Global fall between the ages of 18 and 30—making it a pretty intriguing choice for the sophisticated and cultured Tinderers of the city.  As Copenhagen’s demographic changes to represent more areas of the world, Global reflects that change—both on stage and in front of it. That’s what gives Global one of the more ethnically diverse audiences in the whole country. 

“I'm really thinking about the local potential of Global,” says Svendsen. ”World music isn't only about what is exotic and strange because it is also local to people. People can see these huge names from other countries – possibly their home countries – from the front row and touch them and dance with them. We have a lot of partying and dancing, actually. More so than in other venues in Copenhagen. It’s tearing down concepts about what world music is.” 

In addition to their nighttime programming, Global also has daytime reach-out programs that brings in high school students to expose them to world music in a proper way—as in, not through a crappy school sound system. This represents what Svendsen claims is Global’s main goal with the music they present, “We want to present good music but we want to keep it cheap. We want to keep it accessible.” That’s a concept that can be understood—even, well, globally.


Quick Facts: Address: Nørre Alle 7, 2200 København N
Capacity: 230, standing
Opened: October 2006
Financed by: Government Subsidies
Cool thing they do: 20kr discount for students at all concerts & opportunity to volunteer at shows.
Website: www.globalcph.dk 

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